Impeachment

The Senate Can (but Probably Won't) Fill the Gaps in the Case for a Ukraine Quid Pro Quo

Senators who take their constitutional responsibilities seriously would seek more evidence about Trump's motive for the aid freeze.

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Donald Trump's lawyers argue that the Senate should insist on proof beyond a reasonable doubt in deciding whether to convict him of the charges described in the articles of impeachment. If so, his acquittal is not only inevitable for strictly political reasons but justified by an honest assessment of the existing evidence. It is not at all clear, however, that the standard of proof used in a criminal trial is appropriate in this context.

The Senate is not deciding whether Trump has violated a criminal statute, and the consequences of convicting him do not include a loss of liberty. In the extremely unlikely event that 67 senators vote to convict the president, he will not go to prison. He will simply lose his job and will not be allowed to reapply for it (or any other federal "office of honor, trust or profit"). Furthermore, that job will be taken over by his hand-picked successor, Vice President Mike Pence.

The appropriate standard of proof also depends on the consequences of allowing a president who is guilty of impeachable offenses to remain in office. While a murderer who is acquitted might kill again (although probably not, judging from recidivism rates), a president as corrupt as the House managers portray Trump to be is in a position to do a lot more damage. Weighing the risk to the nation against the risk to Trump suggests that something short of proof beyond a reasonable doubt—clear and convincing evidence, perhaps—should suffice to convict him.

The strongest argument for acquitting Trump is not the dubious claim that "high crimes and misdemeanors" are limited to indictable offenses. Nor is it that Trump "did nothing wrong," because his behavior vis-à-vis Ukraine was "perfectly appropriate," as his lawyers maintain. The strongest argument is that the most serious charge against Trump—that he pressured the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation of a political rival by delaying congressionally approved military aid—has not been adequately proven.

The case for that quid pro quo relies mostly on circumstantial evidence and inferences. To my mind, the circumstantial evidence is strong, and the inferences are reasonable. But as the record stands, a senator who takes his constitutional responsibilities seriously could reasonably decide that it falls short of clear and convincing evidence (assuming that is the appropriate standard). At the same time, such a senator certainly should be interested in hearing witnesses and seeing documents that might clarify Trump's motives in ordering a freeze on the military assistance—witnesses and documents that the president so far has managed to keep under wraps.

Trump's lawyers say he delayed the aid because he wanted to make sure that Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy was serious about fighting corruption and because he thought other Western countries were not doing enough to help Ukraine. But these seem like post-hoc rationalizations for a decision that puzzled and alarmed administration officials, several of whom testified that they never heard an official explanation for it, let alone one that was both credible and legitimate.

The lack of an alternative explanation led officials such as Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, to conclude that Trump held up the aid as part of his effort to instigate Ukrainian investigations that would benefit him politically. Sondland testified that he told a senior Ukrainian official the aid was contingent on the investigations. Trump lifted the aid block, which the Government Accountability Office recently deemed a violation of the Impoundment Control Act, only after his July 25 telephone conversation with Zelenskiy, during which he asked the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, prompted a whistleblower complaint and a congressional inquiry.

Trump's lawyers say that phone call, which is perhaps the most incriminating piece of evidence against him, actually vindicates him by showing that he was sincerely concerned about official corruption in Ukraine. But Trump never explicitly broached that subject during the call (or during his first telephone conversation with Zelenskiy on April 21), and his lawyers' interpretation hinges on reading his interest in an investigation of Biden as an indication of a general concern about corruption. Similarly, they present his very specific interest in a bizarre conspiracy theory that blames Ukraine for stealing emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2016 and framing Russia for that crime as evidence of his high-minded motives.

Trump asked Zelenskiy to look into those matters immediately after Zelenskiy expressed his gratitude for U.S. military support. "I would like you to do us a favor, though," Trump said before describing the investigations he wanted. Trump's lawyers think the president's critics are reading too much into that suspicious juxtaposition. "The President was clearly transitioning to a new subject," they say.

Trump's trial memorandum also suggests that his private denials of a quid pro quo prove there was none. Yet both of the conversations highlighted by Trump's lawyers came after the whistleblower complaint alleging that Trump was encouraging the Ukrainian government to meddle in domestic U.S. politics.

During an August 31 phone call, Sen. Ron Johnson (R–Wis.) says, he directly asked Trump if the release of the military aid was conditioned on the "favor" he wanted from Zelenskiy: probes of alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 presidential election and Biden's alleged attempt to stop an investigation of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that employed his son as a board member. According to Johnson, Trump replied, "No way. I would never do that. Who told you that?" Johnson told Trump he had heard of the arrangement from Sondland, who was intimately involved, along with Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, in efforts to secure a public announcement of those investigations from Zelenskiy.

The second denial of a quid pro quo happened during a September 7 conversation between Sondland and Trump. When Sondland asked Trump what he wanted from Zelenskiy, Sondland later testified, Trump said something to this effect: "I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelenskiy to do the right thing." The "right thing," according to Trump himself, was "a major investigation into the Bidens."

By the time he denied a quid pro quo to Johnson and Sondland, Trump apparently was already aware of the whistleblower's allegations. Last November The New York Times reported, based on the accounts of "two people familiar with the matter," that "lawyers from the White House counsel's office told Mr. Trump in late August about the complaint." Given the timing, the denials cited by Trump's lawyers seem more like rehearsals for his public defense than candid accounts of his motives.

Trump's lawyers also emphasize that Zelenskiy has repeatedly denied a quid pro quo, saying he did not feel pressured to undertake the investigations sought by Trump (although he did object to the aid freeze itself). Given Ukraine's dependence on U.S. assistance and Trump's goodwill, those denials are both understandable and highly implausible.

In any case, Trump's lawyers say, Zelenskiy was not aware of the aid freeze until it was reported in Politico on August 28. If Zelenskiy did not know that Trump was withholding this desperately desired assistance, they say, the "pause" could not have figured into his willingness to do as Trump asked. Yet administration officials testified that Ukrainian diplomats were already inquiring about the aid on the day of the July 25 call. Olena Zerkal, a former Ukrainian deputy foreign minister, has said she was aware of the freeze by July 30, thanks to a cable sent by Ukrainian officials in Washington, D.C., the previous week. That cable, she said, was "simultaneously" sent to Zelenskiy's office.

Be that as it may, Trump's lawyers say, the president lifted the freeze without obtaining the commitment he sought. But Trump made that decision amid congressional pressure and an already public controversy over the propriety of his interactions with the Ukrainian government. Furthermore, the House managers note, Zelenskiy had actually agreed to announce the investigations Trump wanted and planned to do so during a CNN interview that he canceled after Trump lifted the freeze on September 11.

