Republicans Struggle To Find a Coherent Defense During Trump Impeachment Hearings

"The Trump administration has engaged in some pretty bad behavior. It's a little hard to defend it on the merits," says Keith Whittington.


The public impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives reached their conclusion last Thursday, capping off a contentious two weeks during which Republicans defended President Donald Trump from allegations that he improperly pressured Ukraine into announcing corruption investigations that served to benefit him politically. For the most part, their defense strategy had three prongs:

• challenge witnesses' knowledge and credibility,
• hammer home the point that the Ukrainian investigations requested by Trump never actually took place, and
• engage in political theatre.

"They've just got a really bad case," says Keith Whittington, a political scientist at Princeton. "The Trump administration has engaged in some pretty bad behavior. It's a little hard to defend it on the merits." 

House Democrats are investigating whether Trump temporarily withheld congressionally authorized military aid and a scheduled White House meeting with Ukraine in order to strong-arm President Volodymyr Zelenskiy into publicly announcing probes into Trump's political rivals. Specifically, Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate Burisma Holdings (which counted former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden as a board member), and allegations that parties in Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election to help Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Challenge the witnesses

At the center of the House GOP defense was an effort to cast the witnesses as unreliable. Sometimes this took odd forms, as when Rep. Chris Stewart (R–Utah) used his time to ask Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a top National Security Council aide, why he was wearing his military uniform "even though you wear a suit" to work. It isn't clear how Vindman's wardrobe should affect our evaluation of his testimony.

Steve Castor, counsel for the GOP, took a more direct route when he insinuated that Vindman, who immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine when he was 3 years old, may be loyal to Ukrainian interests. Castor was referencing a job offer Vindman received from Oleksandr Danylyuk, the former head of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council. "When he made this offer to you initially, did you leave the door open?" Castor asked. "Was there a reason that he had to come back and ask a second or third time or was he just trying to convince you?"

Vindman replied that he had no interest in the position and no intention of sabotaging U.S. national security. "I'm an American," he said.

Whittington likens that approach to "throw[ing] sand in the air and try[ing] to distract people from what's going on."

Similarly, the first hearing saw Republicans attempt to dismiss testimony as hearsay. For example, William Taylor, the chargé d'affaires in Ukraine, testified that David Holmes, a career diplomat, told him he had overheard Trump ask Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, about "the investigations." Because Taylor did not claim to have overheard Trump himself, House Republicans declared that the diplomat's comments would not stand in a court of law and were therefore not worth considering in the context of impeachment.

Yet an impeachment trial is not a criminal trial, and the standards of admissible evidence are thus not subject to the criminal code. More importantly, Holmes himself publicly appeared before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday and confirmed Taylor's account.

Holmes "testified to things that [he himself] did actually see and hear," says Whittington. "But part of what the Republicans want to focus on is that [some witnesses] could not actually speak to whether or not they know themselves whether Trump ordered or directed some of these things. That part's fair enough."

Another instance of this came during Sondland's testimony, in which he declared that Trump saw the desired investigations as payment for a White House meeting with Ukraine. Sondland told congressional investigators that Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, "demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing investigations of the 2016 election, DNC server, and Burisma." What's more, "Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the United States," Sondland said, "and we knew these investigations were important to the president." He also testified he was "absolutely convinced" the military aid depended on the announcement of the probes.

But Castor tried to sow doubt that Giuliani's orders came at the discretion of the president. To draw that line, Castor painted a distinction between the phrase "Go talk to Rudy," and "Talk to Rudy," arguing that if Trump said the latter, he could not be implicated in the exchange.

"You testified that Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president, correct?" Castor asked.

"That's our understanding, yes," Sondland replied.

"But how did you know that?" Castor asked. "Who told you?"

"Well, when the president says talk to my personal attorney, and then Mr. Giuliani as his personal attorney makes certain requests or demands, we assume it's coming from the president." Sondland said. "I'm not testifying that Mr. Giuliani told the president to tell us, if that's your question."

"Right, but in your deposition, you said [that]…when the president said, 'Go talk to Rudy,' you responded 'He didn't even say go talk. He said talk to Rudy,'" Castor replied. "You subsequently said, 'It was sort of like, I don't want to talk about this.' So it wasn't an order or a direction to go talk to Mr. Giuliani, correct?"

"Our conclusion, and the conclusion of the three of us, was that if we did not talk to Rudy then nothing would move forward on Ukraine," Sondland said.

The investigations Trump requested didn't take place, so why does it matter that he asked for them?

"For the millions of Americans viewing today, the two most important facts are the following," Rep. Elise Stefanik (R–N.Y.) said on the initial day of public testimonies. "No. 1: Ukraine received the aid. No. 2: There was, in fact, no investigation into Biden." She would drive that home repeatedly over the course of the proceedings.

That may oversimplify things, says Whittington. "I think the tougher challenge is the question of what explains why the money eventually got delivered," he explains. "We may not want to give them a lot of credit for eventually coming to their senses and trying to release the funds, especially if we think that why they're doing it was because they got caught." The Trump administration disbursed the aid on September 11, after Congress received a whistleblower complaint and began its investigation. 

More political grandstanding

During Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch's testimony, Rep. Devin Nunes (R–Calif.) and Stefanik challenged the integrity of the hearings based solely on the fact that Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D–Calif.) would not let Nunes yield his time to Stefanik.

The implication was that the Democrats were trying to stonewall, but the law governing impeachment hearings clearly states that the first round of questioning—by both the majority and minority party—must come from the chairman, the ranking member, or their counsel. Stefanik would still get her time to speak. Indeed, it came less than an hour later.

Such instances of political theatre are in no way unique to Republicans, but in this case, the GOP is certainly making good use of the tactic. You could say the same about their complaints that the House's closed-door depositions violated Trump's "due process." Not only did House Democrats conduct those hearings in accordance with congressional rules, but it was also House Republicans themselves who enshrined those rules in law in 2015. 

What's more, those rules have reasonable justifications, Whittington notes. Foremost, it's necessary "to try to talk to witnesses in a controlled environment where, in part, other witnesses won't know exactly what they're saying, so they can't coordinate their stories as effectively." We saw the importance of that when Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, both had to publicly walk back parts of their stories after they read what other witnesses said during private depositions. Had the first set of hearings been open, the two men could have molded their testimony accordingly.

"The whole performance was again another effort by the Republicans just to distract us from the key allegations," Whittington says.

What happens next?

While House Democrats have yet to draft actual articles of impeachment, the scattered nature of the GOP strategy might narrow if this moves to a Senate trial. In that case, Republicans would hypothetically be aware of what Trump's defense will settle on. As of now, that's still up in the air.

"I think the Republicans are in the awkward position of not really knowing what the truth is, and Trump keeps changing what the story is," Whittington tells me. "If they had a clearer understanding of what the White House's final position was going to be, it would be a little easier for them to focus and maybe actually even engage in some substantive arguments."

NEXT: Rand Paul: Feds Wasted Millions Subsidizing Serbian Cheese Production

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  1. “”The Trump administration has engaged in some pretty bad behavior. It’s a little hard to defend it on the merits,” says Keith Whittington.”

    Bad behavior hardly calls for an automatic impeachment.

    1. Not to mention that if this is the same Keith Whittington who posts on Volokh, he’s a half-hysterical whiny bitch half the time. Not who I’d think of for political sagery.

    2. One of the “high crimes” that is explicitly mentioned in the Constitution as an example is “bribery,” which, it turns out, Trump appears to have done with his military-aid-for-a-fake-investigation deal.

      If a President abuses his office, it should result in an automatic investigation. Which this did. There’s nothing “automatic” about weeks of private and public testimony from Trump appointees and career military and diplomatic corps all confirming that Trump did, indeed, seek “quid pro quo” from the Ukraine in order to rig a fake investigation into his political rival for re-election. The indictment will come out after Thanksgiving and then we’ll see if the House will opt to vote on it and, if so, whether they’ll impeach.

      If you want to see “automatic,” have a look at Clinton’s impeachment for lying about sex with an intern.

      1. Hey cunt. Questions: 1) “Fake” investigation? 2) It’s funny Trump forgot to tell the Ukranians he was bribing them, isn’t it? 3) Also funny is that all of that “confirming” seems to consist of 2nd and 3rd-hand hearsay. 4) Tell it like it is: Clinton was impeached for “perjury” — that is, lying *under oath*. Your bias is showing.

        1. Also funny is that all of that “confirming” seems to consist of 2nd and 3rd-hand hearsay.

          It’s all been firsthand.
          This is why libertarians follow both sides of a dispute. Since both sides lie, it’s the only way to be an adult, not a stooge for either side.

          Your thuggish language destroys whatever you think your message is … except showboating for other Trumpsters.

          1. “It’s all been firsthand.”

            In the sense that it’s people testifying to the hearsay THEY heard, and to THEIR OWN feelings.

          2. Hihn – Showboating = Zero

        2. Ah yes, the old “He didn’t say ‘I’m going to solicit a bribe from you now, is that ok'” argument.

          Because that’s where you have to move the goalposts when you have nothing left except bullshit.

          1. at this point what difference does it make?

      2. With the court ruling today, Bolton might decide to testify, in which case the hearings might be on again. A surprise sequel?!

        1. No fucktard. Now go find a grease fire to roll around in.

      3. I don’t want a fake investigation of Biden, I want the President to straight out order a real investigation of the Biden Family and their ties to Burisma and any other pay to play schemes.

        1. You want that, based on NO evidence. But oppose an investigation of Trump, based on TONS of evidence, which your tribalism refuses to see.

          One laughable part of your brainwashing is.
          1) Biden did not urge firing of the prosecutor for partisan political abuse,
          2) Nor to defend Hunter, whose investigation had been closed over a year earlier,
          3) The entire EU was withholding support to Ukraine, pending the firing of that Prosecutor, who was seen as among the worst corruption there.
          4) Thus, Trump is the only leader on the planet who says he was a “good” prosecutor. Then again, Trump is the smartest man on the planet.

          1. He said it in front of hundreds of people and dozens of cameras, you don’t need to get all worked up pretending it didn’t happen

            1. True, he did. But truth tellers first three points aren’t invalidated by that fact. (His last point is half snark, admittedly.)

          2. Right, he urged the firing of the prosecutor for personal reasons.

          3. Nuts. Trump asked a fellow chief executive to allow DOJ representatives and his staff to work with Ukrainian officials to investigate a potential crime. The fact that one of the suspects is currently campaigning for public office does not make them immune from investigation. This assumption that Trump was motivated by partisan politics in seeking this Ukrainian investigation is unfounded.

            1. The fact that one of the suspects is currently campaigning for public office does not make them immune from investigation.

              Hillary Clinton says otherwise.

        2. I would have been fine with him doing that. But a real investigation, run by the Department of Justice, without his personal lawyer meddling in it, and keeping himself at a distance to avoid appearance of influencing the investigation.

          1. Nobody cares

          2. Nobody really cares what you want.

    3. Bad behavior hardly calls for an automatic impeachment.hahaha Depends what it is.
      And it’s not automatic.

      Your defense is as laughable as Congressional GOP’s/

      1. Your failure to understand how blockquote tags work seriously undermines the credibility of your analysis.

    4. Was Ukraine involved in the 2016 election yes. Did the President of the United States have a right and need to find out if Ukraine was still corrupt and to discover the origins of the coup, yes.
      We have the text of the phone calls and no witness countered its content. I don’t get what he did wrong.
      I don’t appreciate how Reason is indicating the Republicans were not clear on their attempts against the impeachment. That in itself is suspect.

    5. I have yet to hear anyone of importance asking why Obama withheld all military aid from Ukraine (during his Reign) and only sent “blankets” to them.

    6. …which is just another way of saying you have no defense, but instead just want to let Trump get away with actions that are, in fact, impeachable.

    7. hAnnAh. i cAn see whAt your sAying… elizAbeth`s storry is AmAzing… on sundAy i got A brAnd new hondA from eArning $9023 this lAst four weeks And even more thAn 10-k this pAst month. with-out Any doubt it’s the most finAnciAlly rewArding i’ve ever hAd. i stArted this 8-months Ago And pretty much strAight AwAy wAs bringing home over $71… per-hr. i use this greAt link, go to this site home tAb for more detAil…../

  2. That’s because the white houses position is to ignore all the partisan crap and these stupid hearings until the house actually holds a vote on articles of impeachment and weird actual subpoena power.

