Impeachment

The Ultimate Impact of Trump's Impeachment Remains to be Seen

While Trump will almost certainly be acquitted within the next few days, impeachment might still damage him politically. And the long-term impact of this process will likely take a long time to unfold.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Barring some highly unexpected development, Senate Republicans have the votes to prevent the calling of any witnesses in Donald Trump's impeachment trial, and Trump will be acquitted by the Senate next Wednesday. Almost from the beginning, it has been clear that there would not be anything like enough GOP votes to force Trump's removal under the constitutional required 2/3 supermajority standard.

In my view, the acquittal of Trump will be a grave error, because he not only abused his power (itself a sufficient reason for impeachment and removal), but also violated the Constitution and committed at least one serious federal crime. As my co-blogger David Post explains, Trump is even more clearly guilty on the second count in the articles of impeachment: obstruction of Congress. Slippery slope concerns about impeaching and removing Trump for this kind of behavior are, I have argued, groundless. Indeed, letting his misdeeds go unpunished would create a much more serious risk.

Deserved or not, as a legal matter the acquittal will be a win for Trump. He will have avoided removal from office. But the long-term impact of this impeachment process still remains to be seen. It may not be fully evident for many years to come.

In the relatively near future, we will see whether the impeachment process inflicts political damage on Trump. If he is defeated in his reelection bid, it is possible impeachment will be a contributing factor, or will at least be perceived that way. While it is unlikely that the process will sway more than a small fraction of the electorate, that small fraction could potentially prove to be decisive if the election is close, as it was in 2016.

Obviously, it is also possible to imagine scenarios where impeachment actually helps Trump, if some number of key swing voters think Democrats overreached and decide to punish the party for it, as arguably happened in the 1998 midterm election, when the GOP lost ground in part because of the unpopular impeachment of Bill Clinton.

The widespread perception that the Clinton impeachment was a political error by the GOP has, I think, had the effect of making politicians wary of impeaching presidents for for seemingly minor crimes unrelated to their office. If Trump's impeachment also comes to be considered a political mistake, it might have a similar chilling effect on future impeachments for abuse of power. The opposite might happen if the Trump impeachment is seen as a political success for the Democrats, despite the failure to remove the president from office.

It may take much longer to see the ultimate impact of the Trump impeachment as a precedent. Trump's likely acquittal does not necessarily mean that the Senate will have endorsed the more extreme and ridiculous arguments made by the president's lawyers, such as the claim that even the most egregious "abuse of power" is not a legitimate basis for impeachment if the president has not also committed a crime. As Gerard Magliocca explains, the Senate's 1868 acquittal of President Andrew Johnson was accompanied by statements indicating that even many of the senators who voted to acquit did not accept the more extreme and dubious arguments made by his defenders.

Earlier today, GOP Senator Marco Rubio indicated he would vote to acquit, but also emphasized that "I reject the argument that 'Abuse of Power' can never constitute grounds for removal unless a crime or a crime-like action is alleged." He instead claimed  there are good pragmatic reasons for refusing to remove Trump even if he did commit an impeachable offense. I think Rubio made the wrong decision. But at least he didn't endorse the more outlandish theories offered by Trump's defenders. Perhaps at least some of the other senators who vote to acquit will adopt similar stances.

Regardless of what the senators say, it is still far from clear what lessons the rest of us will take away from this case. It may well be a long time before we have any consensus on the rights and wrongs of this episode. I hope most Americans will eventually agree that the the Senate committed a serious error in refusing to remove Trump. But I admit it is  possible that public and elite opinion will eventually coalesce around the opposite view: that the Democrats overreached by impeaching Trump in the first place. Unlike many people, I don't believe that moral progress is inevitable. Regression has happened before, and could happen again.  So even if my view of this episode is right, the tide of opinion could still move against it.  Perhaps more likely, the issue will continue to split people along ideological and partisan lines.  That state of affairs could persist for a long time, given the severe polarization of American politics.

