Impeachment

Republican Senators Say the Truth Is Irrelevant in Evaluating the Gravity of Trump's Misconduct

Republicans are setting a dangerous precedent they may come to regret the next time a Democrat occupies the White House.

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Donald Trump's lawyers have vigorously disputed the facts alleged in the articles of impeachment against him. But their fallback, bottom-line argument, which is especially important now that former National Security Adviser John Bolton seems prepared to confirm the aid-for-investigations quid pro quo at the heart of the House's case, is that the president's conduct would not constitute an impeachable offense even if he did everything the Democrats say he did. Leaving aside the questionable merits of proceeding with a hasty, party-line impeachment less than a year before Trump faces re-election, that position sets a dangerous precedent that Republicans may come to regret.

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, a member of Trump's legal team who used to agree with the scholarly consensus that impeachment does not require a criminal offense, changed his mind in 2018, then changed it again this year. His current position is that impeachment requires "criminal-like behavior akin to treason and bribery," which for some reason does not include extorting the Ukrainian government into announcing an investigation of a political rival by delaying congressionally approved military aid.

Republican senators who dismiss the significance of Bolton's potential testimony are leaning hard on that dubious conclusion. "I don't think anything he says changes the facts," Majority Whip John Thune (R–S.D.) told CNN. "I think people kind of know what the fact pattern is….There's already that evidence on the record." Sen Kevin Cramer (R–N.D.) concurred: "I think Bolton sounds like a lot of the other witnesses, frankly. I don't know that he's got a lot new to add to it."

Thune and Cramer, in other words, think Democrats have already established that Trump used the military aid as leverage to obtain the "favor" he wanted from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy: "a major investigation into the Bidens," as the president himself put it. But although Trump and his lawyers have strenuously denied that nexus, Thune and Cramer say it does not matter.

Sens. Roger Wicker (R–Miss.), Roy Blunt (R–Mo.), Tim Scott (R–S.C.), John Cornyn (R–Texas), and Thom Tillis (R–N.C.) agreed that the quid pro quo is irrelevant to the question of whether Trump committed an impeachable offense. "I don't think the testimony of Ambassador Bolton would be helpful because I basically am in agreement with the very scholarly approach that Mr. Dershowitz took that there's no article there that's grounds for impeachment and removal," Wicker told CNN.

These senators' incuriosity is more than a little troubling given the details of the accusations against Trump. Here are the key alleged facts, which for the sake of this argument we have to assume are true:

1. Trump did not really care about rooting out official corruption in Ukraine or any other legitimate foreign policy goal. He pressed the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden because he hoped to improve his chances of winning another term by discrediting the Democratic presidential contender he views as the biggest threat to his re-election.

2. The claim that Biden improperly used his influence as vice president to protect his son from a Ukrainian corruption investigation, as Trump alleged in his July 25 phone call with Zelenskiy, is transparently spurious. In pressing for the removal of Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, Biden was simply implementing Obama administration policy, which was consistent with a widely held view that Shokin was ineffectual and corrupt. Hence there was no legitimate reason for the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden.

3. Trump was so keen on tarnishing Biden that he jeopardized Ukraine's ability to defend itself against Russian aggression and compromised U.S. foreign policy goals, to the dismay of all his top advisers and members of Congress from both parties.

4. Trump was so keen on tarnishing Biden that he did not care whether his aid freeze was legal, which it wasn't, or whether he was unconstitutionally usurping the legislative branch's authority to appropriate taxpayer money, which he was.

5. To cover up this unseemly scheme, Trump lied over and over again about what he did and why, and he stonewalled the House's attempt to investigate the matter by refusing to provide relevant documents and telling current and former administration officials that they should not testify.

Some of these claims are well-established, while some rely mainly on circumstantial evidence and debatable inferences that could be reinforced by Bolton's testimony. But Thune et al. say the truth of these allegations is irrelevant for the purpose of deciding whether Trump's removal is constitutionally justified. Or as Dershowitz put it, "Nothing in the Bolton revelations—even if true—would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense."

Suppose Bolton testified that Trump told him, in so many words, that he was blocking the military aid to Ukraine solely because he wanted to undermine Biden as a presidential candidate by making him look corrupt. In Dershowitz's view, apparently, that would not constitute even an abuse of power, let alone an impeachable offense.

The Democrats say Trump abused his power for personal gain by encouraging a foreign government to unfairly impugn the integrity of a political rival. To further that goal, they say, he violated the law (the Impoundment Control Act), the Constitution (by disregarding the separation of powers), and his oath of office (in which he promised to "faithfully execute" his office and "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States"). If the allegations against him are true, Trump also undermined the rule of law in Ukraine by encouraging Zelenskiy to abuse his power, since an investigation of Biden was justified only by Trump's domestic political interests.

This is the Republican response, which we should keep in mind the next time a Democrat occupies the White House: So what?

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  1. The only precedent being set here is that you should accuse a President of acts worthy of impeachment if you want to impeach them. To the extent Republicans will some day regret that, it will only be because they are deprived of impeaching a future Democratic President for acts that do not and should not ever rise to the level of impeachable offenses.

    It is certainly possible that future Republicans will regret not having such an ability. There is no reason for anyone else to share that regret.

    1. I was thinking about your preference for no-frills drumming and this came to mind. I saw them in concert a year ago almost to the day. Fucking incredible. It does help that the singer is good enough to eat, even if she’s now closer to 50 than 40. Great band.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQm1zs8EjAY

      1. That’s 5 pages of wasted reading time, at least.

      2. That is awesome. Thanks.

        Have you watched Rick Beatto’s videos? he does this series called “What Makes this song great”. He is a producer and a very skilled musician. His videos are very interesting. Highly recommend them and his youtube channel.

        1. I will check it out right now.

          1. Read a book instead.

            1. Would that he could.

        2. This dude has some serious shit. More than I can listen to or comment on immediately. Thanks, I will delve into it.

          Are you a musician?

          I ask because things like this are different depending on the point of view.

        3. I watch him.

      3. “It does help that the singer is good enough to eat, even if she’s now closer to 50 than 40. Great band.”

        If you’re interested in unblievable music played by a total smokeshow, check out Sophie Lloyd. You’re welcome.

        1. Will do. Thanks. If you like folky stuff check out First Aid Kit. A couple of very tall reasonably cute Swedish sisters.

        2. I will add Dorothy as an artist who both sounds great (if you like roots/blues rock) and looks gorgeous.

          Their drumming can’t compare to Metric though.

    2. Heard you all missed me. Sorry, wasn’t feeling that well today. Rage getting to me.

      My Peace Plan is the BEST! Do-nothing Palestinians don’t agree.

      Oh, ya. Fuck you, John.

      1. You are so bad at this

        1. What is it, again, that you are good at, Nardz?

          1. Getting you to cry apparently.

            1. Har har hardy har har

      2. Sqrsly sucks at this.

        1. He really does.

          1. I learned from the master. (That’s you.)

            1. At least you didn’t lie about being SQRLSY, SQRLSY.

              1. If you need me to be SQRLSY, then I’m SQRLSY. Anything for my mentor.

                1. Anything except being funny. Cuz apparently no matter how hard you try, you just can’t be.

    3. We impeached Clinton over stuff that did not warrant an impeachment. There was some handwaving over lying to an investigator, but that lie was over a sexual affair. Something that had zero bearing on the President’s domestic or foreign policies.

      So yeah, the Republicans started this by impeaching Clinton. At least the Trump impeachment has at its core the stench of some actual corruption.

      1. Decent troll job, credit whee it’s due.

      2. “…At least the Trump impeachment has at its core the stench of some actual corruption.”

        Yeah, those un-paid parking tickets are SERIOUS, aren’t they?
        Seek help.

        1. He meant the Bidens.

      3. handwaving over lying to an investigator, but that lie was over a sexual affair.
        Actually he committed perjury. During an investigation about sexual harassment that was looking into Clinton’s patterns of behavior.
        I agree that it was not worth being removed from office. But it is at least a real crime. In this case, what exactly did Trump accomplish with his “attempted abuse of power”? Is Ukraine investigating Biden? Did they not receive the money within the fiscal year that it was Congressionally approved?

      4. Using ones office and power to gain sexual favors does not involve corruption? Because that was the supposed reason for investigating Clinton over his sexual affair. It was an affair with his intern, someone he had power over. Have you not attended a sexual harassment training at your place of business?
        On your second point, it is debatable at best if perjury is impeachable. Considering the case it probably was an overstep, but it was an actual crime he was being impeached for.