Giuliani, who presented himself to the Ukrainian government as Trump's "personal counsel" acting with the president's "knowledge and consent," has said the investigations of Biden and supposed Ukrainian meddling in the presidential election promised to uncover "information [that] will be very, very helpful to my client." Last May he told The New York Times there was "nothing illegal" about his lobbying, since "this isn't foreign policy," although "somebody could say it's improper." Giuliani, who was avowedly seeking information that would be personally helpful to Trump, was at the center of the administration's efforts to obtain the "favor" that the president wanted. Trump asked Zelenskiy to confer with Giuliani about the investigations.

At an October 17 press briefing, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Trump wanted "a statement by the Ukraine about how they were going to deal with corruption" before releasing the aid. He said "the money held up had absolutely nothing to do with Biden," but "the corruption related to the DNC server"—i.e., the fantastical notion that the server from which the DNC's emails had been stolen was stashed away somewhere in Ukraine—"absolutely" did figure into the aid delay. "No question about that," Mulvaney said. "But that's it. And that's why we held up the money."

While these facts are pretty damning, open-minded senators (assuming any exist) would be interested in further exploring Trump's motives by examining relevant documents and hearing from officials (such as Mulvaney and former National Security Adviser John Bolton) who directly interacted with the president before, during, and after the aid freeze. Maybe the inferences that Sondland and other underlings drew about Trump's reason for blocking the money were mistaken. Maybe Trump's after-the-fact explanations, however implausible they might seem, are true. But unless several Republican senators side with Democrats in seeking additional evidence, those crucial questions will remain unanswered during Trump's trial.

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  1. “”The Senate Can (but Probably Won’t) Fill the Gaps in the Case for a Ukraine Quid Pro Quo””

    Uh, not the jury’s job. If the prosecutions case needs the jurors to fill in the gaps, they don’t have a case worthy of a trial.

    1. Besides, I hear the House has a slam dunk case.

      1. The walls are closing in.

    2. The Senate is not merely the “jury” in this case.

      If you must shoehorn it into analogies to a criminal trial, yes the Senate is the jury but they are also the judge (the Chief Justice presides but he doesn’t set any of the rules), the court of appeals (since for example they get to pick what evidentiary standards they will use), the district attorney, associate counsel for the prosecution, associate counsel for the defense, the bailiff and pretty much everything else.

      1. Which changes exactly nothing, since the “judge” wouldn’t be doing any investigation either.

        Seriously, your legal analysis sucks. Stop already.

        1. “Although at least one senator has suggested that the Senate has no duty to go beyond testimony obtained by the House, that has happened on multiple occasions. The Senate heard from seven witnesses at Walter Nixon’s trial who had not testified before the House; three at Clinton’s trial who also had not testified before the House; and 17 at Porteous’s trial who had not testified before the House.”

          Kindly fuck off.

    3. Jurors also don’t get to vote on introduction of evidence, issuance of subpoenas, or hours of court operation, you bigoted, half-educated rube.

      1. Hey look, the one trick pony is copying Rossami’s work.

        I noticed you didn’t mention gather evidence.

        1. RAK didn’t mention gathering evidence but I did. Or at least implied it, I hope. As the equivalent of associate counsel for both sides, they certainly have the right to gather evidence if they want.

          1. I guess it just seems odd to me that they can gather evidence after charges have been levied. It seems the opposite of how justice should work. Not talking about criminal justice per se.

            But then again, it’s a political process. And that cuts both ways.

            1. The case is slam dunk which means Republicans should have already at least demanded Trump drop out of the 2020 race. That said after Trump had his 5th Benghazi type event happen on his watch when 3 Americans were killed by Al Qaida in Kenya I would think Republicans would want President Pence right now.

              1. That’s a call for the American people, not Washington politicians.

              2. “”The case is slam dunk “”

                Cool. No more witnesses needed. Let’s go right to the vote.

      2. Tell that to the house then fucktard

      3. Yes, Kirkland, the Senate has more powers, but they aren’t going to exercise them here because the House case is so weak.

      4. Senate Impeachment: Senators are judge and jury. And can do everything you said.

    4. “…evidence about Trump’s motive,,,”

      Which could only come from Trump. Everything else being not evidence.

      Sullem, there is no pony in that pile of shit, so you might want toi get out.

  2. Sullum you ignorant ass–there are no gaps in the case for a Ukraine quid pro quo.

    We have Biden on film bragging about how he first threatened Ukraine and then, after they’d capitulated, bragging about how he’d released the funds that had been voted to them.

    There’s nothing to be ‘filled in’ here.

    Moron.

    1. Open wider, Azathoth!!

      Guys like me are going to enjoy shoving even more liberal-libertarian progress down your throat.

      Thank you for your obsequious compliance with the preferences of your betters, as always.

      1. Lol I love how uspet you are knowing you’ve got no hope of winning this lololol

      2. Artie, you ignorant bumpkin–you know you’re not allowed to talk to people from REAL places.

        Now scuttle back to your trailer park, the methbilly whose dick you suck to get access to the old cardboard box you think is a ‘computer’ has a date with your dadsister and doesn’t have any more time for you.

        1. Why the knee-jerk insult about trailer park people? It’s way way worse to live in some DC condo downing boutique beer and rooting for the Nats, or to live in overpriced San Francisco digs sipping prosecco and mocking all the people who live in the square states.

          1. Smug is not a good look, doncha know. And living surrounded by smug assholes is soul-killing.

          2. Artie’s obsessed with the superiority of city dwellers, referring to everyone who’s not an enlightened metropolitan intellectual (supposedly like him) as a ‘bumpkin’ a ‘redneck, a ‘clinger’

            He longs to be those who he idolizes and is incensed that everyone doesn’t fall on their knees and do whatever they say.

            Because Artie’s the actual bumpkin. He’s a piece of trailer trash that oozed out of some methbillie’s cloaca who thinks he got hisself some book learning so he’s better than everyone now–especially the people he sees all around him, every day.

            And you’re kinda right–suggesting that Artie’s trailer trash is a pretty bad insult TO actual trailer trash. Artie ASPIRES to having a trailer he can pretend is a loft in the village. Right now he lives in a septic overflow in a structure made of discarded adult diapers and female condom scrapings.

            I’d like to say that it’s horrific, but it keeps the rain off. But I can’t. Because it doesn’t. Because Artie knows fuck-all about anything. Artie can’t wipe his ass without forgetting halfway and thinking he dipped his hand in puddin’.