    And id bet that’s unlikely to happen because if they move it to the senate they’re handing subpoena power over to a bunch of Republicans, which could be terrible for biden and many of the witnesses. Especially regarding the “do not prosecute list”, yovanovichs apparent planned Clinton victory party, and of course the bidens.

    1. The Republicans in the Senate already have subpoena power so you were saying….

      1. God do you understand that that is exactly what he is talking about? The Democrats know that if they send it to the Senate the GOP has promised a true trial where they will subpoena Biden, Schiff and the whistleblower.

        1. You REALLY blew it on what Pod said. AND what Dizzle said.
          As soon as the House sends it to the Senate, both of you will be humiliated.


          1. Because, unlike you, they have tact and aren’t going to show all their cards until needed.

            And also, yes the senate has subpoena power…that is currently legally unenforceable just like the democrats ability in the house. The senate has already tried subpoenaing the whistleblower and he refuses.

            But if this becomes an actual trial in the senate, subpoenas can be enforced by contempt of court.

            I need somewhere to rest my cock and balls. Hihn open up your mouth.

  3. Billy Binion Struggles To Understand the Republicans’ Pretty Obvious Defense During Trump Impeachment Hearings.

    1. Notice Billy doesnt do an in-depth of the Democrats “Offense” strategy. Because its laughable.

      1. what’s the line from dodgeball? “It’s like watching a retard try and hump a doorknob!” I think that sums up the Dem’s bullshit pretty well

        1. +10000; EXACTLY…. It’s all speculative accusation about something that isn’t even a crime. The practice of government economic (so-now termed “bribery” – thanks to demons changing word definitions to fit them) in foreign countries is as old as the country itself.

          Pretending that Trump did it to win a re-election is by all logic means way-way-way-farther-fetched than saying the Mueller investigation was used to thwart his election in the first place.

          1937 – FDR “I Guess” bribed Japan with economic sanctions and trade embargoes to stop war with China.

          This is nothing but a SH#T-Show hosted by the left. Just like their many “look-at-me” protests going on around campuses. That’s just the mentality behind the left. Kick your feet and scream until Uncle Sam gets you that Ice Cream.

  4. According to Republicans, all bad Trump behaviors are to be excused because…

    Trump is building big, beautiful walls!

    Trump is punishing the bad-men yellow peril! Thus, protecting good jerbs for good Americans!

    Hunter Biden is a BAD young man!

    Kicking Trump out would be over-throwing the results of an election!

    Hunter Biden’s 5th cousin’s dog’s littermate belongs to a family whose cat’s littermate belongs to a family who hired an illegal sub-human as a housekeeper!

    Look over THERE, quickly!

    1. You really are a blithering moron aren’t you?

      1. Do you recall the awesome enchanter named “Tim”, in “Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail”? The one who could “summon fire without flint or tinder”? Well, you remind me of Tim… You are an enchanter who can summon persuasion without facts or logic!

        1. yeah, I think we have found your problem here. You have no idea what facts or logic are and think emoting talking points counts for facts and logic.

          You should work on that.

          1. Did you have some facts or logic of your own? I didn’t see it. Maybe you need to use fewer of those invisible bits and electrons.

            1. I have an entire post below of facts and logic explaining how Binion is full of shit. If you have anything to say about it, feel free.

              1. I read that post, John.
                You made a total fool of yourself, as is your habit.

            2. Sqrsly might fuck you.

              1. And tariffs might not be taxes …. if they are zero.

                1. Keep tripping down on proving your ignorance. Lol.

              The world’s largest trade deal could be signed in 2020 — and the US isn’t in it

              Lucy tells Charlie Brown, time after time after time after time after time, THAT she WILL let Chuck kick the football! No go!
              Trump /Lucy tells Wall Street, time after time after time after time after time, HE / she WILL back off on USA protectionism for special USA business exectutives to be specially protected from Chinese competition! Time after time after time after time after time, Wall Street responds to tantalizing hints that MAYE the free market can be allowed to compete against “special people”! Stock goes up! Only to crash yet again when … Then Lucy-Trump snatches the football away AGAIN!!! WHO KNEW?!?!

              1. The world’s largest trade deal. Words have magic meaning. If it says it is “free trade” it must be. Just ignore the total central control and the complete fucking crony capitalism. it is free trade.

                Can’t you go handle snakes or something like a normal retard? Why did you have to screw with economics?

                1. Freer trade is more-free trade than less-free trade… Nothing is perfect.

                  Have you ever sat on a jury? Political wind-bags will go on and on and on ALL DAY! New trade agreements are like that… Because Trump shit on the TPP, we will NOT be able to negotiate our way into another deal like that for another 5-10 years or more! Because of endless windbags and their pet peaves! After the total selfishness of Trumpism, other nations will not trust us for who knows HOW many years! Maybe 20 years from now, they MIGHT let us into their trade agreements again, if we PROMISE not to elect another Trump-like, greedy, short-sighted pig!

                  1. Freer trade is more-free trade than less-free trade… Nothing is perfect.

                    Not when it comes with a bunch set asides and regulations. It is not free trade. Again, words have meaning. They are not magic wands that do automatically make the world conform to them.

                    Because Trump shit on the TPP, we will NOT be able to negotiate our way into another deal like that for another 5-10 years or more!

                    We can no longer get into shit deals that allow China to steal our technology and destroy our industrial base. Oh noes.

                    Your whole argument is one tautology. It is only persuasive to the faithful.

                  2. Reason didn’t exactly support the TPP either Squirrel. Probably because it was crony capitalist bullshit.

                    1. Since Trump has fukcked up EVERYTHING on trade … and since Free Trade requires both parties to agree, Trump resorts to bullying, which has failed for his entire Presidency, on every single issue.

            1. Yeah, we have been “going to go into a recession” for like three years now. Meanwhile, unemployment is at its lowest peacetime rate in history, real wages are rising for the first time since the 1980s and the economy continues to grow. But you guys are so sure the trade monster is going to come down and finally punish the wicked for their sinful ways.

              Fuck you for taking the one valid social science of economics and turning it into a fucking religion. That is all it is to you retards. I fucking hate you for that more than for your ignorant views.

              1. Trump inherited the longest expansion EVER for a sitting President .. from a President who turned around the 2nd worst recession since the 1930s …. and has not improved Obama’s overall pace.

                And, purely to humiliate you, Labor Force Participation is STILL the lowest in decades, (lol)

                UNemployment goes down TWO ways of leaving the unemployed ranks — get a job, or give up seeking one. Trump ridiculed Obama’s unemployment gains by saying ACTUAL unemployment is (laughing) 25%. So why has Trump TOTALLY Failed to increase the labor participation rate he ridiculed by Obama? Why does a record number of the labor force STILL have no confidence to even SEEK a job? See the chart of OFFICIAL data at the BLS.”

                1. You are no libertarian, and your argument about the labor force participation rate doesn’t hold water. I am 41 yr old physically capable male with highly marketable skills. Matter of fact, I’m capable of creating jobs, yet I choose not too. I have opted out of society due to the fact that my government in no way has my liberties and freedom of choice at heart, therefore I will not pay into it, meaning i earn less and no longer run a business. Do not take my choice not to participate in the labor force as an indication of a lack of confidence in our job market. It is lack of confidence in people like you who wear a sheep’s clothing, feigning liberty yet taking offense to other peoples actions because you disagree with them. A libertarian does not think that way. You are a Liberal, not a Libertarian. Even disliking the man himself, as I am no fan, Trump is the closest thing to a libertarian that has seen the white house in my lifetime, hell, probably since before Teddy Roosevelt. What’s not to celebrate about that? We won’t even get into the duplicitous nature of this investigation, and the last one. It’s really shameful, and anyone who is OK with it quite frankly doesn’t care about truth, just control. Liberty and control don’t mix.
                  Beyond those that opt out of the labor pool as protest, as that is probably very minimal. Counting those that refuse to go out and look for a job as and indicator of how our job market and economy is fairing, well that is just outright stupid. That thought causes me to question why I would even waste my time typing this. Oh yeah, it’s cause you are making Libertarians look bad. Don’t claim it if you don’t fucking promote it.

            2. And even if you religion were true, it would have absolutely no relevance to the question at hand. Trump could be a fucking socialist and this stuff would still be bullshit.

              1. OFFICIAL BLS data, just above, PROVES the bullshitter is … still you!

            3. Had to reach back 2 months ago from a liberal economist for that… then ignore all the data that came out just last week. Dont ever let anyone question your ignorance again.

    2. If it wasnt for strawman arguments sqrsly would be even more retarded.

      1. If it weren’t for tariffs, Jesse would have no taxes to sweat over.

        1. You do know that the Constitution as it was originally drafted called for the entire federal government to be funded by tariffs and customs duties don’t you? The income tax came via amendment. It is true. Look it up.

          1. He doesnt know shit about economics. The end if his knowledge is all tariffs are taxes, even when they have no effect or signal in inflationary data. Even when consumers can shift to another market to avoid the taxes. He is the Billy binion of economics.

          2. No shit sherlock. Tariffs are still taxes. Look it up. Jesse won’t. He’s afraid of what it says.

            1. They are not sales taxes. Not all of the burden of them falls on consumers. And when they are placed on just one country, they hardly even qualify as that since you can just buy things from somewhere else.

              You dumb asses have just turned economics into a religion. Tariffs are unclean and therefore must be ended no matter what. That is what passes for argument among Libertarians when it comes to trade and economics.

              1. Ooooh, tariffs aren’t sales taxes.

                They aren’t income taxes either.

                Oe estate taxes.

                Or excise taxes.

                But they are still taxes. better find some new strawtax that they aren’t, be sure to tell Jesse.

            2. It’s like you can read a response and not actually understand it.

              If sqrsly put a 10% tariff on imported shit to eat, would it be a tax? No. There are no consumers for imported shit.

              If you actually understood economics you would look past fortune cookie phrasing and look at data. Right now we have no inflationary signal showing an increased cost to consumers. None. Zero. Zilch. In fact inflation went down causing the feds to drop rates by a point.

              Turns out that the companies are the tax inflation and kept costs the same. While other suppliers switched to a good that wasnt part of the tariffs, basically good switching.

              The fact that you dont understand how to look for signals in data proves you’re a fucking ignorant hack with economics.

              Understand now skippy?

              1. Tariffs are taxes. Look it up. Twist all the scenarios you want. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, tax accountants, laws, all know that tariffs are taxes.

                But not Jesse.

                1. Bro, they’re FUNCTIONALLY taxes, not ACTUALLY taxes…

                  Jesus Christ your idiot doesn’t realize they’re all using a metaphor..

                2. I agree tariffs are taxes, and I think the tariffs on Chinese goods are sin taxes.

                  Taxes on something you shouldn’t be doing but you are going to do anyway.

                  I’m anti-tariff, but pro Chinese tariff. We have legitimate national interests in punishing Chinese behavior,. Their spying, their human rights, their aggressive regional oppression of their smaller neighbors like the Philippines and Vietnam.

              2. .Jesse scores a NEW HIGH IN STUPIDITY!!! (snort)

                If sqrsly put a 10% tariff on imported shit to eat, would it be a tax? No. There are no consumers for imported shit.


                2) LEARN HOW CPI IS CALCULATED


            3. “Tariffs are still taxes. Look it up.”

              Look up a metaphor?

              You do realize it’s a metaphor?

              Don’t you?

        2. Lol. You’re still fucking butt hurt that your sophomoric absolutist policy is easy to dismantle? Try thinking of economics in terms that dont fit on a fortune cookie dumbass. Not my fault you stopped all economic study after home economics.

          1. I think it’s funny that you say tariffs are not taxes.

            It’s even funnier that you pretend you didn’t say it.

            1. I’m sorry for calling you the billy binion of economics. You are the Jeff of economics.

              You really can’t comprehend actual arguments and resort to strawmen arguments.