        1. As libertarians, we should be opposed to “sexual harassment” standards that would prevent a woman from fucking her way to the top if she is able and willing to do so.

          “If God gave you boobs instead of brains, use ’em.”—R. Paul Todd.

          1. If she chooses to of her own free will, if she is coerced into doing so, it would be wrong, correct?

            1. Notice I stated Clinton was being investigated for using his power over her in exchange for sexual favors, e.g. he was accused of coercing her to perform sexual acts. I am not stating he did or did not do, but that was the justification utilized for investigating this incident (and he had a history also of being accused, as governor, of utilizing his office to cover up sexual assault and other forms of sexual harassment).

              1. Clinton was not being investigated for coercing anyone. He was being sued for sexual assault. He was investigated for fraud in connection with a failed land deal. There was never any implication of coercion with regard to Lewinsky. It’s just that Lewinsky’s friend Linda Tripp recorded her discussing her consensual affair and that she kept the dress Clinton ejaculated onto.

                1. The key relevance here was that Clinton had a long series of scandals that tended to peter out in a swamp of missing evidence, people (Web Hubble!) going to prison rather than testify, documents mysteriously turning up a few days after the statute of limitations…

                  And then comes this one case where we can prove not merely that Clinton had evidence destroyed, and solicited perjury, he had his staff doing it for him!

                  And they didn’t do so reluctantly, they sprang into action like a well oiled machine.

                  The presumption on the right was that this wasn’t the first time Clinton had obstructed justice. It was just the first time he’d done so unsuccessfully.

                  1. The Deep State is just like the vast right wing conspiracy…except the vast right wing actually exists.

                    1. As usual, you have things exactly backwards.
                      There was no “vast right wing conspiracy”. Clinton was exposed by the media, who are as leftist as can be, and managed, Gennifer Flowers being a perfect example, to bring his abuses to the public and then deftly make them disappear.
                      Gennifer Flower’s tapes were almost never mentioned after Bill, and Hill, went on 60 minutes.
                      The right wing has no power to bring anything out, especially back then, because the media has all the power to create narratives, and the media is thoroughly of the left.
                      The deep state, however is real. Multiple examples scream its existence but, because of the media’s compliance with their ideology, their excesses are downplayed.
                      The deepest of the deep state is the media, where past partisans, of the left, find frequent employment.

                    2. Your retarded delusions are just like reality… except that reality actually exists.

                      Also kill yourself you worthless piece of subhuman shit.

          2. Women have been fucking their way to the top since Eve at least. How many in politics (see Kamala Harris) Hollywood and elsewhere have done so we will never know but it’s pretty clear many have benefited. Harvey Weinstein is accused of all manner of exploitation by a lot of women that claim they were coerced but a whole lot of them ended up with very profitable careers. Acting ability is a pretty subjective judgement. Could we design a SAT type test that would ensure only the worthiest were offered choice roles? Seems unlikely. It sucks that assholes like Weinstein get to make the call but a lot of his “victims” are doing pretty well for themselves.

            1. Lewinsky has almost certainly profited from her moment of fame.

            2. Those are the type of woman that Trump was talking about, with Billy Bush.
              The ones “that will let you do anything to them” to be able to get close to power and fame, for their own advantage.
              That’s what enraged the feminazis about his “grab them by the pussy” statement.
              He didn’t say he had done it, just that “they will let you”.
              It was that he was exposing the shameless way some women will use their sexuality to get ahead.

              1. They shouldn’t be ashamed. They’re just using the talents and advantages that they have to promote their own interests. Nothing wrong with that. No one is forcing these men to deal with them that way.

      5. Why, one might infer from your statement that, with a certain President or kind of President , you interpret ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ one way and, with a different President or different kind of President, you interpret it completely differently. How very… Constitutional… of you.

        I agree with you that the Republicans probably shouldn’t have impeached Clinton. That you willfully extrapolate that mistake to this one and then blame them for both is the stupidity you choose to own.

      6. It’s tiresome repeating the same thing over and over again for idiots who never simply get it, but… here we go again.

        Clinton was not impeached for lying to an investigator about an affair. Clinton was impeached for lying under oath in a civil trial (felony perjury); suborning the false statement of Monica Lewinsky in the same matter (obstruction of justice: felony) and; enlisting his aid, Vernon Jordan, to get Monica a job at Revlon in payment of her false testimony (bribery, obstruction of justice: felonies).

        1. The original investigation was about the land deal, but during the investigation the affair came to light. Starr was investigating rather the affair happened and if it did, was the President using his power to coerce Lewinsky into the affair. The President lied under oath and was impeached for perjury.

          1. Starr was investigating Whitewater and any other crimes that may become apparent. The same kind of mandate Mueller had.
            Starr was notified that Clinton was about to commit perjury in the Jones case and the AG – a Clinton appointee – granted Starr the permission to include that crime in his investigation.
            Clinton was never investigated for anything to do with “the affair” except what came afterwards with his efforts to cover it up and lie to conceal a pattern of practice, as in what he did to Paula Jones.
            The Congress, at the time, was presented with absolute proof that the president had committed multiple felonies.
            They were kind of stuck with either going through the impeachment, or stating that these felonies were OK, if done by a sitting president – not something any Congress wants to do.
            With Trump, these haters went looking for crimes, and when they didn’t find any, invented this whole farce of an impeachment.

        2. Especially when what you keep repeating isn’t true. It becomes very tiresome for everyone.

    4. You would think that is obvious, but shills like Jacob just make it up as they go.

  2. With respect to Trump using a foreign entity to get dirt on a candidate, he probably figures Hillary got away with it, why shouldn’t he?

    If he’s guilty he probably expects the Senate to let him off the hook like Bill Clinton.

    Lying? What politician doesn’t?

    1. Also, Holder was held in contempt of Congress and nothing happened to Holder.

      1. So in other words, the Republicans are a bunch of gullible ignorant pussies?

        1. They certainly were pussies

          1. This is why so many Republicans bit the bullet and voted for someone who they personally dislike but who is willing to fight for what they believe in.

            1. Or at least who they perceive as being willing to actually fight back.

  3. “Trump was so keen on tarnishing Biden that he jeopardized Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against Russian aggression and compromised U.S. foreign policy goals, to the dismay of all his top advisers and members of Congress from both parties.”

    The Articles of Impeachment are more specific. They say that “President Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States.”

    “U. S. foreign policy goals” does not equal “national security.” For a noninterventionist magazine, you seem fairly casual about confusing the two concepts.

    1. Perhaps the idea is that Ukraine’s national is our nation security. An argument I would expect to hear from Bolton or neocons, but no libertarians.

      1. Yes, indeed, and Reason itself has noted the presence of neocons and warboner types among the pro-impeachment faction.

        By putting all their Ukraine allegations into a single article, the Dems made acquittal more justifiable, because if they fail in proving any key assertion, they fail to prove the article and “Not Guilty” is the only acceptable verdict.

        They could have had separate articles of impeachment on the separation of powers question, on the corruption question, and on the national security question, thus getting a vote on each of their theories of guilt. But no, they had to put all the TDS (at least with regard to Ukraine/Russia) into one article and undertake to prove all of it.

    2. “Trump was so keen on tarnishing Biden that he jeopardized Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against Russian aggression and compromised U.S. foreign policy goals, to the dismay of all his top advisers and members of Congress from both parties.”

      Weird that the Ukrainians didn’t seem to know that.

      Note: no pushback whatsoever from Reason on this type of thinking

    3. The other problem with that statement is “US foreign policy” goals are set by the President. So, the President by definition can’t compromise goals that are at his discretion.

      Implicit in that entire paragraph is the idea that the bureaucracy not the elected President sets policy. Belief in the rule of an unelected and unaccountable bureaucracy doesn’t sound very libertarian to me. It sounds downright leftist.

      1. I think they’d argue that since Congress approved military aid to Ukraine, that aid became part of U. S. foreign policy goals.

        Which is why I would hold the Dems to their own, stricter standard: endangering national security. Let them make the neocon case for how vital it is to U. S. security to give arms to a non-ally.

        1. Which leads to the long standing question on if Congress even has the ability to divert aid on their own without discussion of the executive. Could, for example, congress appropriate money to a country the executive was negotiating against in defiance of the stance of the executive?