            Got me?

            Good.

      3. You seem to have this weird, kinky, oral sexual obsession with people paying taxes.

        Is there even porn for that?

        1. Yes.

        2. There’s always lien for me everything anymore.

        3. Rule 34: If it exists, there is porn of it

      4. “Guys like me are going to enjoy shoving even more liberal-libertarian progress down your throat.”

        And guys like me are pleased to remind you that you and that hag lost, asshole bigot.

      5. Haha. Give up the parody, rev. Your orange guy is gonna win easily. He doesn’t need you to exaggerate the true ugliness of authoritarian prog hostility on a libertarian site to sway voters, you Russian asset. They are doing a fine job of that without you.

        Or, at least get a sense of humor like OBL.

      6. Well thanks then, if Liberal-Liberatarian progress is 4 more years of Trump then keep it coming. Because it never would have happened without you, we never could have got Trump on our own.

      7. There’s no such thing as liberal-libertarian progress. There’s is left wing governmental control (“Progress”) and there is libertarian limited government. The two are mutually exclusive ethoi.

      8. Kirkland, your attempt at satire is feeble. Try harder next time.

      1. Don’t you see? Hunter is the naive victim!

    2. Sullum: But these seem like post-hoc rationalizations for a decision that puzzled and alarmed administration officials, several of whom testified that they never heard an official explanation for it, let alone one that was both credible and legitimate.

      Note to Sullum: The President determines foreign policy, not Obama-holdover bureaucrats.

  3. If it wasn’t ready, why’d they send it?

    1. To get Trump removed.

      If the GOP Senators would only just cooperate with this coup we can all keep it a big secret.

  4. Jury nullification for the, um, win.

    1. Awesome. “Via a technique few Americans had ever heard of — but which is now famous and certain to be increasing used by ordinary jurors — ….”

  5. How does Sullumn know the evidence is there to be found? To say that he does is to assume that Trump is guilty. And how does Sullumn know that without the evidence?

    He doesn’t. Sullumn is just a lying sack of shit hack. And this article is him whining and complaining about the fact that they can’t prove Trump to be guilty and making excuses for the lack of evidence.

    Go fuck yourself Sullumn. You are never getting a job in the legacy media. So you whored out whatever integrity you had for nothing.

    1. Losing the culture war has made you cranky, John.

      Which is as it should be. Bigots don’t win in America, not over time.

      1. The world and the country kiss my ass every day. There are joys and opportunities that come with having a high IQ or even a normal IQ and an education that you having a low IQ and no education will never understand. I might as well live on a different planet from someone like you. It is a moral failing on my part that I don’t feel more sorry for people in your position than I do.

        1. It is a moral failing on my part that I don’t feel more sorry for people in your position than I do.

          Saving this for the next time I’m asked about my biggest weakness.

          1. Since most of the people in that position stay there because of a) their own choices and b) their refusal to either listen to the advice of or follow the example of people better off than themselves, I don’t think it’s a moral sin at all to feel little or no pity for them.

            Perpetual victimhood is a self-inflicted problem. Best thing for them is to let the world beat it out of them.

          2. Not as likely to impress the interviewer as much as the old ‘perfectionism’ flaw.

            Though now, I do feel sorry for people who have to interview applicants all day.

        2. By all means, go live on a different planet. Those of us who care about Oaths, truth, and facts won’t even notice that you’re gone.

          Neither will your family, nor anyone else. You are an inconsequential speck of stupidity, whose presence on this planet is only marginally tolerated.

          1. You mean like the oaths that HRC took when she signed on as SecState and agreed, in writing, to not conduct government business on personal computers and devices and then totally violated (Note that despite his statements in support of her, Colin Powell (early onset dementia) did not sign any such agreement and did not violate policy because email was in its infancy at the time and there was no State Department system to violate.)?

            Or how about her massive obstruction of justice when she erased her illegal server and then bleach bitted it after it was subject to subpoena?

            How about when Barry set up his presidential kill list? I think he swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. Broke that fucker for damn sure. Or when he refused to honor subpoenas in the Fast and Furious case (which still haven’t been honored).

            1. It’s funny that you think I’m a fan of Clinton, or Obama. Or that you think they’re somehow still in Government service.

        3. Just one more thing to feel guilty about, I guess.

        4. I consider it a moral failing on my part that I don’t work harder to advocate the extermination of committed marxists like Arty.

        5. It is a moral failing on my part that I don’t feel more sorry for people in your position than I do.

          John, I choked on my coffee reading that. I am going to borrow this comment and use it shamelessly. But I promise to give you attribution.

      2. He’s cranky? You’re the one running around screeching at people because you know this is hopeless lolololol

        Cry more!

        1. We should just ignore him. But he is so pathetic it is hard to resist the temptation to screw with him.

          1. Agreed, I think his slow descent into madness has been fabulous to watch.

            1. His shtick hasn’t changed since at least 10 years ago on volokh.com

              1. Oh no, you need to look closer. He’s clearly deteriorated quite a bit since then.

                1. Oh. Great news then.

          2. He’s the sort of asshole that one just has to give a shove to push down the stairs. Just for the physical comedy of it.

    2. notice he seems to equate circumstantial evidence is strong as being guilty but circumstance which is not evidence and i would disagree with it even being circumstantial in the first place let alone contrived by the left in its entirety by the left and the deep state

    3. And how does Sullumn know that without the evidence?

      He didn’t claim he did.

      Which is why he was arguing for hearing more evidence, which would presumable either exonerate or condemn President Trump.

      1. Do you honestly believe there could possibly be evidence that would get the Democrats to stop all this and admit they were wrong?

        1. No, because all the current evidence indicates that they are exactly correct in their characterization of Trump’s corruption.

          The only reason you dipshits don’t want any more evidence or witnesses is because you know it would just dig the hole deeper for Trumptards and your amazing ability to ignore corruption, provided that it’s the right political party at fault.

          I despise the concept of political parties, but I greatly look forward to having a Democrat back in the Presidency and shoving their dick right down your fucking throats with blatant corruption, which YOU will have set the precedent of being perfectly acceptable.

          Trumpers will get what they deserve, and their tears will be legendary.

          1. Lol. God some of you are fucking dumb.

            1. The site needs a better class of troll. I was going to quote the cretin, but figured, what’s the point?

              Where do these clowns come from? Did reason link this post over at DU or something?

              1. Just the leftist hivemind.
                They all say the the same thing in the same way.
                It’s kinda funny to watch when new talking points get pushed out, but the lower level filler that’s always there just gets boring

                1. I look forward to election night when Trump wins again, and hopefully is accompanied by a flip in the House. Their agony will be truly exquisite.