Even if a consensus does develop, it might eventually be challenged or even reversed. For many decades, the 1868 impeachment of Andrew Johnson was seen as a grave error, and John F. Kennedy (or at least his ghost-writer) famously celebrated the senators who voted Johnson's acquittal in his Profiles in Courage. More recently, however, the consensus has been broken as more and more people come to recognize that Johnson richly deserved to be removed for his attempts to sabotage Reconstruction and preserve white supremacy in the South.  I myself have changed my mind on the Johnson impeachment since I first read about it in the 1980s, and I am far from alone in having done so.

If majority opinion coalesces around the view that Trump's acquittal was a mistake, then it will stand as a negative precedent future political elites will strive to avoid, not a positive that should be emulated. The opposite will be true if the pro-Trump narrative of these events comes to be generally accepted. If no broad consensus develops, then the precedential impact will likely be muddled and unclear.

Predictions are difficult, especially those about the future! For now, the only really safe predictions are that we will not know the ultimate effect of the Trump impeachment for some time to come—and that the rights and wrongs of this episode will continue to be hotly debated.

UPDATE: I have made a few minor additions to this post.

NEXT: The Press Coverage of Pinegrove's Comeback Proves That Discredited #MeToo Allegations Don't Wash Off

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  1. You should ask for a refund of your tuition.

    This whole sorry episode has only diminished the Democrats (or would you prefer the Democratics?).

    Trump will emerge stronger than before.

    1. He does this every time he is wrong. Look at his articles about the USSC overturning the travel ban blocks as an example.

    2. Hail to victory!! Trump for emperor. One man rule! We don’t need no written law. The state is Trump!

      1. “One man rule! We don’t need no written law”

        What does James Comey’s insistence of Hillary’s stature above the law have to do with anything?

      2. “…Trump for emperor…”

        Can a first grader like you carry that strawman?

    3. Although support for removal hovered around fifty percent, please remember almost 70% of American believe Trump’s actions were either unethical or illegal. That number will continue to edge up as new evidence emerges – as it will, week by week – but there’s obviously a top limit before hitting the Cult stone wall.

      But people who say “Trump will emerge stronger than before” or the “call was perfect”? Sorry, but that’s just not normal folk talking. The numbers tell an entirely different story. It seems average Americans recognize the difference between right and wrong….

      And I’m optimistic over limiting the constitutional damage from Trump’s presidency. After all, it’s not as if we’re likely to see a dumpster-fire clown-show like Gordon Sonland, Lev Parnas, Igor Furman and Rudy Giuliani anytime in the near future. Far greater damage is possible from Trump’s misappropriation of Congressionally mandated funds, but even there I’m hopeful. It’s on the way to SCOTUS right now, and I suspect the Justices will be more likely to draw the line after witnessing Trump’s Ukrainian shit-show…..

      1. “…That number will continue to edge up as new evidence emerges – as it will, week by week – but there’s obviously a top limit before hitting the Cult stone wall…”

        Still waiting for any evidence, and were those numbers taken from the same sources which guarandamnteed that the hag was gonna WIN!?

      2. And what evidence would that be? More of the same “I heard it from a guy who heard it from a guy who overheard one side of the call”?

        The Dems “evidence” wouldn’t have held up in a real court and they know it.

      3. Constitutional damage? Christ you people are nuts. Whoever came up with giving 400million to Ukraine should be impeached and thrown in jail. What is it about the politicians giving away our money.

        1. Because stopping Russia’s imperial ambitions isn’t in the national interest?

          1. You’re joking, right? That has to be sarcasm.

          2. Not until a few months ago…
            Obama didn’t seem to think stopping “Russia’s imperial ambitions ” was a “national interest” when they rolled in to Ukraine

            1. I mean, Obama didn’t hold up military aid so…

              1. For once, you’re exactly correct.

                Obama didn’t, Biden did.