          1. I’d say Congress could do this – assuming they override the President’s veto and assuming it’s within the Art. I powers (though I don’t necessarily think all foreign aid is within those powers whether the President approves or not, but then I’m not the one whose interpretation of the Constitution is being followed in Congress).

      2. “Us Foreign Policy Goals” do not include using public funds to cheat in an upcoming election, no matter who is president.

          1. Using public funds to help your re election campaign.

              1. In the same way that a retard eating a log of dried up dog shit is funny. It’s so sad that if you don’t laugh you cry.

        1. So, you were opposed to Crossfire Hurricane? Good for you!

        2. Adam Schiff-for-brains, is that you?

    4. If national security was such an issue, why did 4 impeachment managers vote against it?

      1. Further, there was no military aid given during the Obama administration, which was at the height of the fighting. And I credit Obama for this. Don’t know his motivation, but for all his other blunders openly equipping a country to kill Russians was one he didn’t make.
        Fighting has died down drastically since 2014-2016. Kiev has shelled some neighborhoods from time to time, but there hasn’t been much in the way of engagements or offensives (side note: Ukraine was never defending against Russia; they were attempting to reestablish authority over rebels in the Donbass region, who were aided by Russia; those rebels have not been trying to seize territory, they’ve been defensive and trying to simply hold their territory the whole time).
        Trump, to appease his neocon supporters and the image of perpetual opposition to Russian “aggression” approved military aid to Ukraine. This I disagree with, but fortunately the fighting had largely died down by that point.
        No media outlets, including the ever maligned FoxNews, ever get into the situation in Ukraine. Were you aware that there are peace talks between Zelensky and Putin going on right now?
        In what way could delaying military assistance in 2019 endanger Ukrainian lives (let alone US national security), when denying military aid from 2014-2016 didn’t, considering most active hostilities took place during that earlier period?
        That’s a big hurdle for the “facts and logic” crowd to overcome.

    5. “They say that “President Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States.”

      They make it sound like he had a private unsecured email and forgot important classified documents in a foreign office somewhere.

      1. No he just told where a few of our nuclear submarines were, totally compromising human survival on earth. No joke. Those subs are the final guarantee that Russia or anyone else will decide to start a nuclear exchange. By revealing the location of those subs, Trump endangered all humanity.

        Even general locations give away intelligence that can be corroborated with other sources. Trump is a loose cannon.

        https://thehill.com/policy/defense/334969-trump-revealed-submarine-locations-to-philippines-president

        1. “A call transcript between President Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reveals that Trump boasted about two U.S. nuclear submarines near North Korea.

          Trump, who spoke by phone with Duterte on April 29, addressed the possibility of a strike on North Korea using the submarines. A transcript of the conversation was published by The Intercept.

          “We have a lot of firepower over there,” Trump said in the transcript, an official document of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.

          “We have two submarines — the best in the world — we have two nuclear submarines — not that we want to use them at all,” Trump continues. “I’ve never seen anything like they are but we don’t have to use this but he could be crazy so we will see what happens.””

          1. I’m sure the presence of 2 submarines close enough to strike North Korea was a huge surprise to everyone.
            And by “surprise” I mean “assumption”

            1. Hey – don’t tell anyone, but… we have nuclear subs in the Mediterranean.
              Uh oh, I’ve just totes compromised human survival on earth!

              1. We’ve got a couple in the Indian Ocean too. Close enough to hit Tehran.
                Shit – I just did it again!
                Man, these national security-human-survival-on-earth secrets are so hard to keep for someone who doesn’t even have any connection to military/government, foreign intel, or the press.

                1. I like he is outraged about the call, but not the leakers who expanded it from the PM to basically everyone.

                  Also… common knowledge. No specific locations were actually given.

                  Baby jeffrey being histrionic again. He is still sad no ww3 happened.

                  1. You are such a dishonest, disgusting creature.

                2. You don’t know how intelligence works. If what Trump said was true, then other sources, pieces of broken cryptography, etc. can all be checked and corroborated or fixed. You don’t give your enemies any hint whatsoever. There is a reason this was news: no president or any other gov employee talks about the location of nuke subs.

                  1. Better tell that to the Navy.

                    https://www.csp.navy.mil/Media/News-Articles/

                    September 25, 2019 — Ships, aircraft and personnel from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), the Indian Navy (INN) and the U.S. Navy (USN) will participate in exercise Malabar 2019 off the coast of Sasebo, Japan, Sept. 26….

                    USS Olympia Successfully Completes Around-the-World Deployment
                    September 8, 2019 — PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) – Friends and families of the crew gathered on the submarine pier at…

                    Japan-based submarine command names Barrigada native “Sailor of the Quarter.”
                    June 28, 2019 — Commander, Submarine Group 7 (CSG 7) named Culinary Specialist (Submarine) 1st Class Walt J. Frazier, a native of Barrigada, Guam, the Sailor of the Quarter for the second quarter of 2019 in a ceremony attended by all hands, May 23….

                    Pearl Harbor Welcomes USS Hawaii Home From Deployment
                    June 6, 2019 — The Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) returned home to Joint Base Pearl… MORE

                    USS Santa Fe Arrives in Stirling, Australia
                    February 26, 2019 —

                    Submarine Group 7 participates in Keen Sword 2019
                    November 1, 2018 — Keen Sword, which began Oct. 29, is the latest in a series of joint/bilateral field training exercises that for more than 30 years have increased combat readiness and interoperability between the U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF). Approximately 10,000 US service members will conduct training with their JSDF counterparts from military installations throughout Japan and surrounding waters.

        2. “No joke“

          No, you are a joke.

  4. It’s very simple. #TrumpRussia was the biggest scandal in world history. Then, amazingly, #TrumpUkraine emerged and swiftly dethroned #TrumpRussia for that dubious honor.

    Now the #BoltonBombshell marks the tipping point. If Republicans in the Senate had any common sense at all, they’d support removing Orange Hitler from office. Otherwise voters will punish them in the 2020 #BlueWave (or whenever they’re up for reelection).

    #ImpeachAndRemove

    1. Oh, you are a parody. Now I get it.

      You are funny. Just the best.

      — Orange Hitler

      1. What’s “parody” about being very concerned that a 3 decade Russian intelligence asset was installed as President of the United States in a hacked election?

        #LibertariansForMSNBC

      2. You could learn a lot from OBL since you suck so badly at it.

        1. How he stays in character should be studied in thespian school.

          Acting!

          1. I’ve broken him out if it, but it’s an effort and not common.

            1. Haven’t seen him fully break out of character, but sometimes it is difficult to maintain the convoluted reasoning of his character and his own thoughts become a little more apparent. It’s actually disconcerting when he one ups himself with shit arguments and positions only to have one of the writers here make those same arguments

              1. He’s dedicated.
                Oops – xis dedicated.
                It’s gotta be tough to stick with the thought process required to get to takes so absurd.
                For Reason writers, on the other hand, it seems natural.
                Benefits of the hivemind I guess

                1. We were all 5 year olds once. Obl just remembers the logic better.

  5. “The Democrats say Trump abused his power for personal gain by encouraging a foreign government to unfairly impugn the integrity of a political rival.”

    The Democrats also still say that Trump won the last presidential election through foreign interference. It’d be wise to not take the words of people not playing with a full deck so earnestly.

    1. Hey now. You’re allowed to impugn the integrity of an orange rival.

  6. How many times is Releasing going to run stories about the use of a common defense tactic is wrong during impeachment? Two facts need to be proved, that Trump did order an investigation of Biden for personal gain and that doing such is impeachable. Arguing that he didn’t do it goes to the former, arguing even if he did it is not impeachable addresses point two. Addressing both points is what you would expect a half way competent lawyer to do. If aforesaid lawyer didn’t address both points, say for any other case, Reason would be castigating the lawyers.

    1. It really has been quite telling after the “he didn’t do it and if he did, it’s not illegal anyway” argument has been presented that so many people obviously don’t understand how legal arguments work. And this includes a concerning number of journalists. I get it, you’re not lawyers, but not understanding how exceptionally common this argument is is troubling.

      1. Define “it”. What did he do.

        Did the Ukrainians get the aid, yes.
        Did the Ukrainians investigate the Biden’s, no
        Are the Ukrainians happy with their deal, yes.

        So WTF is “it”. That he though maybe Quid Pro Quo bragging Joe and his no show , high pay Ukrainian board member son might be up to something. Naw never in a million years right? No way.