              Show the data that supports your hypothesis. where is the inflation signal?

              Do you even understand that question?

            2. And since you’re too fucking dumb to go back, what I said is tariffs are not always taxes due to supplier cost absorption, market switching, etc. But you’re not smart enough to actually understand economic data. Again, you’re stuck on fortune cookie statements.

              1. I suppose you could translate “taxes” to Chinese and then say tariffs aren’t taxes.

                Why not try that next time?

                1. Why not try understanding what a metaphor is?

            3. Calling tariffs a tax is only accurate in an academic sense. If consumers do not buy tariff goods, then they are not paying a tax to the government. Sure, there is (potentially) an increased cost in buying theoretically more expensive non-tariff goods, but as said previously, show me the inflation. It’s not there.

              It is highly misleading because to the layperson, a tax suggests that a portion of the price they pay goes to the government. In this case, that is patently false.

          2. Then riddle me this…

            If trade wars are good, every one of the 50 states in the USA should declare trade wars on every other state… And then county on county, city on city, and finally, SQRLSY One’s household should trade with NO ONE… Good jobs ONLY for residents of SQRLSY One’s household!!! No one else DESERVES to trade with me!!! I will do my own iron ore mining, smelting, tool manufacture, food growing, cloth weaving, home dentistry, you name it… It is actually a straight-line ticket to utter poverty!!!

            1. It is called reductio ad absurdum. Google it. Every situation is different. Rational people understand that. Religious fanatics don’t.

              1. YOU are a reductio ad absurdum for not answering my question! WHY are trade wars such a magical path to wealth? Simple mental exercise tells you that they are NOT! Job specialization = trade freedom! It is how humans tore themselves out of the muck and mire! “Good jerbs for good my-tribe-good, their-tribe-bad” ends in settling ONLY for what MY tribe can make, using only sticks, rocks, mud, and our teeth and our hands! I don’t want to go there, do YOU?

                1. We have a national market, we also have central control of interstate commerce meaning California can’t screw over Oregon or vice versa. And we have a single currency. If you can’t understand the difference between trade amongst sovereign states in a union under a single constitution, currency and BOR with trade with a totalitarian government, you are retarded. Only a retard would think that the two situations are analogous. It is such a stupid argument that it is hard to know even where to begin refuting it since it is so self evidently idiotic on so many levels.

                  1. “…we also have central control of interstate commerce…”

                    By extension of your argument, then CLEARLY we need to add more teeth to working with the WTO, see !!! When all or at least MOST nations agree to work together, as the early-on USA states worked together via “Interstate Commerce” clause, then we will ALL be MUCH better off! Have YOU seen ANY evidence that our “stable genius” POTUS is trying to “play well with others”? I have seen just about ZERO evidence of such things!

                    I do agree I see no Democrat potential-POTUS on the horizon, that will do much better… But POTUS-Pence sounds WAY good to me, right now! Dump Trump! I have had ENOUGH already!

                    1. Speaking of teeth you have shit in yours Mary.

            2. God. Why do idiots propose the dumbest hypotheticals. Go sit in the corner with Jeff.

              1. Do you recall the awesome enchanter named “Tim”, in “Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail”? The one who could “summon fire without flint or tinder”? Well, you remind me of Tim… You are an enchanter who can summon persuasion without facts or logic!

                So I discussed your awesome talents with some dear personal friends on the Reason staff… Accordingly…

                Reason staff has asked me to convey the following message to you:

                Hi Fantastically Talented Author:

                Obviously, you are a silver-tongued orator, and you also know how to translate your spectacular talents to the written word! We at Reason have need for writers like you, who have near-magical persuasive powers, without having to write at great, tedious length, or resorting to boring facts and citations.

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                1. You have shit in your teeth mary.

            3. If trade wars are good, every one of the 50 states in the USA should declare trade wars on every other state…

              They tried.

              And while trade wars were great for the individual states, they sucked for building a nation.

              So they created barriers that made it more profitable to cooperate. But it doesn’t really work and states still compete to the very edge of violating those barriers.

  5. You know what’s worse than winning ugly?


  6. >>Keith Whittington, a political scientist at Princeton

    dude, no.

    1. He is totes neutral. Are you claiming an ivy league professor in one of the most biased majors would himself be biased?!?

      1. i am claiming a “political scientist” unworthy of citation.

    2. What’s the harm in having a Princeton political scientist influence policy?

  7. Yet an impeachment trial is not a criminal trial, and the standards of admissible evidence are thus not subject to the criminal code. More importantly, Holmes himself publicly appeared before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday and confirmed Taylor’s account.

    Hearsay is not admissible in a criminal trial because it is not reliable enough evidence to base any credible fact finding on. Binnion really is a testament to the failure of the American education system.

    And yes, attacking the credibility of witnesses is how you defend a case. The witnesses not being credible and having no first hand knowledge of the events they are testifying about is a big deal to rational people at least. If you are a fucking moron, maybe not.

    Another instance of this came during Sondland’s testimony, in which he declared that Trump saw the desired investigations as payment for a White House meeting with Ukraine

    Sondland admitted he had no direct evidence of this and that it was his opinion. An opinion based on pure conjecture and not one based on facts. He admitted neither Trump himself nor the Ukrainians agreed with him. According to Sondland was are supposed to believe the Ukrainians were being extorted by Trump even though neither they nor Trump were aware it was happening.

    And yes, the previous bad behavior of Obama is relevant. Past practice is relevant in determining just what a high crime and misdemeanor is. Reason never once called for Obama’s impeachment despite his starting an illegal war in Libya, using the IRS and FBI against his political opponents, and ordering the assassination of an American citizen who had never been charged with much less convicted of a crime.

    So yes, reason and all of Congress who allowed those things to pass need to explain why those were not impeachable offenses but a phone call to the Ukrainian President somehow is.

    1. Of you count up the number of times any of these witnesses talked about trump disagreeing with interagency direction youd laugh. They merely proved they preferred their policy to the duly elected presidents policy.

      But agree, there was no evidence. Every opening statement was refuted during the days testimony. It is obvious journalists like billy are top lazy to do their job and look past the narrative building opening statement. Every single witness said they had no direct demand to withhold aid over the investigation. The closest they got was Sondland stating a WH meeting was dependent on an announcement but even there it contradicts the phone calls Trump had where he had no preconditons.

      Billy ignores all evidence that would be for Trumps case. OMB discussing other countries aid held up. The javelin delivery to Ukraine never being held up. All direct communication from trump saying no pid pro quo. The whining of interagency policy not being followed. Both the president and foreign minister of ukraine stating no demands were ever made.

      Now you have the media pretending the 2016 election interference never happened despite reporting in politico, NYT, and a finding from a Ukranian court. You have democrats claiming Hunter broke no laws by getting paid 3 million and refuse even an inkling of an investigation (after Mueller). Media largely silent on the current indictments on Burisma.

      It is such a fucking clown world narrative and Billy is racing to the front.

      1. It is a total clown show and no one but the faithful are buying it. And they don’t seem to be taking that well.

        1. Not true. The intellectually lazy are buying it as well. Those who only read the Wapo or watch CNN who stopped all analysis after the opening statement.

          Fortunately after 3 years of this shit the independents are tired of it and not buying it

          1. Are you two done sucking each other’s tiny dicks?

    2. Yet an impeachment trial is not a criminal trial, and the standards of admissible evidence are thus not subject to the criminal code.

      The hearsay critique (at this stage) is not about the rules of evidence that would apply in a trial. It’s about the flawed nature of what the Dems are putting forward. It’s a criticism that would be valid in any setting where you’re being asked to rely on statements of (supposed) witnesses.

    3. Is a criminal trial being conducted by the House?

      1. Rules of evidence exist for a reason idiot.

        1. What are the rules concerning admission of hearsay in a grand jury inquiry? Also, in grand jury proceedings or criminal trials is it normal that the witnesses with the most firsthand knowledge of the alleged crime, are allowed to refuse subpoenas?

          The rules of evidence for different types of courts and judicial proceedings are different. It is disingenuous to keep using “it’s all hearsay” argument when we all know that the rules for hearsay that apply in a House impeachment inquiry, and we all know that White House staff and Guiliani are not testifying at this point.

          1. “What are the rules”

            So wait, NOW you’re asking about rules extremely stupid person?

            Because your first plan was stuoid and got destroyed.

          2. ” It is disingenuous”

            No, piece of shit, what’s disingenuous is trying the “it’s not a criminal inquiry” bullshit then suddenly pretending you care about the rules of evidence like you did cunt.

          3. “Also, in grand jury proceedings or criminal trials is it normal that the witnesses with the most firsthand knowledge of the alleged crime, are allowed to refuse subpoenas?”

            That has exactly dick to do with the rules of evidence imbecile.

            Fuck, you don’t even unde what the term MEANS you blathering retard.

            1. It has been explained many times that the closest analog to a House impeachment inquiry is a grand jury proceeding. Of course, there isn’t any exact analog — impeachments have their own rules, different from the judicial rules for crimes involving “normal” citizens.

              1. “It has been explained many times that the closest analog”

                I don’t care and that has nothing to do with my point, you fucking human garbage heap.

                You don’t even understand what you’re discussing retard

              2. A grand jury proceeding that’s televised, and the prosecutor gets to coach witnesses to not answer questions that don’t fit its narrative, leaks certain details to the media, and gives press conferences during recess?

                I don’t care how many times it’s explained, it’s still bullshit and you’re still a useful idiot.

                1. Yes, it’s highly political and all the things you complain about happened. But that doesn’t change that the rules of evidence for a criminal trial don’t apply in a House impeachment hearing.

                  You just tried to change this from a factual discussion to a discussion about my attitudes toward the impeachment goings-on. And I have NEVER said I approve of how the impeachment is being done. All I have ever done is point out when Trump apologists in this comments section make spurious arguments.

                  1. “But that doesn’t change that the rules of evidence for a criminal trial don’t apply in a House impeachment hearing.”

                    great job idiot you keep making a point that has exactly nothing to do with what I’m talking about because you’re a moron

                    You’re a fucking retard. You keep acting like people shouldn’t engage in Sterility protocols just because it isn’t an operating room, like that fucking point isn’t retarded too

                    1. Are you just too stupid to kill yourself? There are plenty of resources online to help you go through with it.

                      Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you?

                  2. So nothing like a grand jury really. Got it.

                    1. I said that: “Of course, there isn’t any exact analog — impeachments have their own rules, different from the judicial rules for crimes involving ‘normal’ citizens.”

                    2. So your entire point is moot and stupid, on top of being off topic.

                    3. Jeff the rules around evidence exist to guarantee as much as possible the quality of the evidence. The nature of the hearing doesn’t really speak to that, as anyone with integrity would presumably want the evidence to be as accurate and reliable as possible, independent of the nature of the inquiry.

                      Tosssing out ideas about grand juries and impeachment and how the rules are different so evidentiary rules can be too looks shady. It looks like you’re trying to justify accepting lower quality evidence. Which, fine, but we get to question why anyone with above board motives would want that.

                    4. No, the purpose of the impeachment hearings is different than a trial. The purpose isn’t to decide whether to pursue a trial. This is analogous to the purpose of a grand jury.

                      If you complain about hearsay not being up to the standards of evidence of a criminal trial, because you want that level of evidence to be the standard for the hearings, then you must also complain about executive privilege being used as a blanket shield from White House staff and Giuliani testifying.

                      Otherwise, you are speaking out of both ends of your mouth.

                    5. Typo: purpose IS to decide whether to pursue a trial

                  3. No, the rules of evidence don’t apply to congress. However, saying “it’s all hearsay” is essentially the same as saying “this is pathetic, second and third hand evidence”. This is what the Democrats are leading with, and it’s pathetic. Supposition, hearsay, and rumors. If you want to say Trump was trying to get a bribe by researching his opponent, you need a logical serious of arguments that Trump was working outside his

                    There is a set of circumstances that MUST be present for Trump to have violated laws. Most importantly, he cannot have any reasonable cause to call for an investigation. The Democrats aren’t even TRYING to present evidence for any of that. It’s all finger pointing and vague accusations.