                  I can only pray that the cops shoot into the crowd repeatedly when the orogtards rage and riot.

            2. Amusing how you can’t refute a fucking word anyone says against Trump, aside from the expected insults.

              Too dumb to kill yourself, and too dumb to contribute to society. Tough situation you find yourself in.

              1. No need to refute the tantrum of a crying imbecile, just to point and laugh

                1. A convenient, yet fallacious excuse.

                  You can’t refute the evidence presented against Trump. You’re a whiny bitch who’s ok with injuring our Republic as long as it serves your cult leader.

              2. When you kill your wife and dog in a fit of pique over Trump bring re-elected, don’t forget to blame the NRA, you waste of carbon molecules.

              3. You can go to hell

          2. Hey now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves! The tears of the current out party are pretty damn funny right now! Haha.

          3. Jason Cavanaugh, we already had that with the last demoncrap president.
            That’s why Trump was elected.
            The American people hate what the demoncraps do, except for you communists and those who whore themselves for the freebies.

          4. where do you come up with such stupidity?

    4. I’m new around here, but it seems to me that every article written re: Trump/impeachment presupposes his guilt.

      Wtf is going on here? I thought Libertarians emphasized the primacy of the individual. Siding with the lunatic fringe and statists won’t accomplish that.

      1. What’s going on is that Reason has been taken over by left-wingers, which means that it’s only Libertarian to the degree that being Libertarian doesn’t get in the way of left-wing priorities.

        1. That’s a shame. They’ll live to regret it when they become first in line for the purge or fifth column.

          1. ” Reason has been taken over by left-wingers,”

            Pretty much this. their idea of libertarianism is government granting you permission to do the things they favor.

    5. Well, yes, he’s just assuming Trump is guilty.

      “The strongest argument is that the most serious charge against Trump—that he pressured the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation of a political rival by delaying congressionally approved military aid—has not been adequately proven.”

      Sullum is skipping a couple of steps here.

      The first problem here is that it isn’t categorically improper to pressure a foreign government to investigate a potential opponent’s son, if in fact the investigation is reasonably justified by the facts. Being related to a political candidate doesn’t render you immune to investigation, and being investigated while being related to a candidate doesn’t mean you’re being investigated because you’re related to a candidate.

      Note that the investigation requested would have been of Hunter, and Hunter isn’t running for squat. Why did Sullum need to falsify that aspect of the case?

      The second is that “delaying” military aid for extraneous reasons happens all the time, and only becomes problematic if the aid is delayed past a statutory deadline. And Sullum is undoubtedly aware of that.

      1. “ Sullum is skipping a couple of steps here.”

        Yea, like completely misunderstanding the nature of this process, aka, Kabuki dance. It’s got nothing to do with proving this crime or that, or the chimera of an abuse of power by Trump.

        Please.

        It is simply about power and control being regained and solidified by the lunatic fringe. They lost it to the people in the form of a bumptious anti-statist, and that’s the Original Sin. No degree of duplicity is now too large to reshape the order.

        There’s literally an entire spectrum or strata of these haters and ideologues. They hide in plain sight: everywhere within the foundations of democracy; in academia; in our culture; and, yep, in the media and press.

        And they’re resolute at gnawing away at the fabric, as we see before our eyes. That’s what Sullum missed.

  6. The motive, but not the action, is an impeachable offense?

    This can’t be serious analysis. Absolutely NONE of our politicians have an unimpeachable motive for anything they do. It’s a fundamental tenet of separation of powers.

    1. It is Sullumn. It is not serious analysis. Sullumn isn’t a serious person. He is a clown.

      1. Clowns are occasionally funny, this kind of analysis isn’t funny. It’s just sad, bordering on pathetic. I almost feel bad for him, going through life with such a total lack of critical thinking skills must be very difficult.

        1. I don’t think he is that stupid. I don’t think he is particularly bright but I doubt he is this stupid. He is just writing what he feels is necessary to keep his job and his social standing. This article is kind of like a letter written by a hostage who was forced by his captors to do so. It is more about Sullumn complete lack of integrity than his lack of intelligence.

          1. Fair enough, but I’m willing to accept the possibility that he lacks both integrity and intelligence.

          2. A pity Sullum’s ethics are the hostage, John.

    2. They’re essentially just complaining that Trump used the power of the state to try to secure re-election. They fail to see how this is perhaps the most egregious case in history of the pot calling the kettle black.

      1. as if the impeachment alone wasn’t a political process to secure a presidential election for the senators who are impeaching him. how can they not recuse themselves from this.

        1. That, and leftists entire political strategy is “I will use the power of the state to give you free stuff if you help me win”. Somehow that’s an acceptable use of authority when done to your own citizenry, but not when you do it to foreign nations.

        2. They’ve actually admitted several times over the last few days they are doing this so he won’t win re-election.

          1. Schiff said on the Senate floor that we can’t let it be decided by election.
            Honestly, if someone had shot him right then and there, I wouldn’t be able to find anything in the Constitution prohibiting it

          2. A properly tried impeachment will educate the voting public regarding Trump´s lack of fitness for office.

            1. It really won’t. If you applied the same standard, Obama would have been removed a dozen times over.

              So please, don’t even start with that shit.

            2. Its certainly showing me those currently in government who are completely and totally unfit for office. At the top of the list are the heads of the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees. In a sane and just world they would already have been tarred and feathered before being turned out on the streets.

            3. Cool story. Now do Clinton’s impeachment.

  7. While a murderer who is acquitted might kill again (although probably not, judging from recidivism rates),

    If a killer is acquitted, and then “kills again” that’s not recidivism. That’s an innocent person killing someone after the trial.

    Recidivism applies to those convicted, re-committing offenses after serving their time.

    1. That is a bit of a howler, considering how much prior writing Sullum has done on criminal law and the Drug War.

      Frankly, the standard of proof is whatever the Senate wants it to be. It’s not a criminal hearing. Nor a civil hearing. It’s a legislative body determining, per their operating code, whether or not they want to get rid of their chief executive.

      1. Sullum seems to think making up evidence, or rather denying clear evidence will be enough:

        “Trump’s lawyers say that phone call, which is perhaps the most incriminating piece of evidence against him, actually vindicates him by showing that he was sincerely concerned about official corruption in Ukraine. But Trump never explicitly broached that subject during the call

        But there is no way in the world you can say Trump didn’t raise corruption as issue in the call: “There’s a lot talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you ·can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”

        He could claim it was pretextual, claim that he had other motives, but it is a flat out lie to say “Trump never explicitly broached that subject during the call”. Unless of he is making a bizzaro assertion that without using the word “corruption” you can’t explicitly raise the subject. That’s like if I accused someone of “walking up and just shooting a bystander in the head” and then claiming I never “explicitly” accused them of murder.