        .Is that the “it” we are so worried about?

          1. Did you read the 7 violations under obama?

            1. Yes. I did not vote for Obama and would have supported impeaching him over the IRS scandal.

            2. Although none of “Obama’s” violations were him personally. Trump’s violations always seem to be about the benefit of Trump.

              You Trumpies always asset that Trump’s dishonesty and corruption is no worse than other presidents. Here’s why you are wrong. When Obama’s administration members are found to have moved money from one program to another, no part of that money was to benefit them personally. Or when Obama fails to notify certain congressional committees when he moves to get Bowe Berghdal back, that was not for Obama’s benefit. When Trump is found to have abused his power, it was for his own personal benefit. That is the difference. Trump is selfish.

              1. You poor thing. You should consider a vacation!

              2. Yet he and big Mike plunk down 12 mil for the Kalorama mansion and 20?mil for the…Hamptons?Cape Cod? place. Nothing to see here.

              3. “Although none of “Obama’s” violations were him personally. ”
                That IRS scandal, of which you speak, has been blamed for the lack of action by the TEA party to get him defeated and a good portion of their organization was around those 401-c-4 groups.
                He definitely gained from the deep state’s assistance in his “re-election”.

              4. Not benefit them personally? That is even greater then your normal level of dishonesty.

      2. What is disconcerting is that a great many in Congress, including those pushing for impeachment, are “lawyers” and would be well aware of this almost universal tactic, if the charge is of the kind that lends itself to this bifurcated defense.
        Yet, they charged ahead, anyway.

    2. The funniest part is, on what is at best a procedural “crime” in a mock trial, Reason is all law and order ‘this defense tactic is bullshit’; but when it comes to two dead bodies and the suspect’s (who’d threatened them with a shotgun previously) footprint on the door, suddenly the guy didn’t do it and, even if he did, he’s borderline mentally incompetent to stand trial.

      I’d say, in Reason’s twisted mind, the presumption of innocence only works two ways; in favor of criminals and in favor of Congress, but that’s really just one way.

      1. To be fair, not all of Congress.
        Just the Ds and RINOs

  7. I look forward to The 3 Vindmans Brothers being called to testify. They will do their plate spinning act to the tune of “Saber Dance”

  8. Been reading this website for over ten years. I can’t stand Trump and would be happy with impeachment if it was for other things, such as assassinating foreign leaders or helping Saudi Arabia commit genocide in Yemen. However, this article and the ones I’ve been reading lately here documenting the impeachment process sound like something I would read at Vox or MSNBC, not Reason. Its a shame what the Trump presidency has done to this place.

    1. What foreign leaders has Trump assassinated? Really, did I miss something?

      1. Uh, he literally started World War 3 in Iran. Don’t you remember? It wasn’t even a month ago.

        1. Lol
          This was a good one.
          Understated is best

      2. Soleimani was assassinated while he was in Iraq helping to broker a peace deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia. That makes him a “foreign leader” in my opinion. He was there at the request of the Iraqi PM and was scheduled to meet with him later that day. https://thegrayzone.com/2020/01/06/soleimani-peace-mission-assassinated-trump-lie-imminent-attacks/

        1. “That makes him a “foreign leader” in my opinion.”

          No one cares.

          1. Its irrelevant to my point anyways. Assassinating someone without due process should be grounds for impeachment.

            1. Just like Obama should have been impeached for assassinating Americans.

              1. What is due process when the person is being accused of planning an attack against your interests, has also been accused of planning attacks already carried out, and is outside your jurisdiction?

                1. Just because the American security state makes a claim, doesn’t make it so. Also, if someone in America is planning a terror attack, do we drone them or do they get arrested and brought before the courts? If the president thinks he can deny due process on the simple belief that an attack is imminent but never has to prove that or even show evidence of it, then what’s the point of requiring due process in the Constitution? It would have no meaning.

                  1. “…Also, if someone in America is planning a terror attack, do we drone them or do they get arrested and brought before the courts?…”

                    Yeah, I guess we just send the cops over and arrest him?

                  2. Quds in general has been named a terrorist organization and he was also named specifically a terrorist by at least Canada, Egypt, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, in addition to the US.

                    1. Right just name someone a terrorist with no due process just as Obama did and then you can kill American citizens. The Constitution does not give the power to the president of summary execution. It does not matter if it is a citizen or not. It is a violation of the oath of office.

                  3. Our Constitution and the due process it requires is only for “We the People of the United States”, not for everyone in the world.

            2. Foreigners on foreign soil arent provided unalienable due process per USSC precedent.

              1. That’s a funny statement. “Foreigners on foreign soil aren’t provided a due process right that can never be taken away.” So you think our rights are provided to us or do you believe we are born with inalienable rights like Madison and Jefferson argued?

                1. Due process isnnot a natural right. It is literally a government creation. In the absence of government no process is needed.

                  1. And what about the right to life that due process protects? Is that a natural right?

                    1. Is that a natural right?
                      Only if you can get nature to enforce it.

              2. Neither are US Citizens.

                Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlaki was a 16-year-old American of Yemeni descent who was killed while eating dinner at an outdoor restaurant in Yemen by a drone airstrike ordered by U.S. President Barack Obama on 14 October 2011.

                16-year-old Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi was one of three U.S. citizens killed by U.S. drone strikes in Yemen last year. Abdulrahman was eating at a restaurant with his teenage cousin when they and 5 others were torn to shreds. Abdulrahman was not accused of any crime.

        2. A peace deal Saudi Arabia wasn’t even aware of. Weird how that works. Let’s broker a peace deal that one party isn’t even aware is being discussed.

        3. “He was there at the request of the Iraqi PM and was scheduled to meet with him later that day.”

          Riiiiiiiight.
          Right after meeting with his subordinates in the paramilitary unit who’d just raided the US embassy.
          Iran’s foreign paramilitary general, who’s barred by the UN from travel abroad and directing the Houthi rebels fighting Saudi Arabia in Yemen, is the natural choice to send as a diplomat for peaceful relations with Saudi Arabia.
          Totes makes sense

    2. “assassinating foreign leaders or helping Saudi Arabia commit genocide in Yemen”

      Totes.
      Why should words have meaning anyway?

    3. “Its a shame what the Trump presidency has done to this place.”

      Really? I only discovered Reason.com in 2017 but I love the way they cover Drumpf. I think it’s great that Reason is basically another progressive #Resistance site — except on issues like the minimum wage, where the progressive position would hurt Charles Koch’s bottom line.

    4. I’ve been reading reason since the early 2000s, and this impeachment coverage has really shaken my faith in reason as an institution. I couldn’t bring myself to renew my annual contribution to the reason foundation this year, or even renew my subscription to the print magazine specifically because of this coverage. It’s just so TDS (and tedious).

  9. ” The claim that Biden improperly used his influence as vice president to protect his son from a Ukrainian corruption investigation, as Trump alleged in his July 25 phone call with Zelenskiy, is transparently spurious.”

    Dear God Sullum; are you the only person on the planet who hasn’t seen the video of Biden bragging about using his influence as vice president to protect his son from a Ukrainian corruption investigation?

    1. See no Biden, Hear no Biden, speak No Biden.
      More fun than a barrel of monkeys, packed in oil.

    2. I haven’t seen the video either. I saw a video of Biden bragging that he got the Ukrainian prosecutor removed. But the Bursima investigation was dormant at the time, and the Ukrainian prosecutor that Biden got removed was the one that stopped the Bursima investigation. And Biden was pursuing the policy of the US and our allies in getting the prosecutor removed, because he didn’t prosecute corruption. I don’t even like Biden, but get the facts right.

      1. nd the Ukrainian prosecutor that Biden got removed was the one that stopped the Bursima investigation.

        That is counter to everything I have read on the subject. Do you have a citation for that claim?

        1. Top journalists have used the adjectives baseless and false. No journalist would dare use a bald assertion.

        2. It is also counter to what Shokin, the prosecutor in question, has to say.
          But this media-created narrative is what so many are willing to swallow.
          What is funny is the switch between “We wanted Shokin out and wasn’t investigating Burisma, anyway” to “We wanted Shokin out because he closed down the investigation into Burisma”.
          Meanwhile, the guy that replaced him announced there was no longer an investigation.

      2. Victor Shokin is the Ukraninan prosecutor:
        “In a sworn affidavit dated 4 September 2019, for a European court, Shokin testified that “On several occasions President Poroshenko asked me to have a look at the criminal case against Burisma and consider the possibility of winding down the investigative actions in respect of this company, but I refused to close this investigation.””