                    And this is the prosecution. No defense. Barely any cross examination. Going back to the court analogy, even in civil court, this would get dismissed on summary judgement after the prosecution rests. You don’t even need a defense in this circumstance.

                    1. Saying “this is pathetic, second and third hand evidence” would be a valid argument to make. It would be expressing one’s opinion about the quality of them Democrat’s case without trying to sell the fiction that they aren’t following the rules of evidence for a House impeachment hearing. It’s also valid to say that you don’t like the rules for impeachment hearings, but again don’t try to sell the fiction that the rules aren’t being followed.

                    2. Saying “this is pathetic, second and third hand evidence” would be a valid argument to make.

                      No. It wouldn’t.

                      Because none of this is evidence at all.

                      It’s people expressing their opinions about what they thought was going on.

                      The reason the Republican’s are having such a hard time mounting a coherent case is because there’s nothing to mount ANY kind of case against–coherent or otherwise.

                      You can’t prove an opinion or a feeling wrong.

                    3. It’s *ALL* people expressing opinions?

                      Was Sondland expressing a opinion when he said that the President wanted a quid pro quo from Zelensky to have a White House meeting?

                      Was Holmes expressing an opinion when he recounted the words he heard Sondland and Trump speak in a phone call?

                      It’s possible they were lying or mistaken, but those weren’t opinions.

                    4. “”Was Sondland expressing a opinion when he said that the President wanted a quid pro quo from Zelensky to have a White House meeting?””

                      I guess it depends on how you view presumptions.

                      “”Asked outright, “No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations. Yes or no?”, he answered, “Yes.”

                      The followup: “So you really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for these investigations.”

                      Sondland’s answer: “Other than my own presumption.””

                    5. “Sondland’s answer: “’Other than my own presumption.’”

                      Yes, I know that’s what he said. I haven’t said otherwise.

          4. Hearsay is never acceptable for a grand jury. It might be accepted in the investigation phase as probable cause for a warrant. However, even in that, unsubstantiated hearsay would be looked at suspiciously.

            1. My understanding is that it is admissible, but regardless it isn’t my main point anyway. My main point is that the rules of evidence for an impeachment inquiry are unique.

              1. So unique, in fact, that common sense doesn’t apply to discount obviously crappy evidence. In fact, the worse the evidence is, the stronger the case.

                Keep it up. People are ignoring you, and laughing.

    4. ordering the assassination of an American citizen who had never been charged with much less convicted of a crime.

      A US citizen that was a juvenile.

      I’m fairly certain that the intentional murder of US citizens is something the Constitution specifically and unambiguously forbids the government or its agents from doing.
      Its the sort of thing that very much sounds like high crimes and misdemeanors.

      1. It’s totes ok because Chocolate Nixon did it.

    5. John…I guess a more basic question is whether the actions of POTUS Trump was actually ‘wrong’. I contend that they are not. Quid pro quo is routinely done in Congress to pass legislation, and quid pro quo is routinely used by POTUS’ in their article 3 powers.

      What is the problem?

      I have yet to read a discernable principle here. I asked ‘chem’ and the most I got was: Well Geez, I think he did this to just benefit himself, which ignores all the context.

      1. Using extortion to seek a quid pro quo where the quid is public money allocated by Congress and the quo is pressuring a foreign government to dig up dirt on his Presidential race rival. It’s the specifics of what the quid and quo were.

        1. Well Mike…you say there is extortion. Name it.

          1. I just did name it.

          2. And I don’t say that there was extortion. I say that there are accusations of extortion, which still have to be proven in a trial. That’s just a factual statement.

        2. Nice justification for shielding Democrats from investigation. Now do the Bidens-Burisma conflict of interest and corruption from the same worst interpretation lens or is extortion foreign officials by withholding congressional approved funds just fine?

          1. As I’ve said many, many times, I’m fine with there being an investigation of the Bidens and Burisma.

    6. “Reason never once called for Obama’s impeachment despite his …”

      Reason criticized many or all of Obama’s actions that you list. Sure, they didn’t call for his impeachment, but Reason hasn’t called for any President’s impeachment. It would be odd for Reason, as a libertarian, non-partisan publication, to advocate for a specific partisan action in Congress.

      1. And yet, here they are in full spin mode in favor of impeaching Trump. Reason is about as libertarian as you are – not at all.

        1. A lot of commenters here have trouble recognizing neutral, non-partisan commentary.

          1. A lot of commentators have a hard time being honest about their partisan commentary and insist they are neutral when they are clearly not.

            1. Why would someone lie about that?

              1. The same reasons people lie about anything else.

              2. Good question, mike.
                Seems you don’t have the courage of your convictions and/or are attempting to gaslight readers into believing your blind hatred of Trump, along with your craven service to progressive technocrats, is some kind of “fair, dispassionate analysis”
                Which is, of course, belied by both your statements and obsessive commentary on all impeachment related articles

  8. Poor billy. Keeps pulling the short straw.

    Democrats continue to struggle to find any evidence for their narrative.

    Democrats keep ignoring countries like lebanon and various other countries also had aid delayed.

    Democrats struggle to claim bipartisanship as every intelligent person sees this as a farce.

    Democrats continue to deny polls showing independents shifting to trump on impeachment.

    Democrats continue to deny polls showing African americans shifting.

    Democrats continue to struggle that people outside their bubbles think differently and pay attention to evidence instead of narrative.

    1. It is not the Democrats who have changed their story (it is quid pro qou, no its bribery, no it is “abuse of power) multiple times and are forever moving the goalposts and changing expectations who are incoherent. No, it is the Republicans who can’t mount a coherent strategy.

      I swear the God the old Pravda had more shame and lied less than this.

      1. The Democrats and Republicans have been changing their narrative as the impeachment process unfolds. Tomorrow will see both parties working hard to spin the U.S. District Court decision this afternoon.

        1. Why is that a problem, you changed your narrative from “it’s not a criminal inquiry” to “I’m so fucking stupid that I think refusing a subpoena has anything at all to do with evidentiary rules”

    2. Sorry, accidentally flagged because of reason’s bullshit autopopup video on mobile.

  9. Let me pose this question to the pro-impeachers: Would you say that politically-motivated investigations are a Bad Thing, or not?

    1. Mueller was justified. Process crimes near trump are justified. Prosecutorial abuse against flynn is justified. Emoluments is justified. Novel interpretations of campaign finance are justified.

      Just not against Democrats.

    2. Are you excepting the impeachment investigation or not?

      1. You see, that’s somewhat the point of my little Socratic inquiry.

        We know the answer: “our motives are pure, his are impure. How dare you suggest we have political motives, the other side has political motives!”

        1. When ukraine, or the US, spends 30 million plus all agency costs for the run up to an investigation on burisma we can talk about equivalency.

    3. I’m honestly conflicted about whether impeachment and removal from office is justified, but I’ll answer your question honestly and I’m happy to have a civil debate about this.

      Politically-motivated investigations are not ideal in the literal sense of going against the ideals of governing without bias or faction. But in reality, is there any other kind of investigation in Congress other than a politically motivated one?

      A Republic Congress would never have launched the Benghazi investigations against a Republican presidential administration. A Democratic Congress would never have launched impeachment proceedings against a Democratic president. Hypocrisy abounds.

      We can and should criticize politicians for their hypocrisy, but that doesn’t mean we should jettison all checks and balances or do away with Congress’s investigatorial power until all the hypocrites are gone. If that’s the standard, then we’ve just neutered Constitutional oversight. We’re all sinners, but someone still has to throw those stones.

      So, we should judge the cases (this one and any others that have/will come up) on their merits and do our best not to get distracted by partisanship. Sometimes that means drilling down past the theatrics. It definitely means having a healthy skepticism of all sides, seeking out varying sources of information and points of view, and doing your best to make your own well-informed judgement. But you can’t carry that skepticism all the way down into cynicism and reject any arguments that come from people that you don’t agree with politically.

      If there is nothing but politics motivating the Democrats, then I hope they pay a political price for abusing the Congress’s impeachment powers (and if that is the case I suspect that they will). People may decide that there was something there, but not enough to warrant impeachment, and still make the Democrats pay for it. But people may also decide that, motivations aside, Trump’s behavior warranted an investigation, and maybe even kicking it up to the Senate. That’s the camp I fall into.

      1. I suppose I could of/should paraphrased Churchill who is (obviously) infinitely more concise and eloquent than I am and said politically motivated investigations are the worst types of investigations, except for all the others.

      2. So, in your mind, it is possible that there isn’t a justified reason to investigate Joe, Hunter, their ties to Burisma, and Burisma’s relationship with people in the State department?

        1. I think there is some justification for investigating the Bidens and Burisma, but not a particularly strong case as it relates to Joe Biden, and probably not even to his son.

          My understanding of the situation is that Burisma, or at least people in the company, were corrupt; that the investigation into Burisma wasn’t actually going anywhere under the former prosecutor; that said prosecutor was pretty clearly corrupt and that getting rid of him was justified; that the US was joined by the EU and other international bodies in calling for that prosecutor’s removal; that getting rid of said prosecutor could have, at least hypothetically, led to renewed investigations into Burisma; and that when Joe Biden “bragged” about getting rid of said prosecutor, it was to highlight real anti-corruption policies and not because he was flaunting getting his son off the hook.

          I think it is very likely that Hunter Biden got his job on the board of Burisma because his last name was Biden. I don’t like that sort of nepotism but to the best of my knowledge it is not illegal. I’ll have to defer to others on whether Joe Biden follow proper procedure with regard to his involvement in Ukraine policy given his son’s role. I don’t work for the government and I don’t know all the policies regarding when a potential conflict of interest simply needs to be declared and reviewed vs requiring a recusal. I have at least heard the claim that proper procedures were followed by Joe Biden but I can’t evaluate those claims.

          So, ultimately, I think there is enough there to take a closer look, but it seems like a lot is already in the public record. So far I have not heard about any specific accusations of corruption or improper actions on the part of Biden or anyone in the State Department. I keep a close eye on Reason and on Google News. Maybe I’m not reading the right sources, but I consider myself fairly well informed on these issues.

          But there is a Justice Department and a Republican-controlled Senate that these types of investigations should be led by, if warranted.

          1. I see.
            Well, you have an impressive amount of faith in official narratives.
            Have any of your authoritative sources answered why was Burisma communicating with the US State department?
            What leads you to believe that Shokin was corrupt?
            How do you come to the conclusion that the investigation into Burisma was finished?
            If a “closer look” into Burisma and their payments to the Biden family is warranted, what possible wrongdoing could Trump be guilty of?

            1. It’s not that I have faith in official narratives, it’s that every bit of factual reporting I have seen more or less confirms the story I laid out. I’m not an investigative journalist or a member of the FBI, so, yeah, at some point I need to look at the preponderance of the reporting that is out there and draw a conclusion from that.

              From what I have seen the US government, the EU, anti-corruption watchdogs within Ukraine, and I believe the IMF and World Bank all concluded that Shokin was corrupt, and those accusations went back some time.

              I did a Google search and the only claim I can find of Burisma having contact with the State department is in 2016 through a US lobbyist, and the website reporting it, which is very clearly in the “Biden is corrupt camp”, doesn’t even report on any consequences of that meeting. If you have any evidence of something nefarious, I’ll gladly take a look at it.

              I didn’t say the investigation into Burisma was done, I said Shokin wasn’t pursuing it. In fact, I believe the investigation is still under way.

              If an investigation was/is justified, there are established processes for carrying it out. We have an FBI, State Department investigators, and a Republican-controlled Senate that can investigate allegations of corruption. Those established processes are not perfect but they are important because they provide for some level of public and judicial oversight; they enforce some level of evidenciary standards; they help to protect the due-process rights of the accused and provide a means of providing relief if due-process is not followed. And there is no reason an FBI/State department investigation couldn’t work with officials in Ukraine.