        1. You haven’t been paying attention.
          To the Trump-haters, the exact words must be used.
          He didn’t say “corruption”, therefore that wasn’t what he was concerned about.
          Just like his “obstruction of Congress” wasn’t exerting executive privilege – because he didn’t use those words. Though anyone, with any sense, knows that is what he is protecting for future presidents.

          1. Wouldn’t mean anything to them if he had used the exact words. They’d just say that the transcript was faked, or that he was expressing what he really wanted through his tone of voice, or that he called back on a burner phone five minutes later to explain what he really wanted.

            Trump is guilty, that’s the starting point. All their reasoning proceeds from that.

  8. Senators who take their constitutional responsibilities seriously would:

    Pass a budget
    Pass laws instead of allowing the regulatory state to do it for them
    End the Drug War
    End Civil Asset Forfeiture
    End Warrant-less Search and Seizures.
    End EO legislating
    ….
    Then once they get them done, care about Ukrainian Aid.

    1. They would also dismiss this Democrat House Impeachment for the joke that it is.

      Worse punch line eva! Orange man bad.

      1. Point was not Orange Man bad. It was that they violate the Constitution everyday but no one cares. You see I have no faith they would get 1 of these done least of all correct all of them by the time Trump leaves office. Making the Ukrainian Aid “scandal” moot.
        My list wasn’t even complete but that would take more characters then this site will allow.

  9. The case for that quid pro quo relies mostly on circumstantial evidence and inferences. To my mind, the circumstantial evidence is strong, and the inferences are reasonable.

    Overturning the legitimate election-winner for the highest office in the land should probably require a little more than this. But that’s just me.

    Otherwise the laughable and roundly debunked Steele Dossier would have been more than enough to take down Trump.

    1. Sure it should require more, just so long as the election results in a President Sullumn finds acceptable. Sullumn is principled like that.

    2. There is even mitigating and conflicting evidence that propose Trump did not do this but it’s all being completely ignored in favor of the narrative that Trump must have done this.

    3. “Overturning the legitimate election-winner for the highest office in the land should probably require a little more than this. But that’s just me.”

      Especially when there’s a perfectly good election that can do just that, less than 10 months from now.

      1. That’s why they’re impeaching. They know Joe Biden can’t beat Trump.

    4. Yes, but Sullum thinks this is just a job performance review. I disagree with the most basic premises of everything he has to say. When you’re talking about removing from office a person that millions voted for without giving them a voice, it’s more freaking serious than getting rid of your CPA.

      1. An election is a job performance review. This is the equivalent of HR firing a CEO over the objections of the board of directors.

    5. “…To my mind, the circumstantial evidence is strong, and the inferences are reasonable…”

      Gee, Paul, isn’t that enough for you? What do you want, real evidence for pete’s sake?
      That’s enough to overturn an election any day!

  10. They should fill in the gaps on the Russian Collusion, too. And fill in the gaps on the pee tape. And the emoluments clause. They should fill in any gaps that don’t make Orange Man look real real bad

    1. And while we are at it, maybe we should go back and fill in the gaps on the claim Obama was really a Muslim or that the Libyan Ambassador was killed because he was part of a arms smuggling operation to Syria.

      1. How about Obama not being a natural born citizen because his father was a foreigner?

        1. OMG! So many gaps!

  11. “Trump’s lawyers say he delayed the aid because he wanted to make sure that Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy was serious about fighting corruption and because he thought other Western countries were not doing enough to help Ukraine. But these seem like post-hoc rationalizations for a decision that puzzled and alarmed administration officials, several of whom testified that they never heard an official explanation for it, let alone one that was both credible and legitimate.” – Ad hoc to whom? In my opinion, the investigation request seemed ad hoc. And so what if the poor professional inter-agency hacks didn’t agree. I understand that impeachment isn’t strictly a criminal prosecution, and it is an inherently political exercise, but must it be so subjective? You see no issues down that path?

    1. That’s a lie because you can’t prove it. You don’t have insider information. Tell everyone that it is your opinion. You stupid shit!

      1. Dgflem1, I think you replied to the wrong comment. I quoted the author, and then expressed my opinion clearly stating it was my opinion and then asked the author a couple of questions.

  12. We were told that impeachment is a political act, not a judicial one, therefore the House did not have to adhere to judicial nicetues. The Senate rejecting the House’s articles will also be a political act and does not have to act like a judicial trial. That argument was always a two edged sword, and complaining the Senate Republicans are treating it as a political matter is hypocritical.

    Also, yes, impeachment does not necessarily have to be an actual crime. However, an actual crime provides a more objective standard. If you are going to make a non criminal act impeachable, it has to be so grotesque as to be objectively offensive to most people’s sensibilities. What happened with Ukraine does not seem to be at that level.

    1. ^^This

    2. Agreed. If something technically legal is so troublesome that it warrants impeachment, I’d expect the legislature to immediately move to make the behavior illegal so as to remove any doubt about it going forward.

      No one in Congress has gone “Wait a sec, that wasn’t already illegal? Time to fix that!”, which means it can’t really be all that objectionable to them. Even if you know Trump would just veto it, at least make him do it so you can whine about it during election season.

    3. Were you brought up in a gulag? What is your argument?

  13. Why don’t you just bend over and let any democrat fill your gap so you can stop pretending this is anything but a nothingburger

    “Please like us leftists!” – Reason

  14. I’d say if either side wants to subpoena a witness with relevant information, then the Senate should grant that request. Suppose, for instance, that the House wants to subpoena Bolton – go ahead. Or if the President (for some obscure reason) wants to subpoena Biden pere and Biden fils, then go ahead. Let it all hang out, man!

    1. And if they haven’t prepped their witnesses in advance, all the better, it will add some much-needed spontaneity to the proceedings.

  15. “We help fight Russia over there so we don’t have to fight Russia here”

    So
    Many
    Problems
    With
    Such
    Logic

  16. Translation: “It’s not fair that Senate Republicans refuse to make the case that House Democrats were too incompetent to make in order to remove a successful Republican President.”

    And yes, Sullum’s argument is exactly that stupid.