        In April 2014, Biden’s son Hunter joined the board of Burisma Holdings. Hunter served on the board until early 2019.

        “While visiting Kiev in December 2015, then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden warned Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that, if he did not fire Shokin, the Obama administration was prepared to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees. Biden later said: “I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ […] He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.””

      3. “But the Bursima investigation was dormant at the time, and the Ukrainian prosecutor that Biden got removed was the one that stopped the Bursima investigation. And Biden was pursuing the policy of the US and our allies in getting the prosecutor removed, because he didn’t prosecute corruption”

        When delivering rote talking points, as if trying to make them appear to be your own thoughts, it’s best to vary the language up a little bit.
        You can’t just go word-for-word man. You gotta ar least try and disguise it a little bit!

    3. Still peddling that bullshit? Super liberal rag…oh, The Wall Street Journal has even debunked it. There is nothing there. Please stop believing Fox News Propaganda. You are better informed if you read and listen to nothing than if you consume Fox news.

      https://www.wsj.com/articles/bidens-anticorruption-effort-in-ukraine-overlapped-with-sons-work-in-country-11569189782

      1. Debunked huh… did you read it? It is mostly supposition.

        1. No. Your link is from 2015. No one knew what was going to transpire then. We do now. And it turns out, firing Shokin was US policy, EU policy, IMF policy…had nothing to do with little Hunter.

      2. Here is media matters complaining about wsj pushing both sides.

        https://www.mediamatters.org/wall-street-journal/wall-street-journals-two-faces-biden-and-ukraine

        But no, you found the official policy of wsj, one that even doesnt debunk anything. Good for you Jeff.

        1. Here I’ll boil it down for you. You do need to be spoon fed quite a bit.

          From your link:
          “While the news section of The Wall Street Journal has been effectively reporting facts on the matter, its editorials continue to repeat debunked allegations against Biden.”

          1. Debunked by whom? Schiff?

  10. At least Trump didn’t use the FBI, CIA, NSA, etc., and other foreign intelligence services to spy on Biden. Or use the IRS against PAC’s supporting his opponents.

    But I guess he should have, as that seems to be just fine with Democrats.

    Heck, maybe HE would have gotten a Nobel Peace Prize!

  11. WTF there was no Quid Pro Quo. They got the aid and did not investigate the Biden’s. You are saying further investigate something that didn’t happen. It doesn’t matter what Bolton says. The above is what ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

    So Bolton would say Trump thought about withholding the aid but didn’t. Or he wanted to do it but got talked out of it.

    So what? So yea if we’re continuing this BS lets investigate whether there was any probably cause to investigate the Biden’s. Maybe do an investigation and have Joe and Hunter tell us why there was nothing to worry about.

    Because if thinking about investigating the Biden’s is impeachable lets see if it was warranted.

    The Russian oligarch just liked Hunter and was doing him a favor. He wanted nothing in return. And Joe was actually fighting corruption by firing the prosecutor who was investigating Burisma. Yea sure that makes total sense. Oh wait the IMF and the EU didn’t like the guy investigating Burisma so that’s it. So there you go totally debunked I tell you.

    1. So Bolton would say Trump thought about withholding the aid but didn’t. Or he wanted to do it but got talked out of it.

      I can’t wait for Bolton to say, “Trump flat out said to withhold aid up to and until they investigate his political rival, Joe Biden, in a quid pro quo fashion and I countermanded the order against his wishes.”

      Reason will have the choice between finally giving up on the whole impeachment thing or sucking John Bolton’s dick.

    2. I just found out today the aid was future money for use as needed over the next five years. it wasn’t emergency money needed to keep fighting as the democrats have stated. So it was a delay on money to be spent in the future what kind of BS crime is that. So how does an unknown delay on money you haven’t got and wont get for a while become a bribe. A bribe that the Bribe who didn’t know he was being bribed

  12. The precedent was already set when the Democrats excused Bill Clinton’s perjury against Paula Jones, and subornation of perjury against Paula Jones.

    there is no victim of the acts that the Dems today allege that Donald Trump did.

    But Clinton ‘s actions did have a victim- Paula Jones. And the Dems chose to acquit anyway.

    1. That is a very good point.

    2. The House of Representatives declined to impeach Bill Clinton for perjury in the Jones case deposition. The perjury count of impeachment was for grand jury testimony.

      Get your facts straight.

      1. The Grand Jury was impaneled for the crime of perjury before the judge in the Paula Jones deposition.
        That the impeachment articles only mentioned the former doesn’t discount the inclusion of the latter.

  13. I wonder…
    Where do libertarians see libertarianism going with Reason as its prime representative?

    1. Hard left then straight ahead.

      1. With Harvey Keitel chasing after them as they plunge off a cliff. Despite the fact that they killed someone, robbed a convenience store, locked someone in the trunk of their car at gunpoint, and blew up a fuel truck, they’ll plunge off that cliff knowing full well that they’re the heroes of the story.

    2. Reason is faux libertarian. I wondered when the Ron Paul thing started why so many young people liked him.

      They liked the legalized drugs, open borders and marry whoever you want parts. Those are things they wanted government out of. The small government, individual rights stuff not so much. The take care of your self stuff no way they totally want to spend other peoples money for stuff they like.

      That’s the problem. Folks don’t want to take care of themselves AND leave others alone and they absolutely love spending other peoples money.

      And the legalized rugs and stuff of course or if your ENB, freedom for sex workers.

      1. They also don’t like defending the freedom of people they don’t like or the freedom for people to do things they don’t like. Someone like ENB is all about freedom for sex workers because she likes them. Reason is all about freedom for gays and Muslims and any other group that their social circles find acceptable. Standing up for the right to do things that are not fashionable or for people that are not liked? Well reason loses interest in that pretty quickly.

        1. They could be focused on the legal travesty of how this is playing out.

          And ask themselves: How would I like if I stood accused and wanted to defend myself through customary and established legal norms and strategies only to be chastised for having the temerity for doing so?

          Anyway. I stopped paying attention to this banana republic joke.

          Gravity. Get the fuck out of here given what past Presidents have done and no one said fucken boo.

          Like I said, with this impeachment, everyone’s an asshole.

          1. And some context here in comparison to another country.

            Canada is ostensibly a free nation that respects its democratic institutions and legal traditions.

            Yet, we have a jack ass jerk off PM who broke four ethical rules and has been found pretty guilty of going above the rule of law in the SNC-Lavalin scandal and dumbass Canadians re-elected him while the RCMP refuses to investigate him. This is WORSE than what Trump is alleged to have done.

            The head of the RCMP is a woman appointed by the narcissistic ideologue twit in power.

            Nope. No appearance of conflict of interest there.

      2. Ron Paul is one of the big reasons I drifted away from the Republican party and towards libertarianism. On some things I liked him more than the rest of the Rs and on others I thought he was a little crazy. The current L party and Reason especially is too dedicated to left wing objectives to be palatable for me. As a young adult I was sold on Ron Paul’s version of libertarianism that merged responsibility with freedom. The current version drops the responsibility part and ignores the consequences of giving freedoms to some that violate freedom of others

        1. There is nothing Reason is more opposed to than the notion of personal responsibility.
          Seems like such a position is antithetical to liberty

    3. “Where do libertarians see libertarianism going with Reason as its prime representative?”

      Wherever Charles Koch wants them to. Open borders, frozen wages, zero tariffs on imported goods, an end to marijuana laws.

      The public perception of the Libertarian Party and libertarians as, “the Star Trek Party” and a general bunch of kooks, won’t change.

  14. “Thune and Cramer, in other words, think Democrats have already established that Trump used the military aid as leverage to obtain the ‘favor’ he wanted from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy: ‘a major investigation into the Bidens,’ as the president himself put it.”

    An investigation that never took place, and was never announced. And the Ukrainians unanimously deny that they were pressured by Trump or anyone connected with him

    Are we supposed to believe that the Ukrainians denied Trump under all of this pressure, but they are so intimidated by him now that they are all lying for him when he is potentially vulnerable to removal from office if the truth comes out?

    1. when it comes to Trump the truth has been irrelivant to the left since 2016

      1. this wasn’t mean to be a comment to Paulpemb, oh well squirrels

    2. Reason has been telling us that the Ukrainians are lying when they say there was no pressure or quid pro quo for months. They site no evidence whatsoever to support the proposition. They just know it.