              So the wrong doing starts with going around those proper channels. I believe he did that because he didn’t want to be held to established standards or face oversight, because he was not really interested in corruption, but in his own narrow political interests, which is an abuse of power for purely personal gain and also wrong. And I believe there is a credible case (not a slam dunk, but worthy of investigation in the Senate) that he tried to pressure Ukraine to go along using the defense aid and the WH visit, which, when tied only to Trump’s narrow political interests, is also wrong.

              I’m doing my best to provide you with honest answers. I’m curious what answers you would provide to the questions you asked?

              1. Well said.

              2. I appreciate this comment. It really cuts through the bullshit of the pro-impeachment people and gets to the core of the potential issues with Trump’s actions.

              3. So he went through the wrong channels, the same channels that just spent 3 years attempting to oust him for and with purely political nonsense? I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t trust them.

                1. This is simply untrue. The Republican-controlled Senate has not tried to oust him. A duly-appointed special investigator within the Dept of Justice led an investigation that ultimately cleared Trump of the accusations of collusion that were coming from the Democrats (and which were always pretty hard to swallow), consciously punted on a specific determination of obstruction of justice, and filed a report that ultimately led to no serious negative consequences for Trump. On the contrary, the Muller report damaged the Democrats’ narrative. As of one month ago the Justice Department still had multiple investigations open into the origin of the Russia probe, the spying on Carter Page, and the Clintons/Clinton Foundation, all of which are being overseen by the Attorney General. The President still has the legitimate authority to fire anyone in the Executive branch who is not following a legal order, and he has exercised that power repeatedly.

                  To the extent that testimony provided to Congress by State department officials, in response to a subpoena, related to a valid exercise of a Congress’ investigatorial power, is an attempt to oust the President, it is only in response to behavior that may in fact be worthy of being ousted (note that I’m leaving open the possibility that it may not be worthy of being ousted, too). I believe the investigation itself is valid and the testimony is appropriate so long as it is truthful, and I’ve not heard anyone claim that anyone committed perjury. If Trump had gone through the proper channels, he’d catch political flak for it, but we are almost certainly not in impeachment proceedings, and those State department officials have no reason to testify in a procedure that could ultimately end in removal from office.

                  1. Again, well said.

              4. How exactly did Trump “go around” proper channels? Everyone keeps saying this, but nobody is really providing any coherent theory as to what was “improper.”

                1. Again, there are multiple bodies within the US government that can and should investigate credible claims of corruption against US citizens or foreigners working in or with the US. Those bodies are subject to certain oversight and restraints on their power.

                  Nominating the President’s personal attorney along with a select few ambassadors and special envoys to pressure a foreign government to carry out those investigations circumvents the proper US authorities and the proper oversight that would come with those normal channels. That is what is one of the improprieties.

                  Nothing would prevent most of those US government bodies from working with authorities in Ukraine, through proper channels, if warranted.

                  1. //Nominating the President’s personal attorney along with a select few ambassadors and special envoys to pressure a foreign government to carry out those investigations circumvents the proper US authorities and the proper oversight that would come with those normal channels. That is what is one of the improprieties.//

                    The President gets to make that decision, not you. Unless there’s some sort of law you can identify that prohibits such conduct, there’s nothing improper about it.

                    1. The President can’t circumvent due process and judicial/Congressional oversight. And he especially can’t do so in pursuit of his own narrow political self-interest, which is what has been alleged here.

                      I’m unclear on whether or not he was within his rights to appoint Giuliani when he isn’t (to the best of my knowledge) an official of the US government or confirmed by the Senate. Other commenters here have said that he was within his rights, but haven’t cited clear policy or precedent to support that conclusion. I would love to see something definitive on this, because I honestly don’t know. It at least seems somewhat questionable.

                      I mean, look at it like this — suppose someone wants to investigate Giuliani’s role. If he is acting solely as the President’s personal attorney, he can claim attorney-client privilege and seemingly shield himself from oversight. That would be perfectly justifiable if he was working solely in Trump’s interests, but the administration has explicitly claimed that this was not about Trump’s own interests, but about the interests of the country at large. There is a disconnect there.

                      Would love to hear someone speak to this aspect of things.

                    2. There are limits on the President and the Executive branch. The impeachment power of Congress is one of those checks.

                      There are FEC regulations governing Presidential candidates. Trump is a Presidential candidate.

                    3. Also, I don’t believe something has to be illegal to be improper. For example, Hunter Biden sitting on the board of Burisma was probably improper, but probably not illegal.

                      But attempting to circumvent due process and Constitutional checks and balances probably would be illegal, so it may be a moot point.

                    4. I find your credulity in the most corrupt institutions and people that exist improper but not illegal.
                      Guess we’re at an impasse

              5. None of those bodies can investigate IN the Ukraine though.

                1. But, as I said, they can work with Ukrainian authorities in way that is still subject to proper oversight in the US.

                  1. In theory.
                    In practice?
                    Not so much

      3. That was a more thorough response than I deserved, given the tossed-off tone of my original comment.

        I was going for a serious point – these politicians tend to investigate each other mainly when they have a political reason for it, otherwise they cover for each other. And here I was thinking both of the impeachment and of the Burisma matter.

        I don’t if any surprise witness will turn up with a smoking gun, though I imagine that if they had one they’d have used it by now.

        I suppose *if* the case were clear enough – that is, clear enough to overcome the risk of double standards given what his Deep State enemies have managed to get away with (Clapper especially) – if the evidence were clear enough the Senate might have a constitutional duty to convict.

        Fortunately – and yes I have a bias against letting the Democrats have their way – so far the case against Trump doesn’t seem serious enough to warrant giving the Dems and Deep Staters a victory and putting the Presidency in the untried hands of Pence, who has not always shown himself to be a fighter even on the “fundie” issues he’s supposedly associated with.

        But if he’s been selling secrets to Russia or knowingly persecuting an innocent Biden, or something along those lines, I might call it impeachable.

        1. What I especially don’t like is Trump involving Ghouliani in his schemes, picking his personal attorney as an emissary. If this were in aid of persecuting a clearly innocent person, that would make it worse. But it is not the case the Biden is clearly innocent.

          1. If the Senate was concerned about its prerogatives, it might ask “why did you send a foreign emissary who wasn’t confirmed by us?” But I think that train has long ago left the station.

          2. If the government can hire and use private informants to conduct investigations, then I see nothing wrong with the hiring of a private attorney to do something similar. Private individuals can, and routinely do, work with the government on myriad investigative matters.

            All the objections come down to is “Ughhh …. it’s asshole Guiliani …. therefore, it’s improper.”

            Like it’s the first time in history this had ever happened.

            Let’s get real.

            1. There is a qualitatively difference between a private informant and a private attorney in a US policy role.

              To take just one example, where does attorney-client privilege begin and end? That could be used to circumvent Congressional or Judicial oversight, or to deny a FOIA request. But if it relates to US foreign policy then those types of oversight are vital.

              The comparison you are trying to draw just doesn’t hold up.

              1. There is no difference at all. The attorney-client privilege has nothing to do with anything and, in any event, would be subsumed within the doctrine of executive privilege.

                The use of a private attorney to assist the President in conducting investigations is not improper or impeachable simply because your can hypothesize about scenarios where “oversight” would be frustrated.

                Your parsing of the differences does not hold up.

                1. Well, I strongly disagree, both about whether privilege is germane to the discussion and whether oversight is important. If you can cite some precedent for this type of arrangement that was upheld, or some relevant law allowing it, I’ll admit that it at least has been settled legally. But I would still think it is very problematic and ripe for abuse.

                  1. When has such conduct ever been challenged or prohibited? You are the one claiming it is wrong.

        2. Selling secrets to Russia?
          What. The. Hell. Are. You. Smoking?

        3. The processes are most definitely used in a political way. Washington, D.C. sucks.

          One possible bombshell on the horizon is John Bolton. He has been considering testifying, in which case the impeachment hearings would reopen. He has been waiting for the decision District Court decision about executive privilege that was made yesterday, but now it’s not clear what Bolton will do while the decision is in appeal.

    4. First of all, I”m not “pro impeachment”, but I’m a neutral observer who isn’t all that worked up emotionally about it:

      The answer is that politically-motivated investigations are a mixed bag. They suck because the political motivation gums up the integrity of the investigation, but that doesn’t mean they don’t uncover actual wrongdoing. The most ridiculous outcome is the politically-motivated investigation where no charges come of it but perjury or obstruction; i.e no meat to the case other than that someone was caught lying in an investigation that didn’t turn up any actual “meat”.

      But also, as we all supposedly learned in kindergarten, two wrongs don’t make a right, so that the Democrats are politically-motivated doesn’t excuse the Republicans, and vice versa.

      1. “First of all, I”m not “pro impeachment””

        First of all you’re a fucking liar.

        1. Exactly. So full of shit.

      2. “ First of all, I”m not “pro impeachment”, but I’m a neutral observer who isn’t all that worked up emotionally about it”

        You don’t really think anyone here believes this, do you?

        1. Amazing how consistent Leftists are in not having the balls to back their own convictions without pretending to neutrality/objectivity.

          1. So your theory is that anyone who isn’t a Trump supporter, must be a “leftist” because there’s no middle-ground.

            You realize that you’re a dumb fuck, right?

            1. Scurry back to huffpost Jason.
              You clearly can’t keep up with the conversation here

              1. You aren’t having a conversation – you’re alleging bullshit that there’s only Trump supporters, and Leftists.

                Because you’re too stupid to realize that plenty of independents – myself included, can despise both political parties, and still think Trump is a fucking criminal.

                1. So sad, so impotent, and fooling nobody

  10. In other words, the Republicans are acting like defense attorneys like the Democrats are acting like prosecutors. The prosecution’s job is to come up with a coherent set of charges. The defense’s job is to shoot whatever holes it can in that case to establish doubt. They do not have need to be coherent in their taxtics.

    1. Prosecutors are SUPPOSED to be objective and share exculpatory evidence with the defense as well. Drastically limiting the procedural rights of the defense will make them merely reactive which is what we see here. Given the context of an inability to mount a defense thus explains the limited techniques being used by the R’s here. This article fails to mention that the Republicans are extremely limited in their defense options by the choices made by Democrats.

      1. //This article fails to mention that the Republicans are extremely limited in their defense options by the choices made by Democrats.//

        Oh hush! Stop trying to lend credence to these diversionary procedural objections. Only the guilty object on procedural grounds. Everybody knows that. Any libertarian worth his or her salt understands full well that due process is a trifle.

    2. Remind me again what Oath was sworn by our Representatives in the Legislative branch?

      Did they swear fealty to their political party? Did they agree to ignore their duties as legislators and instead pretend they’re part of the Executive branch and the President’s personal defense attorneys?

      I thought they swore an Oath to the Constitution. And their job – according to the Constitution and the office they were elected to, has nothing to do with joining forces with anyone in the Executive branch to actively work against Congress.

      1. The Democrats have been talking about impeachment since before Trump was inaugurated. This has not been in the interests of the country or the Congress as an institution. This has been about punishing someone outside the political class for defeating the Democrat’s anointed candidate. The Republican’s in Congress have little reason to sit down and shut up about what their colleagues are doing.

        1. Congratulations, you failed to address any of the issues raised, aside from providing an excuse as to why their behavior is acceptable in your mind.

          Your tiny collection of grey matter doesn’t change the Oaths they swore, or the fact that Trump has committed multiple felonies worthy of impeachment at this point.

  11. Maybe there’s no coherent defense because there are no coherent accusations, but maybe that’s just my reading of the situation.

    1. Well said.

      When the charges shift on a daily basis, and each subsequent defense to a newly emergent charge is itself transformed into the basis for yet a new charge, the entire process devolves into absurdity.

      “A is impeachable.”

      “But I didn’t do A, if anything we were doing B, which was normal.”

      “Aha! B is ALSO impeachable!”

      “But B can’t be impeachable, because we also did C, which is also normal.”

      “GOTCHA! Now C is impeachable!”

      1. Every morning I wake up and there’s a new reason to impeach Trump, and I’m ever curious what happened to yesterdays accusations. It appears that the theory is if you throw enough shit at the wall, eventually some of it will stick.

        I’ve essentially given up at keeping up with the various accusations, since so far all I’ve seen reported are opinion pieces based on hearsay.