  17. “Trump lifted the aid block, which the Government Accountability Office recently deemed a violation of the Impoundment Control Act”
    Yeah about that GAO thing,
    https://reason.com/2020/01/17/four-observations-concerning-the-gao-decision/
    “But GAO has not come close to resolving these factual issues or analyzing the complex legal issues in this situation. And it was truly reckless for GAO to suggest otherwise. They offered only a threadbare constitutional analysis, during this heated and polarized time, hours before the impeachment trial began.”

  18. Biden isn’t the nominee yet so he’s not Trump’s rival and it’s not digging up dirt when everyone has known about it for years.

  19. I’m not a fan of Trump. Didn’t vote for him in 2016, won’t in 2020. I voted Gary Johnson.

    I simply don’t find the charges are either significant enough or proven.

    It is up to a traditional court to decide to try a case, regardless of what a grand jury does. Cases are summarily thrown out, with or without prejudice in the first few minutes of trials.

    If the majority of the senate simply sees no validity to the charges, they have the right to summarily dismiss. The only point in having witnesses at that point is the prayer that these witnesses might help the democrats’ PR machines throw sand in Trump’s face. The news outlets like CNN (and apparently Reason.com, shamefully) will throw that sand anyhow.

    I don’t see Trump is a threat to the republic. We survived Bush/Cheney and Obama (among others). We’ll survive Trump.

    It looks to me like the side that lost last time hasn’t gotten over it and is rightly scared of a repeat. That is the will of the people.

    Beat him at the ballot box, if you can.

    1. “It looks to me like the side that lost last time hasn’t gotten over it and is rightly scared of a repeat. That is the will of the people.”

      You’d think there would be one adult D, but no one has yet to appear.

      1. Considering the advanced age of the remaining Team D candidates: it Depends. 🙂

  20. Stop trying to give this charade any air of legitimacy- he will be acquitted by traitor Republicans who don’t care that they are breaking their oath to the constitution simply because he’s on their side.

    This is all a joke courtesy of those who value their jobs more than the country they’re supposed to represent. There is no valor in a single soul on that side.

    1. wearingit
      January.22.2020 at 7:50 pm
      “Stop trying to give this charade any air of legitimacy-…”

      You should take your own advice, you pathetic piece of shit. It’s been a charade since 11/9/16, and the Ds continue digging themselves a hole.
      You and that hag lost, loser. Grow up and get over it.

    2. “”Stop trying to give this charade any air of legitimacy- he will be acquitted by traitor Republicans who don’t care that they are breaking their oath to the constitution simply because he’s on their side.””

      Replace Republicans with Democrats and you could be talking about the Clinton impeachment.

    3. Anything that makes you this mad is good by default.

  21. The real problem here is that Democrats don’t want to be known as “the corruption” they really are….

    So ya; Trump wants to investigate “corruption” and only the Democrats think their “corruption” should be untouchable.

  22. The president is in charge of foreign policy…congress can cut off funds but he/she gets to make the decisions. What was different in this situation that Obama/Clinton didn’t do to Trump?

  23. Obviously, there was something to investigate, i.e., why Hunter was hired as a director. Should that have been ignored because Joe is running for president? In other words, what should Trump have done in that situation?

  24. Democrats – we are going to Impeach Trump. This was said in January 2016.

    We’ll get him on Russia. No, we’ll get him on he has a mistress before he was president. No, we’ll get him on without holding aid because it might hurt a rival.

    Biden as vice president without aid for personal gain. Your telling me Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama didn’t do the same thing. I have a bridge to sell.

    Democrats sound and act like whiny snowflakes after they lost the election. They still can’t handle they lost. Hell, there were stories when Trump won that women would be in concentration camps.

    Unlike the Rev, I guess they realize outside of CA and NY they aren’t that popular and high probability of losing the next election to Trump again.

    1. “…This was said in January 2016…”

      I think you mean 2017, but it was earlier than that:
      “Will Trump Be Impeached?”
      By T.A. Frank
      November 14, 2016
      https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/11/will-trump-be-impeached

      All the Ds needed was a crime, and since they couldn’t find on (in spite of a 3-year fishing expedition), the invented a couple!

  25. Here are the gap-fillers:
    11/8/16: The hag lost the election.
    11/9/16: The Ds decided to impeach Trump; all they needed was a reason.
    11/9/16 – 12/X/19: The fishing expedition found nothing that wasn’t worthy of laughter.
    12/X+1/19: The Ds decided to invent whole new reasons for impeachment and voted on party lines to impeach Trump.
    1/20/20: Even Sullum isn’t buying; asks for more ‘details’.
    There you go, Sullum, that’s what’s missing from those “gaps”; seek treatment for your TDS.

  26. Some days this site makes me want to stop being a libertarian. Seriously reason just identify as a democrat light website. Concerning the article, this whole fiasco should have stopped the day the Ukrainian president said he felt there was no quid pro quo, since ya know it takes two parties to strike that kind of deal. But keep digging sullum, the truth is out there.

  27. Re: Jay Sekulow

    I grew up in the South so I watched a lot of 700 Club as a kid. You know… the one where Pat Robertson asked for donations from poor people so he could take their money and live in a fancy mansion. I seem to recall seeing someone named “Jay Sekulow” on there as well talking in tongues and saying “YOU’RE HEALED!!” to some gullible rube on TV. Question: is this the same person as the guy lying his ass off before the Senate?

    I’m a [lazy] insurrectionary Marxist so that to me would be fucking hilarious.

    1. You’re a fucking pathetic piece of shit. Grow up, or please fuck off and die. The world will thank you.

      1. Someone needed a hug as a child, and never got one.

        Poor, brainless, dickless Sevo doesn’t have a family that loves him and has to take out his infantile frustration on everyone else.

        1. Someone should have been beaten more as a child, and wasn’t.

          Slope-foreheaded Jason Cavanaugh still punishing society for his daddy issues.

    2. Fuckin’ LOL. Why is it every leftist that posts here turns out to be a slack-jawed, low-IQ hicklib?

  28. Catching some analysis on what the teams have to do to win the “Big Game” (I don’t blame them for protecting it), and now we have that failed hippy Bernie asking ‘a small favor…’ He just wants access to my wallet.
    Fuck him and the lot of the D socialists (and commie kid besides) with a rusty and running chain saw.

  29. The House charade SHOULD have put together a solid case with all the pertinent evidence and testimony. IF they had done, and it were submitted to the Senate to examine and rule, it would be a simple matter of the Senate reviewing the evidence as presented.

    That has not happened. So now the derelict in their duty House want the Senate to go fish for their OWN evidence, as if they were saying ” we think he MIGHT have done a big No-No, one big enough to maybe justify reversing the will of the PEOPLE who made him OUR president, but WE can’t orove it so nowYOU have to”.