      1. There are so many things that “they just know” that aren’t true.

  15. What about setting the precedent that declaring your candidacy for President makes you immune from investigation for past corruption?

  16. he was unconstitutionally usurping the legislative branch’s authority to appropriate taxpayer money

    Where in the Constitution is Congress given the authority to give away money to foreign governments?

    1. Books – tomes – could be written on things Congress does, for which the Constitution doesn’t give them power.

  17. Majority Whip John Thune *(R–Thune)* told CNN.

    The Man, The District, The State that is John Thune?

    What a fucking joke this magazine has become.

    1. That might have been an intentional joke, like when commentators used to refer to Jackson as “D—Boeing”.

  18. he wanted to undermine Biden as a presidential candidate by making him look corrupt

    But the Bidens DO look corrupt, and that’s no one’s fault but their own. Wasn’t this article about how the truth matters?

    1. Why do that when it is far easier to undermine Biden by making him look senile?

      IMO, the only reason Biden was mentioned is because Trump holds a grudge worse than a middle school girl and wants anything that is even remotely connected to the efforts of Clinton and Obama to undermine his campaign pulled out into the open.

      1. Hmm.
        I think it’s because the video of him bragging about extorting Ukraine had recently come out and put together as a story with his son’s employment by a Ukrainian oligarch

        1. Hunter Biden’s sinecure is exactly the kind of swamp practice that, IMHO, irks Donald Trump, whose kids are not crack addicts and have been made to earn their living, albeit in businesses owned by their dad.
          My feeling is that Trump expects more of his kids than he does other employees.

  19. When Bernie Sanders become President i’m Going to write him a letter urging that he request assistance from the Cuban government in order to toot out corruption in the Republican Party in the Miami area. Why? Well, when he gets impeached I want to play back Jay Sekulow’s defense argument in front of the Senate just so we can laugh at one of Pat Robertson’s “Christian” crooks. That should be fun.

    #VivaFidel!l

    1. Picture yourself in a boat on a river… With tangerine trees and marmalade skies….

    2. Why not just ask him to pay off your mortgage then liquidate your enemies per your shared ideology?

      1. Ok, will do. But when it comes to skipping out on your obligations don’t you think I should address the letter to the following:

        Dear Leader
        14th Hole
        Mar-a-Lago Resort
        1100 South Ocean Blvd
        Palm Beach, FL
        33480

        1. I suppose since you’re a beggar you could cast your net wide just in case. it can’t hurt to have one of your betters paid off I guess

        2. “…But when it comes to skipping out on your obligations don’t you think I should address the letter to the following:…”

          No, but as a fucking scumbag, I knew you were going to try to excuse your pathetic existence with a false-equivalence claim.
          Trump started new businesses. You know, those enterprises which enrich mankind in general. And which, investors are well aware, often fail.
          That is in no way equivalent to a fucking scumbag like you simply deciding to ignore your obligations.
          Stuff it up your ass, so your head had some company.

          1. What about when Trump decides not to pay contractors because fuck you?

            https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/09/donald-trump-unpaid-bills-republican-president-laswuits/85297274/

            Trump is, and always has been, a total scumbag. Why do you hate hard working productive Americans?

            1. All contractors totes do the job they’re hired to do, in the time and to the quality standard they agreed to!

              1. Everyone in real estate development in New York knows that Trump is utter trash. You think it’s normal to be in 3500 lawsuits, even for a fake billionaire? It’s not.

                1. “Everyone in real estate development in New York knows that Trump is utter trash. You think it’s normal to be in 3500 lawsuits, even for a fake billionaire? It’s not.”

                  Did your TDS eat your cites. scumbag?

                  1. He’s good at making shit up.

            2. We have a civil system for them to pursue harm. You know that right?

              1. And that is why Trump has been party to over 3500 lawsuits. Most of which he has had to settle.

                1. “And that is why Trump has been party to over 3500 lawsuits. Most of which he has had to settle.”

                  Need a hand shoving those goal posts, scumbag?

                2. Settling out of court is the norm for large companies (and smaller ones as well). Most tort lawyers actually advise it. Even when you win the cases, they often cost more to defend then settling does. Settling doesn’t prove guilt, it just proves you are risk adverse. And the number of lawsuits against a billionaire is irrelevant. People sue companies and their rich owners all the time, mainly for personal gain. I doubt you would find to many corporations as large as his that don’t have a fairly similar number of lawsuits lodged against them, which they probably settled out of court as well.

            3. “What about when Trump decides not to pay contractors because fuck you?…”

              What about when a scumbag posts alleged claims and supposes them to be true, scumbag?
              The headline:
              “Hundreds allege Donald Trump doesn’t pay his bills”
              The date is June 2016, strangely during the presidential campaign.
              Hmm. Perhaps scumbags TDS means any accusation is true when it comes to Trump?

    3. “Cuban government in order to toot out corruption in the Republican Party in the Miami area.”

      Which Republican?
      What was the corruption?
      How was the Cuban government involved?

      Because, at the time of Trump’s call to Zelensky, the answers to those questions regarding Biden-Burisma-Ukraine was public knowledge.
      So, if you have specific knowledge like that, please let the world know.

  20. I used to really like Sullum, especially on the WOD. But, he has completely lost his mind.

    Here are the key alleged facts, which for the sake of this argument we have to assume are true:
    Um, no we don’t.

    1. Trump did not really care about rooting out official corruption in Ukraine or any other legitimate foreign policy goal. He pressed the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden because he hoped to improve his chances of winning another term by discrediting the Democratic presidential contender he views as the biggest threat to his re-election.
    This is ENTIRELY speculation. There is not a single FACT in this item. At this time, Biden hadn’t even announced he was running yet!

    2. The claim that Biden improperly used his influence as vice president to protect his son from a Ukrainian corruption investigation, as Trump alleged in his July 25 phone call with Zelenskiy, is transparently spurious. In pressing for the removal of Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, Biden was simply implementing Obama administration policy, which was consistent with a widely held view that Shokin was ineffectual and corrupt. Hence there was no legitimate reason for the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden.
    No one has produced any evidence that Trump was SPECIFICALLY going after Biden with respect to the money. It is all based on opinions. And relying on “factchecker.org”?
    3. Trump was so keen on tarnishing Biden that he jeopardized Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against Russian aggression and compromised U.S. foreign policy goals, to the dismay of all his top advisers and members of Congress from both parties.
    Russia took back the Crimea in 2014. So holding up aid to the country for a couple months in 2018 was jeopardizing Ukraine’s ability to defend itself????
    And dipshit: POTUS IS WHO SETS US FOREIGN POLICY GOALS!!
    It doesn’t matter what State Dept. tools want.

    4. Trump was so keen on tarnishing Biden that he did not care whether his aid freeze was legal, which it wasn’t, or whether he was unconstitutionally usurping the legislative branch’s authority to appropriate taxpayer money, which he was.
    The only basis for this is the GAO report. Which works for Congress. And in the report, they said the OMB actions were illegal (although, there isn’t really any court cases directly supporting this). Ultimately the larger question was if the money was dispersed prior to the end of the FY. It was. That is the CLEAR part of the law.

    5. To cover up this unseemly scheme, Trump lied over and over again about what he did and why, and he stonewalled the House’s attempt to investigate the matter by refusing to provide relevant documents and telling current and former administration officials that they should not testify.
    Which lies in particular? Where he said he didn’t have a quid pro quo and the phone transcript agrees with him? And executive privilege is a bitch aint it.

    1. Are you telling me that Sullum is Chem Jeff?

      1. Hivemind gonna hivemind.
        They are all Sullum.
        They are all chemjeff.

    2. “Where he said he didn’t have a quid pro quo and the phone transcript agrees with him?”

      Ukrainian president asks about the anti tank missiles.

      Trump responds with, “I want you to do us a favor, though…” and then talks about the total nonsense crowdstrike theory and the Bidens.

      It’s pretty fucking clear he is tying the aid to the investigation. Also, every person in the room or involved in Ukraine in any way at the time has corroborated that the president wanted investigations in exchange for the aid.

      1. How many words dod you end up cutting out this time?

      2. Now that someone has denied a crowdstrike link directly, we need to ask whom you work for.

        1. The American commies really freak out when CrowdStrike’s evaluations are questioned, don’t they?
          How could anyone be suspicious of the findings of a company hired by the DNC, about something involving Trump?