        I’ll pay attention when Democrats settle on actual articles of impeachment.

        1. Why should Trump be impeached?

          He withheld aid to get Ukraine to investigate Biden and interference in the 2016 election.

          Isn’t that something we should want?

          No because Biden is a Democrat and Ukraine interfering with our elections is a conspiracy theory and just what Putin wants us to think.

          That literally is their case. How they expect anyone to find it persuasive is a mystery known only to the initiated.

        2. //I’ll pay attention when Democrats settle on actual articles of impeachment.//

          I very much doubt it will ever come to this.

          The second the Democrats impeach, they lose control of the process. Republicans can then ride out a trial in the Senate, with devastation, until just before the election.

          My sense is that the Democrats will maintain that there is more than enough evidence to impeach but, given that they don’t have the numbers in the Senate, will argue that the Republicans are going to close ranks behind Trump.

          “We do not want to give Donald Trump and his morally bankrupt cronies in the Senate the satisfaction. We will not allow them to turn the process in a joke. We sincerely hope the misconduct will resonate with the voters.”

          The Democrats will skulk out of the room and declare victory, all the while alienating all Republicans and the majority of independents.

          1. It may or may not come to that, but regardless it’s all smoke and mirrors until they decide on articles. It’s fairly clear that at this point we’re in the ‘hunt for a reason to impeach’ stage of the game hence the ever-shifting reasoning for an impeachment trial.

            If they do bring articles of impeachment, I wager it will be akin to impeaching Clinton over sexual misconduct and perjury that had nothing to do with the original investigation. Some last minute hail mary play should be expected.

            1. Agreed.

          2. Greaje…I disagree. Team D wants to permanently besmirch POTUS Trump. They will follow through and vote for impeachment. I think there is a small, but growing possibility that the House will vote for censure. Either way, Team D wants to utterly destroy POTUS Trump and his 63MM deplorable supporters.

            1. I think they will come up with something to impeach, then claim the Senate didn’t do their job when the Senate doesn’t remove him.

              1. Vic, I agree in that I believe the House will impeach. After that, nobody knows WTF will happen because everything goes ‘nuclear’ after that. I really wish it were not this way.

        3. The Democrats have been changing the words used in labeling the accusations from day to day, but the questionable use of high office at the heart of the accusations hasn’t changed that much at all: withholding aid and White House meetings until Ukraine announced an investigation of the Bidens.

          1. And investigation of CloudStrike.

            1. And you’re a retard.

            2. Crowdstrike.
              But you’re super well informed.
              Oh, and neutral.
              Have you mentioned yet how neutral you are?

          2. Right, but your takes are marred by the fact that you’re an imbecile who thinks refusing to testify has something to do with rules of evidence.

          3. So … the President has to meet with any world leader … HAS TO … and cannot impose any conditions? Is that the position? I must have missed the last 50 fucking years of foreign policy in this country where we just let anybody waltz into the white house at the threat of impeachment.

            1. It’s the specific conditions that he allegedly imposed: Ones that benefit his Presidential campaign. Beside being President, Trump is also a Presidential candidate.

              1. What *wouldn’t* benefit his campaign? It’s an arbitrary standard with no practicable limits. In other words, it’s bullshit. More goalpost shifting.

    2. This is close to my take as well. Ukraine got the aid. The Ukrainians were apparently unaware the it had been held up. The fact that Joe Biden is running for president does not make him and his son immune to investigation. Hunter Biden’s relationship with a corrupt Ukrainian energy firm stank to high heaven. If Bill Clinton didn’t get removed for perjuring himself in a deposition relating to one of many accusations of sexual harassment; if W is not in jail over Stellarwind (nor Clapper for perjuring himself about the extent of spying on Americans); if Obama was not impeached for making war without Congressional approval or spending money that Congress had not appropriated—then Trump is pretty damn safe.

      1. It is not so that the Ukrainians didn’t know it was held up. Also, the deadline for distributing the aid was narrowly missed (by three days).

        Don’t disagree with anything else you said.

        1. “It is not so that the Ukrainians didn’t know it was held up.”

          It’s very so fucking liar.

          1. Of course, they realized the aid they were waiting for was not being delivered:


            1. That says they didn’t know and that it was delivered well within the expected time frame.


              HOW ARE YOU THIS STUPID?



                  1. Ahahahahahhahahaahka

                    what a God damned ignoramus AHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAJAJAAHAHAHAHAH

                    1. AHAHAHAHAHAHA



              2. Which date comes first on the 2019 calendar? July 25th or September 11th?

                When you say they “didn’t know”, do you mean that the Ukrainians didn’t know exactly what was holding up the aid? If that’s how you are interpreting “didn’t know”, then you are engaging in pure casuistry. Of course, they didn’t know exactly why the aid was held up when they asked about it on July 25th — that’s why they were asking about it.

                Allan Walstad wrote: “The Ukrainians were apparently unaware the it had been held up. ” Clearly, the experience on the Ukrainian end would be that they haven’t received expected aid, but wouldn’t know the exact reason for not receiving it. I really doubt Allan was asserting that the Ukrainians didn’t know specifically that the OMB was holding up the funds.

                1. Ahahaha shut up fucking idiot who can’t even read his own article ahahhaahhaahahaja



                2. “that’s why they were asking about it.”

                  And you evidence of this is what? That’s conjecture.

                  I really doubt Allan

                  So the Kreskin act isn’t a one time thing.

                  Do you do anything other than pretend to read minds?

                  1. “Do you do anything other than pretend to read minds?”

                    No, it’s pretty much always what Jeff does when he’s wrong.

                  2. The article I linked to above, and many other news articles, say that the Ukrainians asked about why they had not received the expected aid yet.

                3. Listen. In order to prove the Democrats’ asinine theory, you have to believe that Zelensky is a liar.

                  Zelensky denied everything, and he was allegedly the party being extorted, or bribed, or pressured, or whatever the fuck bullshit it is today.

                  So, are you insisting that Zelensky is liar? Because unless you prove Zelensky is lying, this impeachment is dead.

                  1. I don’t *believe* anything. There hasn’t even been a trial yet.

                    Zelensky’s public statement is one piece of evidence to weigh, but it is countered by other testimony that Zelensky was privately inquiring about what he needed to do to get a meeting at the White House.

                    Also, there is a plausible argument that Zelensky could not say what he really thought in public.

                    Also, Zelensky isn’t even an American or part of the Federal government, is not a sworn witness, and cannot be called to testify.

                    1. So, you are calling Zelensky a liar.

            2. Of course, they realized the aid they were waiting for was not being delivered:


              Great–and of course they released those emails.



              What’s that? She says that there were emails so that should be enough?

              Or wait–let me guess. There ARE emails from Ukrainians that mention security assistance–but none of them actually SAY anything about the aid being held up–no, like everything else THAT was ‘presumed’, ‘inferred’, ‘assumed’.


              Why don’t you go find a fire to fuck off and die in?

              1. “She says there were emails so that should be enough?”

                No, no trial has been held yet. Nothing has been proved yet.

      2. If Trump is impeached, it won’t be over anything bad he did. It will be because of his ultimate sin: He’s not a member of the Uniparty establishment.

        ALL their power comes from being the gatekeepers to office, if they can be circumvented, they’re nothing. And Trump circumvented them. That can never be forgiven.

  12. Binion’s position appears to be that since the evidence adduced by the Democrats is so circumstantial, and so equivocal, and so unclear that the burden must, therefore, fall upon Trump to affirmatively prove his innocence beyond all doubt and, if Trump cannot do so, impeachment must eventuate because …. impeaching the President is a process that exists outside the scope of every sensible evidentiary standard (and, indeed, common sense standards) applicable in every other legal proceeding, in every other context.

    This argument is absurd.

    In absolutely no other circumstance is the person being prosecuted (or, in the civil context, sued) required to affirmatively rebut the charges or claims against them in order to walk away. If the party making the claim cannot carry *their* burden, then that party loses the case.

    “We have shit for evidence and that’s not fair; so, prove your innocence!”

    How can anyone purporting to be a libertarian possible endorse this?

    1. Don’t worry if they can do this to the President that doesn’t mean they could ever do it to anyone else. Reason assures me of this because Orange Man Bad.

    2. They seem to get around this by insisting that “this is not a trial!”

      1. It’s a factual statement that the hearings are not a trial. There will eventually be a trial (assuming the Democrats don’t punt on impeachment).

        1. That’s fine and all, but unfortunately its an unconvincing argument to anyone that doesn’t reflexively hate the President.

          The people that were already on board with impeachment will eat it up, of course. But we already knew that would happen regardless of what came up during the inquiry. The rest of us are still waiting on actual proof of something that not only is improper, but is abhorrent and a betrayal of the American people. Even if Trump did something technically improper (and it certainly looks like he did), it has to be something that makes the American people recoil. This simply isn’t it, and the Democrats will have to deal with that at the polls.

          1. “… waiting on actual proof of something that not only is improper, but is abhorrent and a betrayal…” is a perfectly valid value judgement to hold, especially at this stage in the impeachment process where no specific charges have been made and no trial has been held.

            What is not valid is denying plain facts.

            “This simply isn’t it, and the Democrats will have to deal with that at the polls.”

            Of course. Don’t disagree.

  13. You do kinda have to admit the Dem accusations are shifting rather rapidly. The Republicans are also within a process that does not provide them much of a cooperative structure where they can plan a defense. In a legal proceeding the Dems would be sharing exculpatory evidence and Republicans could call witnesses and it would be a much more orderly, albeit unexciting, case.

    Here Dems moved very quickly, likely too hastily, to go from deposition to hearings to vote on impeachment. But trying to paint this as one side looking bad doesn’t provide much context.

    1. It’s important to remember this isn’t the impeachment, this is the discovery process to see if there will be an impeachment. Then, when and if the impeachment happens, he could be found innocent of that.

  14. how about this: he broke a few rules but none of it is impeachable. even the bribery mentioned in the Constitution means accepting bribes, not offering them. and if the citizens actually care, they can vote him out next year anyway.

    1. He didn’t even break any rules. And yes, impeaching a President up for reelection in less than a year is absurd and a total abuse of the process. Make your case to the voters and they can decide. You impeach second term Presidents where the voters don’t have any recourse.

      1. There is *always* a recourse, every four years.

      2. The Constitution says impeaching a President with “x” amount of days left in his term is an abuse of process?

        Or is that just you’re bullshit excuse of the day? Where will the goalposts be tomorrow? Please advise.

        1. You and John are both right in different senses. You are legally correct, of course, but I agree with John that the classier move and better governance by the Democrats would be to perhaps leave the matter at an investigation and censure, and let the voters decide next year.

          Realistically, my entire life has conditioned me to not expect class or good governance from Washington, D.C. Sigh.

          1. Realistically, my entire life has conditioned me to not expect class or good governance from Washington, D.C. Sigh.

            Perfectly said. I agree.

            1. The difference being that you, atlas, present commentary consistent with such a sentiment – while Mike’s advocacy indicates the exact opposite

  15. FYTW

    Next comes a republican inquiry into the merits of Trump’s request to investigate Biden.

    And then an acquittal because that is what republican voters want.

    I think Pelosi is smarter than that.

  16. I thought the best coherent defense were the Democrats’ star witnesses.


    It was all the Ukranians and Mexicans and CROWDSTRIKE and Benghazi and Vince Foster and Obama mind control apps. Fuck, man, there’s a lot to worry about here in these modern times.

    1. Izzis the same Rudy Giuliani who tried to help the Soviets murder Afghanis by trying to get Charlie Wilson in trouble for running Stinger missiles to the mujahideen while sniffing a little tootski off a nekkid girl’s ass? I believe Rudy called it an “ethical” investigation in 1986.

      1. Libertarians for drug prohibition

        1. You can be a libertarian for drug freedom and still criticize someone’s drug use.

          1. What the fuck does that have to do with what HANK WAS DOING cunt sock?

            1. Idiot chemike jeffaursen “hank wasnt engaging in shitty drug prohibitionist character assassination, he was worried about Rudy’s health”

              How fucking stupid ARE YOU

      2. “1986”

        OK boomer.