    NOT the way impeachment works.
    House decides whether he’s to be impeached, based on the evidence they examine, then said House moves a bill to impeach to the Senate, together with all the evidence they’ve collected. Then the Senate must examne that evidence and decide whether he heeds to go, and for specifically what charge(s).

    That ain’t the rulebook y which they are trying to run this game.
    Essentially House are saying WE don’t LIKE this guy, he’s upset us, has not done what we expected him to do, and so YU needto find the evidence to show, with at least a preponderance of the evidence, that he iS to be impeached, and do so, providing a statement of facts and law.

    No that ain’t what the Senate is supposed to do. They are to TRY articles of impeachment.. AS SUBMITTED TO THEM. Not enough gas in the burner under the frying pan, the steaks don’t get cooked.

    If House has not tendered Articles of Impeachment complete and accurate enough to impeach the Senate have no option but to dismiss the case for lack of evidence.

    1. “…If House has not tendered Articles of Impeachment complete and accurate enough to impeach the Senate have no option but to dismiss the case for lack of evidence.”

      Yep.
      ‘Oh, hey, we think he’s done something! Please dig up what we haven’t managed to in three years. And if you don’t, it must be a partisan effort!’
      Pathetic.

  30. someone posted a video on his whatsapp status and people went mad over.

  31. Most of the evidence presented in the house would be classified as hearsay or speculation in a real trial, not circumstantial evidence. Bill Taylor never even met Trump in his life. He basically assumed an opinion based on a conversation with Sondland.

    Circumstantial evidence in a case like this would be something like Trump boasting privately how much Biden would be hurt if the Ukrainians investigated him. Or a discovery of a clandestine meeting between Trump’s associates and Zelensky’s people which occurred under the radar. The FBI pretty much knew where Guiliani was going, they surveilled everyone.

    The direct (opposite of circumstantial) evidence is the transcript, which shows no conditions being attached. The democrats then had to prove corrupt intent, which….. they never did.

    Sullum and Reason’s position is that even though the democrats failed to meet standards of due process, since impeachment is a political process, the GOP should still “connect the dots” and remove Trump. If it looks guilty, well, it must be guilty, and here you have a chance to just do the right thing without meeting burden of proof.

    It makes no sense. With that standard, we should impeach a president for a consenting affair and if he told the lover “It would be bad for us if you told anyone about this” the rival party would just assume that it inferred a threat or abuse of office. Shouldn’t libertarians demand that the government follow due process, even if they don’t HAVE to? They’re not a private business.

    1. Expecting the GOP to enable the removal of the leader of their party, AFTER the impeachment articles have already been delivered, is obtuse in the extreme. The only way Trump was going to be actively removed is if McConnell and McCarthy sat down with him and basically forced him to resign. But with Trump’s support among Republican voters at all-time highs, doing so would be political suicide. Very few GOP voters are going to want to give the Dems a victory lap out of some vague appeal to “principle,” which has basically been “We’re going to get Trump removed before 2020 no matter what.”

      1. But with Trump’s support among Republican voters at all-time highs, doing so would be political suicide.

        And for good reason. Even if everything the Democrats allege were true and even if I agreed that it was a serious offense, I’d still prefer Trump to any of the current Democratic front runners, who are either socialist or senile or both. I suspect most Americans do.

  32. There’s more than just A single instance of alleged misconduct at issue here: The house of representatives has, by the managers own admission, impeached a president without sufficient evidence to convict the accused.

    As Pelosi so enjoys pointing out; impeachment is forever. The Senate should, on the basis of the managers own assertion that they have insufficient evidence to convict, dismiss the articles of impeachment and demand that the house of representatives come back to them with sufficient evidence to justify a conviction.

    They should do this to protect the process, the office of president and the constitution itself from a repeat of the frankly corrupt means by which they secured the articles of impeachment in the first place.

  33. It seems everyone in the country knows the Democrats are pursuing impeachment for reasons similar to the “corrupt motives” they are accusing Trump of. To win in 2020.

    The Senate should pursue the corrupt motives of the Democrats. Lots of evidence out there and it is low hanging fruit.

  34. Be that as it may, Trump’s lawyers say, the president lifted the freeze without obtaining the commitment he sought. But Trump made that decision amid congressional pressure and an already public controversy over the propriety of his interactions with the Ukrainian government.

    So, again*, Trump does exactly the right thing, but he might have done the wrong thing so he should be impeached.

    That’s some logic you got there Sullum. Thought crimes are the worst!

    *attack on Iran called back

    Impeachment should have two things: 1) an unambiguous serious damaging act, and 2) unambiguous evidence thereof (cum stained dress, tapes, etc)

    1. The Donkeys are willing to accept less evidence to overturn an election than the NFL needs to overturn a fumble.

  35. Very neat blog post. Really thank you! Really Great.

  36. I’m no fan of Donald Trump but President Zelensky of Ukraine has already made clear he felt no pressure from Trump during their conversations. Besides, Hunter Biden is corrupt and should be in jail. Case closed.

  37. Oh, c’mon!

    It’s pretty dang clear from what’s been learned already Trump held up the aid for the express purpose of getting Ukraine to do him a personal political favor.

    Let me repeat that second part for those with reading comprehension problems .. … “for the express purpose of getting Ukraine to do him a personal political favor”

    That’s a clear abuse of Presidential power … and impeachable IMO.

    Everything else is just so much noise.

    We won’t like it much someday when some leftist Democrat President starts pulling the same crap as Trump has been (not just on this) circumventing the will of Congress … and getting away with it based upon Trump-precedent.

    1. Oh C’mon

      Hunter Biden and Joe are corrupt slime balls who deserved

      You don’t get a magical shield just because you are running for Prez or your last name is Biden, at least you shouldn’t

      The last D president investigated his political rival for political purposes. And it’s been a 3 year witch hunt

    2. We won’t like it much someday when some leftist Democrat President starts pulling the same crap as Trump has been (not just on this) circumventing the will of Congress

      Democrats and Republicans have been pulling this crap since the progressive era; the only thing is new that now that it’s Trump doing it, you are trying to use it as an excuse to undermine the 2016 and 2020 elections with this bogus impeachment.

      Let voters decide in November. Frankly, compared to the prospect of Sanders, Biden, or Warren, I couldn’t give a f*ck about this.

  38. If there is evidence enough to predicate an investigation of Joe and/or Hunter Biden for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Attorney General should direct such an investigation be opened. Ukraine will assist them in whatever way necessary in accordance with the mutual law enforcement assistance treaty we have with them.