          3. The 1980s, they’re now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.

            1. The left has never forgiven the Russians for giving up on communism.

            2. Sigh. Today’s Russia is one of the most corrupt countries on earth, rated 137th on the Corruption Perception Index, tied with Uganda and Lebanon. Its civil liberties are a hollow shell, its judiciary hopelessly compromised. Political opponents face arbitrary imprisonment and – in many cases – suspicious deaths.

              Given its international standing and hopeless economy, Russia’s most common foreign policy is petty malicious mischief, aimed at discrediting democracies around the world. What foreign adventures it pursues are usually crude, cynical and needlessly bloody; its allies are some of the most loathsome dictators who rule today.

              But there are also assassination attempts against people living outside the reach of Putin’s vengeance. And Russia is the only European country in decades to seize a neighbor’s territory. It’s a lot to answer for, but today’s Russia speaks to the world with soviet-grade black-is-white lying.

              Yet Putin puts a tiny bit of thump on the scales for Trump in 2016, and suddenly Russia is sweet & golden for “conservatives” everywhere. Here’s what I think: You can drive down the worst crack-alley imaginable and I bet you don’t find a whore willing to sell herself so cheap

              But that’s today’s Right……..

              1. Remind me: which American President was caught on video telling a Russian Ambassador to hold off — that he’d have more flexibility after the election?

                And I would kindly like a list of things President Trump did for Russia, along with things that President Trump did against the Russian interests — in other words, a good, solid summary of Trump’s Russia policy — along with an explanation as to why the fact that President Trump’s policy solidly leans against Russian interests is best for Russia.

              2. Russia has never been ‘sweet and golden’ for Republicans. My goodness… put the crack pipe down. It’s Bernie who went on his honeymoon there, right?
                Democrats in fact keep insisting on putting Russia on par with America and building up Putin’s powers thinking they are tearing down Trump. Meanwhile Russia is a 3rd Tate country with a shitty economy, with all their intelligent people living around the world as escapees and expats.

                OOO look over there! Our Democracy is in danger! Russian trolls won the election for Trump!!!!! Ahhhhh!

        2. > Whoever came up with giving 400million to Ukraine should be impeached and thrown in jail. What is it about the politicians giving away our money.

          The 400 million to Ukraine was a law passed by the House, Senate, and signed by President Trump.

          And by the way, Trump signed another law confirming the aid in October after the scheme was revealed, as an additional law was required due to some of the aid not being delivered by the deadline. So I guess you think Trump should be impeached and removed from office.

          Source: https://www.gao.gov/assets/710/703909.pdf “ OMB removed the footnote from the apportionment for the USAI funds on September 12, 2019. OMB Response, at 2. Prior to their expiration, Congress then rescinded and reappropriated the funds. Continuing Appropriations Act, 2020,
          Pub. L. No. 116-59, div. A, § 124(b), 133 Stat. 1093, 1098 (Sept. 27, 2019). [. . .] For fiscal year 2019, Congress appropriated $250 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). Pub. L. No. 115-245, § 9013, 132 Stat. at 3044–45.”

          Trump signed the Continuing Appropriations Act 2020 on Sept 27, 2020, thus committing an impeachable act by your definition

          1. Did you major in pettifoggery? And fail?

      4. I doubt many Trump voters or independents will say This was somewhat inappropriate, I guess. Let’s vote for someone who hates Americans like us or holds us in contempt instead..

        Even a clown show beats a horror show. But in actuality, Trump has done a very good job overall and I predict people will vote for continued progress, prosperity, and American renewal.

        1. The right having it both ways. Vote for Trump because the left is evil.

          But also Trump is great.

          Negative partisanship or cult of personality. No need to choose – No rational throughline needed.

          1. Rational considerations: blacks are better off and more prosperous than 4 years ago. Hispanics, Latinos, Asians, whites, gays, straights, all religions, etc. also better off. Working class much better off. Rich better off. Business better off. Americans better off. Plus no new wars.

            And all the other side has to offer is negativity and grievance, hatred and contempt for some large fraction of Americans. But they appeal to pompous Washington insiders!