  18. Hey John…

    WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In what could be his most explosive allegation to date, Rudolph Giuliani claimed on Monday that he had “mountains of evidence” linking the Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden to former President Barack Obama.

    Appearing on “Fox & Friends,” a visibly excited Giuliani said that he had stored the evidence of the Biden-Obama ties in his office safe and was prepared to reveal it “at the proper time.”

    “This isn’t a case of the two men sharing an occasional phone call or meeting,” Giuliani charged. “For eight years, they were basically joined at the hip.”

    Fuuuccckkk, man!

    1. Stop making and distributing child pornography Screech.

  19. Biggest. Scandal. In. World. History.

    #TrumpUkraine is the tipping point. The walls are closing in. It’s the beginning of the end.


    1. Yeah, yeah—we know, Trumpian. Republicans are in a cult and they aren’t going to convict him. Still… it’s a lot of fun watching Dear Leader twist. That’s what the Trump presidency was always going to be good for… watching some douche charlatan slowly come apart. Shame about his recent trip to the hospital, hunh?

      1. Sure Jeff.

      2. You’re the kid fucker, right?

        1. Yup.

          1. Sir! You have me confused with Dear Leader! I’m going to sue you for 5 billion dollars for defamation. What’s your number?

            traveled by bus to New York City in June 1994 in the hope of starting a modeling career. I went to several modeling agencies but was told that I needed to put together a modeling portfolio before I would be considered. I then went to the Port Authority in New York City to start to make my way back home. There I met a woman who introduced herself to me as Tiffany. She told me about the parties and said that, if I would join her at the parties, I would be introduced to people who could get me into the modeling profession. Tiffany also told me I would be paid for attending.

            The parties were held at a New York City residence that was being used by Defendant Jeffrey Epstein. Each of the parties had other minor females and a number of guests of Mr. Epstein, including Defendant Donald Trump at four of the parties I attended. I understood that both Mr. Trump and Mr. Epstein knew I was 13 years old.

            Defendant Trump had sexual contact with me at four different parties in the summer of 1994. On the fourth and fnial sexual encounter with Defendant Trump, Defendant Trump tied me to a bed, exposed himself to me, and then proceeded to forcibly rape me. During the course of this savage sexual attack, I loudly pleaded with Defendant Trump to stop but he did not. Defendant Trump responded to my pleas by violently striking me in the face with his open hand and screaming that he would do whatever he wanted,

            Immediately following this rape, Defendant Trump threatened me that, were I ever to reveal any of the details of Defendant Trump’s sexual and physical abuse of me, my family and I wold be physically harmed if not killed.

            1. Right, but you got banned for posting kiddie porn. That’s what we were discussing.

      3. Reaching squirrel levels of incoherent rambling now.

      4. “Republicans are in a cult”

        You got that right. What else can you say about people who continue to support a President after photographic evidence proves he literally put kids in cages?

        Even without #TrumpUkraine, the concentration camp stuff would be enough to impeach. Then again I was calling for impeachment before Hillary Clinton gave her concession speech.


        1. Do you think a libertarian comment board is a good place to fetishize violence by the government. Can you make a joke without using the words Obama or Clinton?

          1. Can you possibly cry more?

            1. Its hilarious how much he hates OBL for dominating him

  20. The Capo di tutti capi may be the only republican not hated by average Americans. The rest got elected because the Dems seek to ban electricity with the same superstitious ferocity republicans appeal to in efforts to ban birth control. More people use electric power than are at risk for unwanted pregnancy. The last thing The Don needs is Gee-Oh-Pee defenders. Even when the shoe was on the other foot and an actual DNA test showed the desired guilty pleasures, impeaching Clinton was a flop. Investigating the Bidens, on the other hand…

  21. Maybe its just me, but Id think the best defense might just be.

    “Biden’s kid was taking the bribe, and Trump chose to look into it”.

    Seems like a solid defense to me.

  22. Meanwhile Schiff is signalling that even he may not vote to impeach.
    “Speaking on CNN, Schiff said he does need to consult with other lawmakers and his constituents before making a decision on impeachment.”
    Last week’s hearings were the Democrat’s last chance to move the needle of public opinion and they failed. In fact they’ve lost support according to most polls. The Republicans are gearing up for a trial in the senate and will call the “whistleblower”, Hunter Biden and Schiff to testify among others. It will be a political disaster for the Democrats and they know it. At this point I’m beginning to doubt the house will pass articles of impeachment. Deals will be made so red state reps can vote no while assholes like Schiff can vote yes but ultimately the the resolution will fail. Unless Pelosi is even more senile than she appears to be.

  23. This article seems a bit ridiculous. The relationship between Joe Biden and Ukraine was corrupt. Joe Biden used his political status and power to get his son on a board he had no qualifications for and which he was paid much more than he was worth; since Joe Biden’s son is of course a close relation to Joe Biden, and any money his son gets Joe Biden has indirect access to, Joe Biden was corrupt. Thus, the president had good reason to ask Ukraine to investigate. That Biden was a political rival is not relevant; uncovering his corruption would be good for America, not simply Trump. Are we to only allow investigations of corruption into politicians by their own party? And we should not acquire the support of other countries in which those corrupt politicians are practicing their corruption? That seems absurd to me. That would insulate politicians from corruption investigation that involve foreign countries. Is that what democrats want?

    All other “quid quo pro” stuff is hearsay conjecture from people who don’t like Trump. At least, from all that I have read and heard, thats what it appears to me. And it is clear from comments from the democratic party that they intended to impeach Trump before they even found evidence for an impeachment. That the evidence does not qualify as beyond reasonable doubt is therefore not surprising. What is surprising is how so many otherwise intelligent Americans view Trump guilty until proven innocent. When folks like me, who for months canvassed for Obama 10 years ago, find the current evidence pathetic, the democrats are going to have a hard PR time in 2020.

    1. “Joe Biden used his political status and power to get his son on a board”

      That is one possibility. Another possible scenario is that Burisma gave Hunter a seat on their board without any soliciting by Joe because Burisma thought it would be good to have the “Biden” name on their board, thought it might help protect them, etc.

      It’s still unethical, but neither Biden may have broken any laws.

      1. Nigga, no one cares what your obvious prog ass thinks about your boos. We’ve seen you run Co er for them for weeks now bitch.

      2. “neither Biden may have broken any laws”

        I don’t think MeisterPeeps ever said they did.

        1. Fine, instead of “neither Biden may have broken any laws”, I’ll rephrase it as “it’s possible Joe Biden didn’t actively solicit the position for his son”. I was making a presumption that Biden’s soliciting a position for his son is illegal, but I admit it’s a presumption.

      3. “”but neither Biden may have broken any laws.””

        But you need an investigation to determine that.

        Burisma does seem to have corruption issues. Hunter has a connection to Burisma. If company A was corrupt and Trump sat on the board, do you think people would want Trump investigated? Do you think some people would believe Trump is part of the corruption due to his connection?

        1. I’ve said many, many times I am fine with the Bidens and Burisma being investigated.

          1. If you think Trump benefiting is wrong, then you are making a case against it. If you believe Trump benefits from it, then it doesn’t matter who does it. He still benefits.

            1. No. Is the particular way that Trump pursued an investigation the only way it could have been approached?

              1. So your previous objections to Trump realizing personal benefit from an investigation were utter bullshit, as TrickyVic points out

      4. //Another possible scenario is that Burisma gave Hunter a seat on their board without any soliciting by Joe because Burisma thought it would be good to have the “Biden” name on their board, thought it might help protect them, etc.//

        This fucking clown denies corruption and then literally spells out the corruption as an “alternative” non-corrupt explanation.

        Who do you really think you are convincing?

        1. I didn’t say that the scenario I describe isn’t unethical or corrupt. I said it might not have happened in a way that broke any laws.

          1. //“Joe Biden used his political status and power to get his son on a board”

            That is one possibility. Another possible scenario is that Burisma gave Hunter a seat on their board without any soliciting by Joe because Burisma thought it would be good to have the “Biden” name on their board, thought it might help protect them, etc.//

            Both are the same thing.

            1. No. In the second scenario, Joe Biden isn’t an agent of causing anything to happen.

              1. Right. Biden never even knew.

                1. “Taking bribes is ok if you don’t directly ask for them!”

                  1. If Joe Biden didn’t solicit the position for his son, then he personally didn’t accept anything. At most you can say he condoned it, which is unethical but not illegal.

                    1. Says the guy who was going on and on about the emoluments clause last week

                2. OK, but if you can just magically know what happened without evidence please never complain about hearsay in the impeachment hearings, because you are making assumptions based on zero evidence.

                  1. Bank, email, and employment records don’t count?

      5. Dude, REALLY? WOW!! If you believe that you are blind as hell!!

        Joe Biden definitely gave the Ukraine a quid pro quo…

        1. I don’t believe anything. I don’t *know* how Hunter Biden got the position and neither do you. All I said is that there are possible ways it went down without Joe soliciting anything nor breaking any laws.

      6. “It’s still unethical, but neither Biden may have broken any laws.”

        As others have pointed out, whether the Bidens to our current knowledge broke any laws is not relevant to my point. That the relationship between Hunter and Burisma was “unethical”, as you put it(synonymous with corrupt in this situation), is sufficient grounds for investigation. My greater hypothesis that it was a conscious effort by Joe Biden is not relevant to whether Trump has reasonable justification to request support for an investigation. We should have no tolerance for political corruption. The Democrats currently involved in the impeachment inquiry seem to strongly agree with that sentiment when the corruption is not in their own party. The same applies to the author of this article — he is very concerned about the possible corruption of Trump, but has no concern about the corruption that Trump was apparently trying to bring to light.

  24. “Republicans Struggle To Find a Coherent Defense During Trump Impeachment Hearings”

    Perhaps because the “offense” is also pretty incoherent?

  25. When did Reason become a bad version of MSNBC?

    1. Right about three years ago.

    2. Seriously. If this is what “Libertarian” means now, I may just change my affiliation to Independent. I don’t want to be “Democrat-Lite”.

  26. I can’t stand and did not vote for a single one of the monkeys flinging this shit at one another.

    But from politicians it’s to be expected. The biggest disappointment over the last year or so has to be these completely inane Reason OMB pieces. Talk about unhinged. Christ.

    1. Who did you vote for?

      1. Stop posting kiddie porn.

  27. The new argument seems to be Trump’s personal lawyer, half his cabinet, and appointed diplomats all came up and demanded the quid pro quo on their own, and Trump’s “I want nothing”, said after the complaint became known, is all that matters. Pathetic.

    1. We have the transcript.

    2. So why aren’t you impeaching them?

  28. Back when the whole Ukraine thing first came into the news, my father asked me what the whole thing is about. I said:

    “They say Trump held up some foreign aid to Ukraine in order to try to get them to investigate Joe Biden’s son, in hopes of hurting Biden’s candidacy.”

    The response I got was, “And? What’s the rest?”

    This is the Democrats’ core problem. The portion of the country that voted for Hillary Clinton has managed to convince itself that politically-motivated pressure for an investigation is an acceptable excuse to remove Trump. And everybody else thinks a politician using their influence to push an investigation for political reasons is roughly as unusual as a politician asking for campaign donations, and thus obviously only an excuse, not a reason, to remove Trump.

    1. Unless you can name a few politicians … who used taxpayer dollars to extort the ANNOUNCEMENT of an investigation of a direct partisan rival … then you’re full of shit, on your own (lack of) evidence.

      Plus, you’re also wrong on what investigation(s) Trump tried to extort.

      1. Yeah, see, that’s exactly your problem, illustrated once again. You’re pushing at sideshows like “taxpayer dollars” and “announcement”. It’s just like the Republicans twenty years ago pointing at “under oath in a federal case” while the rest of the country figured any politician would lie about having an affair.

        Which is why impeachment hasn’t polled statistically significantly above Hillary Clinton’s popular vote percentage; the only people who are convinced are the people who opposed Trump from day one. Saying “extort” over and over and pointing to the definitions of the law will do you exactly as much good as saying “perjury” over and over and pointing to the definitions of the law did Republicans two decades ago.