    But that’s really a separate issue. Trump withheld aid in order to pressure Ukraine to announce an invesigation … and he did that for personal political purposes. That much is clear.

    This shouldn’t be a “contest” between R’s & D’s … where one side “wins” and the other “loses” It’s not a freaking football game.

    It doesn’t matter what the House did or didn’t do at this point. It’s here and now in the Senate and the Senate has obligations to find the truth , whatever that truth may turn out to be, and make a Constitutionally required decision based upon that truth. Nothing less.

    If the Senate needs to hear from more witnesses to find the truth, so be it. If they need to subpoena more documents or communications, so be it. Sweeping a public hearing of the truth under the rug, whatever that truth may be, is unacceptable. And it’s what the Congress owes to the people, regardless of political party affiliation.

    1. “and he did that for personal political purposes. That much is clear.“

      Wrong. It’s “clear” to you and some zealots on the left. Your crowd accepts that premise, builds a scaffold of hearsay evidence to support it, and then, due to cognitive impairment, concludes that the matter is “clear.”

      Stop beating your wife.

      1. But of course the guy allegedly being coerced had no idea he was being pressured.

    2. Trump withheld aid in order to pressure Ukraine to announce an invesigation … and he did that for personal political purposes. That much is clear.

      Even if that were true, pretty much every president over the last century would have been impeachable by that standard; it’s an absurd standard.

  39. “Buttobama” is not a defense of Trump’s actions.

    Not anymore than “ButtBush” would have been for Obama or “ButtClinton” would have been for Bush or “ButtReagan” would have been for Clinton.

    It’s a red herring to deflect and distract from the issue at hand right now before the US Senate.

    The issue at hand is: Did Trump withhold/delay Congressionally authorized aid from the US taxpayers for the government of Ukraine for a personal political purpose.

    If one believes he did … that’s abuse of power.

    1. It is an abuse of power, but a minor one given all the circumstances (actual corruption in Ukraine, likely corruption of Hunter Biden by getting paid assloads of money for nothing in Ukraine, the President’s power to set foreign policy, the release of the money anyway)………a minor abuse not worthy of this impeachment circus. Dems have dealt themselves a net loss on this one.

    2. It would be abuse if the Ukrainian prez felt pressured and did something about it. Otherwise it’s as abusive as commenting on the internet.

      Nothingburger.

    3. for a personal political purpose. If one believes he did … that’s abuse of power.

      Presidents do pretty much everything for a “personal political purpose”, since they all want to get reelected.

      The question is whether it was an illegitimate use of presidential power, and it clearly was not.

  40. “The last D president investigated his political rival for political purposes.”

    No, the FBI did. The FBI headed by Director Comey, a Republican appointed by a Republican President and confirmed by a Republican Senate. They investigated whether the Trump campaign had any ties to Russian interference in the election. They also investigated his opponent Hillary Clinton for suspected violations during the election. Obama neither personally ordered nor personally directed either of those investigations … much less personally pressured a foreign country to investigate Trump or Clinton on pain of withholding Congressionally authorized military aid money.

    So .. no. It’s not the same thing. At all.

    (btw … I didn’t vote for Obama either time. And I voted for Gary Johnson in 2016. So mine is not a partisan viewpoint.)

    1. So you’re not partisan, but you’ll gladly draw conclusions about unprovable premises, like whether or not Obama ordered such investigations and that aid was withheld with the explicit condition that investigations begin in order for aid to be released.

      If it quacks like a duck and shits like a duck…

    2. And I voted for Gary Johnson in 2016. So mine is not a partisan viewpoint.

      No, evidently just that of an imbecile.

  41. The non-pearl-clutching public is yawning because “he pressured the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation of a political rival by delaying congressionally approved military aid,” even if true, is not something the non-pearl-clutching public thinks Trump should be removed from office for.

  42. Dear Jacob,

    Why do you assume there was only one motive for holding up the aid?

    Sondland also said he was worried that Trump would not release the aid even after investigations were announced, further damaging relations with Ukraine in Sondland’s view. Therefore Sondland’s assumption that Trump was seeking a quid pro quo makes little sense.

    If Biden were a Republican running for the presidency would Trump’s seeking an investigation be impeachable?

    If Biden had been retired and not seeking the presidency would Trump’ seeking an investigation be impeachable?

    Certainly Trump, the self proclaimed drainer of swamps, would derive a political benefit from draining swamps, including those inhabited by Joe Biden, candidate or not. But to claim that you know with any confidence that getting his rival for the presidency was Trump’s one and only reason for delaying the aid is at best silly.

    Who know what evil lurks in the hearts of men,,,Jacob knows!

    1. God….Day 2 of the House case, and how many fucking times can you repeat the same shit, over and over. No doubt, well-rehearsed, but this is mind-numbing repetitive and boring.

      The POTUS’ lawyers get points for wrapping their argument up in less than a day…..assuming they do.

      1. Yesterday these clowns had the senate on trial, besides Trump. Who’s on trial today? Democracy?

      2. It’s the same mistake that Marcia Clark made in the OJ trial. Keep it short and sweet and focused or people lose interest.

        People’s attention spans are about 9 seconds.

  43. Fill in what gaps? You have the call transcript. You have Joe Biden confessing to quid pro quo. You have NO “whistleblower” of any kind. You have the Ukrainians saying they didn’t even know the aid was delayed. You have all the so-called firsthand witnesses saying that in their opinion nothing was violated. You have Schiff and Nader making stuff up. Pelosi is completely deranged. Based on the comments here, I’m not even sure that anyone here is using Reason.

  44. Senators who take their constitutional responsibilities seriously would seek more evidence about Trump’s motive for the aid freeze.

    That’s the House’s job. They have given it their best shot and the upshot is: there is nothing there.

  45. My Question on the Trump Impeachment

    How often does the justice system have a prosecutor/grand jury (here Spkr Pelosi & US House) send charges and an indictment (here articles of impeachment) to a trial judge and jury (here CJ Roberts & Senate) with the demand that the judge & jury do an investigation to back the charges and indictment by conducting an investigation to produce the witnesses and evidence necessary back the charges and indictment?

    I vaguely remember a mistrial being called when it was discovered a juror had been doing his/her own investigation.

    Brady, Jenks and Giglio laws/rules on incriminatory/exculpatory evidence are settled before trial in the discovery phase, not a continuous demand by the prosecution that the judge and jury do an investigation of new issues raised by the prosecution while the defense responds to the original charges, indictment, and evidence.

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