    3. “2. The claim that Biden improperly used his influence as vice president to protect his son from a Ukrainian corruption investigation, as Trump alleged in his July 25 phone call with Zelenskiy, is transparently spurious. In pressing for the removal of Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, Biden was simply implementing Obama administration policy, which was consistent with a widely held view that Shokin was ineffectual and corrupt.”

      Also, it’s a little disingenuous to claim that Biden couldn’t have possibly advocated removing Shokin to help his son, because he was ‘just implementing Obama administration policy.’ As the administration’s self-described ‘point man’ on Ukraine policy, Biden most certainly had considerable input into determining what that policy would be. He doesn’t get to say he was ‘just following orders’.

      1. That is what gets me, Biden was the self appointed lead man on the Ukraine, so he obviously had strong, if not total control over designing the policy. So their defense is that he was just following policy he himself likely created. How convenient.

  21. Jesus fucking christ is this guy dimwitted. Why is reality so difficult for you to grasp Jacob?

    The only possible explanation is TDS. The hysterical bleating is destroying your credibility. Let it go man.

  22. “The truth is irrelevant” is very different from “the truth doesn’t constitute impeachable conduct.”

    In law, there is the concept of legal impossibility. Legal impossibility is a defense to a charge of attempt. A person cannot be criminally charged with attempting to commit an act that is not itself a crime.

    In other words, it doesn’t matter if Trump tried, but failed, farting in the elevator because farting in an elevator is not a crime.

    This impeachment is entirely about Democrats attempting to argue that Trump merely thinking about farting in an elevator is an impeachable act in and of itself. Trump is arguing, in defense, that farting in an elevator is not impeachable.

    At the end of the day, Trump’s defense team is being perfectly rationale about the entire situation, whereas the Democrats are left trying to prove that thinking about doing something that is not impeachable is impeachable.

    Why Reason chooses to be a cheerleader for such inanity is beyond comprehension.

    1. How about the legal concept of lenity – as broached by Dershowitz?
      Under that doctrine, if the reasons for an act are ambiguous, one of which is corrupt, the presumption must be in the favor of the defendant unless it is indirect opposition to the legislative intent.
      Since no legislation is involved, the presumption must be to the non-corrupt reasoning.

      1. That makes sense, although I think the existence of the ambiguity — regardless of how one chooses to resolve it, on a personal level — is enough, standing alone, to conclude that impeachment and removal from office warranted.

        The problem, in my view, is not entirely rooted in the absence of a well-established standard for impeachment. After all, there haven’t been that many impeachments in American history so it is not surprising that there are no well defined standards. The real problem is that the Democrats are not even attempting to set forth a *coherent* standard that can guide or, conversely, constrain future Presidential conduct or one that would govern future impeachment trials.

        The standard simply cannot be permitted to be “impeachment is whatever we say it is at any given time.”

        It seems to me that the overwhelming majority of legislators, lawyers, and jurists understand how problematic and destructive the adoption of such a standard would be for the stability of the country. That Democrats, at large, are pretending to be incapable of understanding this indicates to me that we have a whole lot of people that need to voted out of office in droves.

        1. Correction: “that impeachment and removal from office [is not] warranted.”

  23. Let me get this straight?!?! The Republicans are setting a bad precedent?!?! This is some serious gaslighting

    1. Hey man, the next time a Democrat is in office they can tell the FBI to spy on their political opposition, and the media and the Democratic Party will say his (or her!) administration didn’t even have a hint of scandal.

  24. Let us posit that Joe Biden never announced his bid to run for President and had no intention of seeking office.

    Let us assume all the other facts, with all inferences drawn against Trump, are true.

    Is Trump’s conduct impeachable? No.

    The sole consideration, therefore, that makes the conduct in question impeachable, according to Democrats, is Joe Biden’s status as a political aspirant for the presidency.

    We are expected to accept, without objection, that the standard for what is impeachable conduct does not at all depend on what a President does but, instead, depends entirely upon the subjective status of another person affected, however tangentially, by said conduct.

    I think one would have to be insane to accept this such a principle.

    1. If its illegal to investigate a presidential candidate then it must be illegal to investigate a sitting president which makes the House’s actions criminal all of them and double illegal for Senators who are running for that office to be determining the legality of his conduct

      1. To an extent, this is a decent argument. However, I do think that the President refusing to release funds to an entity unless they do something that solely and explicitly benefits him personally is an issue. This is the crux of the impeachment case. The problem is there is no proof of qpq, the money was released (if delayed), and the favor has yet to materialize. There’s also the question of whether the information he sought is actually of national importance (which is especially true when we’re talking about a presidential candidate)

        1. Except that asking a foreign nation to investigate crimes committed by another American in that country is not a crime and it is not a crime to make it a quid pro quo even though he didn’t do that and by the way I was being sarcastic its always legal to investigate criminal acts by any America wether they are in office or running for office however while in office they can’t be charged.

        2. //However, I do think that the President refusing to release funds to an entity unless they do something that solely and explicitly benefits him personally is an issue.//

          The problem here is that drawing the boundaries of “something that solely and explicitly” benefits the President is virtually impossible under circumstances where the alleged reciprocal conduct is in the realm of foreign affairs (as opposed to something directly personal, like a deposit into the President’s personal bank account). This is complicated further by the Democrats theory that the electorate viewing a potential contender for the Presidency in a negative light is a palpable benefit solely for the incumbent, rather than a benefit for the good of all Americans rooted in the exposure of prior corruption by the contender while in public office.

          This is why I think the entire debate over whether the conduct benefits Trump’s campaign, or Americans as a whole, is beyond dubious. It is pointless. Reasonable people can differ entirely, because it is entirely subjective. Subjectivity does not a standard make.

          At heart, I think Democrats understand this and that is precisely why they are so hot about “debunking” the “conspiracy theory” that Biden did anything wrong. Democrats want to create the appearance that Trump was not just asking for an investigation, but for a *baseless* investigation. They are trying to argue, however obliquely, that Trump asked for evidence to be manufactured against Biden. But, the facts tell a different story. A predicate for an investigation into Biden’s dealings in Ukraine has existed for years. Therefore, it is very disingenuous that Democrats are arguing, on one hand, that Biden was squeaky clean but, on the other, that he is an irrelevant witness.

          Too cute by half.

  25. Well, the Democrats said they wanted the same rules as the Clinton impeachment, and the truth was irrelevant there too.

  26. This is really getting tiring.

    Someday the Never-trumpers will realize its politically a binary world out there, much as we libertarians hate to admit it. As hard as the choices are to make, sooner or later you have to fall on one side of this divide or the other.

  27. Mr. Sullum: Read a law book.

  28. I figured Libertarians were against giving everyone’s hard earned money away to foreign nationals. I can always count on Reason to prove me wrong.
    What the fuck does the aid matter anyway, if Russia is just going to walk in there and annex parts the country, aka Crimea.

    1. To clarify the Crimea annexation:
      Crimea has always had a unique status as an “autonomous republic” within Ukraine.
      They had their own constitution and their own parliament.
      The ouster of Yanukovich as president of Ukraine was itself unconstitutional.
      There was civil strife throughout Crimea between pro-Maidan and pro-Russia people, and unmarked Russian troops seized control of key infrastructure.
      The Crimean parliament (80% comprised of members of Yanukovich’s party) voted to replace the pro-Maidan prime minister with a pro-Russia guy. It then voted to dissolve the Crimean constitution trying it to Ukraine and hold a referendum on independence, which resulted in Crimean secession. A few weeks later, Crimea held another referendum to be annexed by Russia.
      International legal precedent was procedurally established by Kosovo’s previous secession from Serbia.
      Russia definitely played an active role in pro-Russian officials prevailing over pro-Maidan officials, so they did strong arm things a bit.
      So, did Russia “Russia is just going to walk in there and annex parts the country, aka Crimea”?
      Sort of

  29. Republicans said no such thing you fucking hack. Learn to code.

  30. Wow, the government is bad at impeachment just like everything else it is bad. If only there was something that limited the term of Presidents and allowed the people to select new Presidents periodically. Maybe that would be backup plan to poorly conceived impeachments.

  31. If Bolton’s “bombshell” includes affirmation that trump truly believed (whether or not it’s actually the case) that corruption in Ukraine could compromise the 2020 election process in the U.S., then wouldn’t that also create a basis for the claim that the demands for investigations were (in trump’s mind) very much in the national interest as well as being something that could benefit him as a candidate?