        Abstractly, your argument has legal merit; so did the Republican one twenty years ago. And unless you’ve got a better tactic than leaning on the legal merits, you’ve already lost.

        1. This is pretty much sums it up.

      2. I can’t see this being a winning political position with anyone other than people that already hate Trump.

        1. I checked the Constitution…and STILL can’t find “because I hate him” in the list of valid reasons to impeach the President.

      3. How about holding up tax dollars earmarked for aide unless you fire the prosecutor, “Well Son of a bitch, he got fired” ~ Joe Biden!

        Give me a break people!

        Biden coerced the Ukraine into dropping an investigation into his sons company by threatening to withhold aide!

        Trump wanted them to root out corruption in order to receive the aide (which they received ON TIME BTW) but lets not let FACTS get in the way of a juicy political story designed to take down the President of the United States, all because these hacks don’t like him!

  29. You have to work and use the computer and internet, and if you can do that and dedicate some time each day then you can do this with no problem.
    I have been working with this for a month and have made over $2,000 already. let me know if you need more help.

    ………….ReaD MorE

  30. There’s a reason why impeachment is starting to lose favor among independents (the two extremes are already entrenched in their opinion).

    Clinton had a consenting affair with Lewinsky, but it was a violation of ethics, not unlike Katie Hill’s “Throuple”. He was in a position of power and had an illicit relationship with a direct subordinate. It could have led to an abuse of power. The enemies of the state could have tried to get to Lewinsky. I don’t think Clinton should have been removed, but there was probably some grounds for impeachment inquiry there.

    Is that what happened between Trump and Ukraine? Most Americans understand that we “nudge” weaker nations to do our bidding in exchange for aid or something. That’s bad foreign policy, but not necessarily impeachable conduct. A temporary hold on aid is not unheard of.

    With Ukraine side not confirming pressure, the democrats had to prove that Trump was solely interested in using the aid to obtain information that would help his election chances. They’re not able to do this at the moment, and the GOP in the senate have no incentive to vote for removal when most impeachment witnesses are only offering their personal take on the issue.

    Most fair minded Americans will not see the impeachment as the right way to handle Trump’s mistakes. The election is only a year away, where the voters can remove Trump for his mistakes. In the era of #Metoo, cancel culture and tech / social media giants bullying users and content providers, enough people will be turned off by the establishment acting unilaterally in the name of public good.

    1. Is that what happened between Trump and Ukraine? Most Americans understand that we “nudge” weaker nations to do our bidding in exchange for aid or something

      Not for partisan gain. So give examples, or this is just pathetic whining.

      This is the same President, a PROVEN LIAR to defend mass assaults and murder, initiated by the scum of the earth, neo-nazis and white nationalists. And you defend THAT!

      1. Shut the fuck up, worthless sock.

    2. Bill Clinton’s Article of Impeachment include Perjury (twice), Obstruction, and Abuse of Power.

      Impeachment Articles of William Jefferson Clinton

    3. He will be removed by the election and not a Senate trial, but he has to be impeached, or else no president deserves impeachment. Just because he advertises his corruption on live TV doesn’t make it not corruption. Plus we get to put Sen. Collins on the spot.

    4. And let’s be clear, what Trump wanted was information on how the 2016 election was effected because he KNOWS that the DNC and Hillary were behind trying to rig the election in her favor!

      This is all about the Dems trying to stop Trump from exposing them! Not to expose Trump for doing something wrong!

      All you have to do is look at the evidence!

  31. The esteemed Republican icon, Peggy Noonan, who wrote Reagan’s most memorable speeches, now writes a regular column at the Wall Street Journal.

    Her columns are behind a pay wall but her latest was excerpted at Fox, Peggy Noonan: On impeachment, Trump’s defenders have no defense

    What was said consistently undermined Mr. Trump’s case, but more deadly was what has never been said. In the two months since Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry was under way and the two weeks since the Intelligence Committee’s public hearings began, no one, even in the White House, has said anything like, “He wouldn’t do that!” or “That would be so unlike him.” His best friends know he would do it and it’s exactly like him.


    Or … just scan this page for what the Trumptards are doing. Screeching, yelling, verbal assaults and just plain bullshit … just like Trump … and for the same reason!

    1. And since none of you’re friends have ever said “no, he doesn’t lick his fingers after he poops”..

      I guess you do.

      1. I’ve heard it’s true.

    2. Peggy Noonan has been a Deep State hack since Reagan left office. She writes great speeches but she is no Conservative! She was a pen for hire, that’s all.

      The Deep State, on both sides of the aisle are quaking in their boots about Trump! He does not play by their rules and they don’t like that!

      The “Career Diplomats” believe they should run foreign policy, not the President! It showed up all over the testimony last week!

      My God, somebody shed the light strong enough on these pieces of treasonous shit bags long enough to expose their true intent!

  32. Thanks for your breakdown of how you see the impeachment inquiry, Mr. Random Princeton guy.

    Why should I care what this guy thinks?

  33. It isn’t clear how Vindman’s wardrobe should affect our evaluation of his testimony.

    No? So if he dressed as a clown or a gay leather bar patron, that wouldn’t alter your perception of him or his testimony?

    1. “It isn’t clear how Vindman’s wardrobe should affect our evaluation of his testimony.”

      Which is exactly why the Rep Stewart asked why Vindman went out of his way to drag his uniform out of the mothballs. He could have given the same testimony in his normal work clothes.

    2. When did the uniforms of the United States military become offensive to Republicans?

      1. Apparently, allowing the Navy to convene a board to review the conduct of one of its own SEALs is a matter the Commander-in-Chief feels it is important to intervene in. And our Commander-in-Chief feels it is proper to give orders to the heads of the military via tweet.

        1. “”And our Commander-in-Chief feels it is proper to give orders to the heads of the military via tweet.””

          How do you there isn’t some official order? I doubt the Navy would abide by a simple tweet. Although I don’t think anything in UCMJ prevents orders via tweet.

          1. I am wrong. There was some kind of official order, in September. The tweet came later.

        2. REGARDLESS of the method of his order, he IS STILL the Commander-In-Chief and is in charge of our Military REGARDLESS of what ANYONE thinks of his methods!

          1. Yes, but not letting the commanders of the navy handle discipline themselves is terrible leadership. Tweeting about your own military chain of command is also terrible leadership.

            1. You have terrible judgement and values, so your opinion of leadership is less than worthless.
              The CinC put subordinates trying to insult and undermine his command in their place

      2. Is Vindman active duty?

        If I was called to answer something in front of Congress, I would not break out my dress blues just for the purpose of testifying.

        1. You are typing some words, but the words I read are “Fuck that guy for giving bad optics to skeevy Republican Trump apologists.”

          1. Vindman is a TRAITOR! He is at the employ of the President of the United States, sworn to dispense his duties as the PRESIDENT sees fit! NOT to inject his opinion or to go about his own agenda!

            What he said to the Ukrainian President was TREASONOUS, PERIOD!

            1. His highest duty is to the nation, not the President.

              1. Which is why his behavior is treasonous.

        2. I guess it would depend.

          If I had faithfully served my country (as I did) and lived the true american dream of coming as an immigrant, working hard, and serving the US military, only to be called a POS, unloyal, liar by a tribe of zealots who have chosen to believe anything that comes out of the fat mouth of a guy who spits out 20+ lies per day; oh and then get slandered by their propaganda network and receive threats…

          Ya then I would wear my fucking dress blues to remind everyone I served my country in a way that most of those fuckers bitching about have never done.

          1. This isn’t a confessional

        3. He is active duty. It’s a bit hard to find that information because a lot of articles refer to him as a veteran, but apparently they mean combat veteran.

          Some articles I’ve read say it is a norm to wear a uniform to trials when on active duty. I have no idea.

  34. It is amazing how two people can hear the same thing and come up with two different conclusions depending on what they “want to hear”…

    Sondland, after being asked if the President ever asked for a “quid pro quo”, “No, that was my presumption”…

    The issue is that what we have is people who read a headline posted by CNN that says Sondland states there was a quid pro quo, yet, when asked specifically if there was on asked for or demanded by the President, Sondland had to admit that there wasn’t one! The president said: “I want nothing from Ukraine, Nothing”.

    But damn the facts! The Democrats want it to be and since they are running the hearings and not allowing the Republicans to bring 8 witnesses that have 1st hand evidence that is contrary to the hearsay the Democrats presented. But, hey, who needs facts! Obviously not the Democrats!

  35. Nothing to defend. The USA and Ukraine have an agreement for joint cooperation on criminal investigations. Trump requested Ukraine to investigate two areas of possible criminal behavior: Crowdstrikes role in examining the DNC server and Burisma’s dealings with Hunter and Joe Biden. I do not see a problem if he withholds aid to obtain cooperation although I do not see evidence that the aid was actually withheld. Trump has provided aid to Ukraine for military purposes. Obama refused to provide military aid. Ukraine received the aid with a small delay. Asking a foreign country for help in a legitimate criminal investigation is not improper. The Bidens are not exempt from an investigation. The idea that an announcement from Ukraine about an investigation is meddling in an election is laughable. This announcement would have zero impact on voters unless the investigation uncovers criminal behavior. Trump has not asked Ukraine to compile a dirty dossier and then clandestinely use the dossier to spy on Democrat candidates.

    Democrats do not want their dirty behavior exposed. The impeachment inquiry is an attempt to play offense to blunt any dirt uncovered in an investigation.

    1. AGREED!

    2. ”This announcement would have zero impact on voters unless the investigation uncovers criminal behavior.”

      You can’t know that.

  36. Three points:

    – Sondland said there was a quid pro quo for Zelensky to get a White House meeting that he made no presumptions about. He did presume there was a similar quid pro quo for the aid.

    – Witnesses who could clarify whether presumptions about a quid pro quo were valid have refused to testify in the hearings.

    – Trump made the “I want nothing” statement after the Ukraine story broke. He said it the same day the House impeachment hearings started.

    1. Sigh. That was supposed to be a response to It is amazing how two people can hear the same thing“ comment above.

  37. Haha, someone has TDS. It’s hard to read this stuff, can’t you change the name to Unreasonable?

  38. The Republicans are struggling to find a coherent defense?
    1. The Constitution and treaties are the Supreme Law of the Land.
    2. The president is constitutionally mandated to ensure the laws are faithfully executed.
    3. We have a treaty with Ukraine entitled “Treaty between the United States and Ukraine on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.”
    4. The president, under his constitutional mandate, is required to see that Ukraine adheres to the terms of the treaty.
    5. An American citizen is suspected of and alleged to have committed a crime on foreign soil.
    6. The president has the power to elicit the investigative assistance of the leader of the country in which the crime was committed.
    7. The president may assure adherence to treaties through positive or negative reinforcement. That is part of his job.
    8. Using positive or negative reinforcement is NOT bribery.
    9. Per 1 thru 8 the president was merely doing his constitutionally mandated duty and committed no crime — let alone an impeachable offense.

  39. My question is, and has been, when is someone, ANYONE, going to be charged with seditious conspiracy pursuant to 18 USC 2384? It is and has been a conspiracy.
    ET AL

  40. How to respond: Well, wouldn’t you rather have a lying crook rather than a socialist or socialist-lite?

    1. Didn’t know you considered Mike Pence a socialist.

  41. “You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it’s going to rise tomorrow. When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths, or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it’s always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.” ~ Robert M. Pirsig
    Fade to GOP v. Democrats: one side is clearly, fiercely, dedicated to the belief that Trump Is Bad(tm) while the other side is like, “Whatever, prove it”. As the failed Mueller investigation, unconvincing impeachment hearings, and all the arm-flapping TDS commentary in here so aptly illustrate, the fanatics are far from achieving “sun will rise” levels of confidence. *for you TDS’ers: DOGMATIC means asserting or insisting upon ideas or principles, especially when unproven or unexamined, in an imperious or arrogant manner.

  42. The funniest of these attempted defenses is the one where they say that the investigation never happened, Trump released the funds, blah, blah, blah.

    Yeah, the Shoe Bomber never actually blew up the plane either, so you are tacitly advocating for his release and overturning of his sentence.

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