    Then if the “defense” can also somehow reference the claims that the DOJ IG report “exhonerated” the FBI’s FISA surveilience of Carter Page, in part on the notion that there’s a legitimate interest in looking into foreign ties of people close to a prospective candidate, that would be another data point to support a claim that the investigation of Biden’s direct family having a lucrative “do-nothing” job connecting him to a Putin ally/oligarch could be in the national interest as well as potentially beneficial to the trump campaign.

    Unless they’re just trying to trick the prosecutors into “punching themselves out” on the quid pro quo/abuse of power issue, the defens shouldn’t be addressing that aspect of it at all. If McConnell is smarter than I think he is, the “opposition” to calling witnesses might just be setting up the prosecutors to insist so strongly that certain people need to be heard that they’ll be left unable to refute the parts of their testimony which would give the GOP senators a pretext to call a vote against removal truly legitimate.

    If the investigation that was being sought was in the national interest (or if it can be established credibly that trump believed that to be the case), then all of the “abuse of power” and “quid pro quo” issues become completely moot since seeking something that’s in the national interest would be the job of the President. The kind of ideological blinders and doublethink that would seem to be needed for one person to believe that investigating the foreign ties of Carter Page and of Hunter Biden would be fundamentally opposite with regard to the protection of the republic are staggering to me.

  32. Republican Senators Say the Truth Is Irrelevant in Evaluating the Gravity of Trump’s Misconduct

    Well, that’s one more thing they see eye-to-eye on with the Democrats.

  33. …IN the really big picture — Trump and every other Congressman that makes and executes laws that steals and sends their own citizens labor($$) abroad for any purpose should be deemed a ‘traitor’ of the USA and accused of ‘bribing’ foreign elements by enslaving their own citizens………………………..

    At least Trump is working on cutting the ‘traitor’ funding.

  34. Not a fan of President Trump here, but what his defenders are saying is a valid legal tactic. In a criminal case, the defense lawyer might move to dismiss on the ground that the Prosecution has not made a “prima facie case”: that the facts as alleged do not, in fact meet the elements of the charged crime(s).

    Here, they are saying that the facts as alleged by the House Managers do not constitute an offense that the President should be removed for.

    I disagree. But it is still a reasonable tactic.

  35. It’s an interesting use of the “guilt doesn’t matter because Trump is our guy” defense.

    That’s a bold strategy. Let’s see if it pays off for them.

    1. Not the defense at all. Try again.

    2. Keep being disingenuous. Let’s see if it pays off for you.

      Protip: It won’t. Trump is going to be reelected in 2020 regardless what snarky, facetious twitterings you post on the internet.

  36. Amazing. All 5 “true” points have been debunked. Yet here they are. Embarassing.

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  39. Rand Paul has gone from filibustering for privacy rights to trying to out a whistleblower. Shilling for Trump is a huge price to pay for criticizing Soleimani’s killing.

    1. The “whistleblower” is not a whistleblower. He didn’t have firsthand knowledge of the call, and there was nothing worth blowing the whistle for in the call. It was all obviously for personal political reasons. He worked for Biden and was clearly sperging because Biden got brought up as a topic for investigation. Biden SHOULD be investigated, moron.

  40. As usual, Reason’s terminal case of TDS is on full display. When Trump’s defense says “even if everything they say is true, it is still not impeachable”, they are not referring to your idiotic list of assumptions, randomly pulled from your ass. What they are saying is, even if Trump literally demanded an investigation into the Bidens and Crowdstrike or Ukraine would not get its foreign aid, that would not be impeachable. This is because the Bidens OBVIOUSLY have at least the appearance of impropriety, and investigating that impropriety is OBVIOUSLY in the public interest. Is running for office now a perfect defense against being investigated for obvious corruption?

    The point of making this argument is that they are about to decide whether they are opening the trial up to several months of more documents and witnesses (after they’ve had three years to find anything and have failed). If the BEST they can possibly do with this situation is that Trump demanded Ukraine look into the Bidens, who obviously deserved being looked into, or they wouldn’t get their aid, then going any further is utterly pointless. That would be perfectly within his power. The only thing it serves is to dig further into a man they’ve been investigating for three years (based on false, unverified, and unverifiable, Clinton-paid-for oppo research) until they can find another thing to disingenuously twist into looking like something its not.

    So now let’s look through your retarded list and take them down, one at a time. Again, these are not the assumptions that Trump’s defense is referring to when they say “even if everything the House managers say is true”. You are being incredibly obtuse in asserting that. You say, “Some of these claims are well-established, while some rely mainly on circumstantial evidence”, when in fact they are all false or utterly irrelevant to the decision before the Senators.

    “1. Trump did not really care about rooting out official corruption in Ukraine or any other legitimate foreign policy goal. He pressed the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden because he hoped to improve his chances of winning another term by discrediting the Democratic presidential contender he views as the biggest threat to his re-election.”

    The Bidens were clearly involved in, at the very least, the appearance of impropriety. There’s no possible way we can discover what Trump did or didn’t care about, and the Bidens obviously deserve to be investigated. As a side note, Trump isn’t scared of any of the Democrats. He will beat whoever becomes the nominee.

    “2. The claim that Biden improperly used his influence as vice president to protect his son from a Ukrainian corruption investigation, as Trump alleged in his July 25 phone call with Zelenskiy, is transparently spurious. In pressing for the removal of Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, Biden was simply implementing Obama administration policy, which was consistent with a widely held view that Shokin was ineffectual and corrupt. Hence there was no legitimate reason for the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden.”

    It isn’t transparently spurious. It’s transparently accurate. A prosecutor was investigating Burisma, which Hunter Biden had just started working for without any experience, a track record of failure and drug abuse, and no knowledge of the local language. We then have Joe on camera saying he pressured Ukraine into firing that very same prosecutor. Meanwhile, Biden was put in charge of corruption in Ukraine. Transparently spurious? Are you fucking kidding me? This is supposed to be an anti-establishment libertarian magazine, right?

    “3. Trump was so keen on tarnishing Biden that he jeopardized Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against Russian aggression and compromised U.S. foreign policy goals, to the dismay of all his top advisers and members of Congress from both parties.”

    He didn’t jeopardize anything. Ukraine got its aid renewed on schedule, it was just temporarily suspended. It also got lethal aid, which it did not receive from previous administrations. Moreover, U.S. foreign policy goals are at the behest of the President, not his “top advisers and members of Congress from both parties”.

    “4. Trump was so keen on tarnishing Biden that he did not care whether his aid freeze was legal, which it wasn’t, or whether he was unconstitutionally usurping the legislative branch’s authority to appropriate taxpayer money, which he was.”

    Yes, it was legal. The GAO is not the arbiter of what is and isn’t legal, it’s an unelected bureaucratic office AKA the swamp. Again, isn’t this supposed to be a libertarian magazine? In fact, giving aid to Ukraine while there are legitimate concerns about corruption there could have had its own legal ramifications. I don’t know how a libertarian could possibly cheer on as their own tax money is funneled to Joe Biden’s crackhead son.

    “5. To cover up this unseemly scheme, Trump lied over and over again about what he did and why, and he stonewalled the House’s attempt to investigate the matter by refusing to provide relevant documents and telling current and former administration officials that they should not testify.”

    There’s no evidence that he has been lying about this. His story has remained the same, meanwhile all the witnesses and the house managers so far have been unable to pin him on anything and some of them have changed their stories multiple times. He is well within his rights not to comply with subpoenas and requests for testimonials that did not go through proper congressional process. At what point does a person get to say enough is enough? I know a libertarian would say, “Immediately. Don’t talk to the police. Get a good lawyer that defends you in every way they can.”

    At a certain point, don’t you become embarrassed of this shit? Put the keyboard down, moron. Go work for CNN, Huffington Post, or the New York Times – you have proven that you have no regard for finding the truth, let alone progressing libertarian thought.

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  44. “… as Dershowitz put it, “Nothing in the Bolton revelations—even if true—would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense.”

    That is correct. It is literally the job of the President to investigate corrupt behavior … even corrupt behavior on the part of Democrats. It’s all part of that “faithfully execute his office’ stuff which you mentioned.

    There is abundant evidence that Joe Biden was shaking down the Ukrainian government and asking for (and receiving) kickbacks. in return for US aid. Your claim that he must be allowed to skate on this just because he is a “political opponent” of Trump’s is idiotic.

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