          2. Sarcastr0
            February.1.2020 at 5:45 pm
            ‘My TDS is really affecting me!’
            Pathetic.

            1. Have any content to offer or do you just log on here to cotentlessly namecall and add nothing?

              1. Take that Rev…I mean Sevo…

          3. While I don’t personally particularly like President Trump, or even Trump as a person, I fail to see how “Vote for Trump because the Left is evil” and “Vote for Trump because Trump is great” are necessarily at odds with each other. Indeed, I would humbly propose that the two actually reinforce each other.

            I am, personally, in the camp of “I can’t stand Trump but at least he’s tolerable, and he’s certainly a known devil now — and look, the Left is evil and even bat guano insane!”, and I suspect there’s no inherent contradictions in my position, either.

    4. I think it also helps in that it shows the public what a bunch of dangerous, toxic traitors the democrat party truly are. Anecdotally, i see more and more people in public that are sick of their shit and questioning what the dems are really about.

      1. Anecdotally, I kinda think the last of the shitlords might make crap like that up.

        1. Anecdotally, you’ve offered nothing other than bullshit.

        2. Well Sarc, I don’t live in a progtard dystopia, so I don’t have to make anything up. Non progtards do t want to put up with progtard bullshit. And this impeachment business isn’t popular. Seriously, Schiff, Nadler, Pelosi? Three of the most unlikable people alive are who you fags have as the face of impeachment?

          Regular people root against them from natural instinct alone, because you people are just awful.

          1. Except given your name I have no faith you ever tell the truth if it suits you.
            You history similarly does not inspire faith in your veracity.

            And polls indicate this impeachment actually is popular, so maybe not the best direction to pivot.

            Pretending you know ‘regular people’ is also a dead giveaway. Like Real Americans it’s just a way to elide parts of the country you’d rather don’t exist.

              1. Show your work.

                Just because I make you feel angry doesn’t mean I’m lying.

            1. You’re one to talk. Given your name, I fail to see why we should take you seriously, either.

    5. “Trump will emerge even stronger than before?”

      Will he break 44 in approval rating? Will he become literate, learning capitalization and spelling in particular? Will that thing atop his head start to look like human hair? Will he lock her up? Will he develop normal-size fingers? Will he build the wall — and get Mexico to pay for it? Will he become able to walk the course (or climb some stairs?) Will he become so buff he finally be able to see his pecker while standing? Will he persuade Josh Blackman to become his publicist?

      1. Does he need to? According to RCP, he was 21 points underwater on election day. People didn’t vote for him because they liked him, they did it to protect themselves from the Democratic candidate.

        Well, guess what: Looks like the Democrats will be running one of those again.

      2. Wow Rev. will the democrats ever stop being the party of Fags Sissy Blacks Women
        illegal aliens and oh… You

      3. “Will he become literate, learning capitalization and spelling in particular? ”
        I never wonder about someone’s age or the tech skills but I think you just spilled a few beans there buddy.
        When my daughter was in fifth grade they considered holding her back or putting her in special classes because she had trouble spelling. But she had an advocate who reminded the school that she may not be able to spell computer but she’s smart enough at the age of ten to build it. They passed her to the next grade. That was about 25 years ago.
        Point being: no one outside of law cares about spelling anymore- not 25 years ago, not today

        1. I care about spelling. Because an adult with a conspicuous inability to spell is likely an adult who does not read. In Trump’s case, you can get rid of, “likely.”

          1. I care about spelling too, and reading as well, but there’s sometimes more important things than those. Such as keeping literate, articulate, yet greedy, power-hungry, proven-power-abusive, anti-Justice, anti-Freedom, anti-Due-Process, do-anything-it-takes-including-destroying-the-lives-of-innocent-bystanders Democrats out of power.

            Besides, you have an inflated belief of just how articulate your side really is. Particularly your politicians, but even your electorate.

        2. Illiterate rubes, superstitious yokels, and backwater Republicans don’t care about spelling, or standard English, or science, or reason.

          That’s part of why they are our society’s losers.

    6. YES! Absolutely President Trump will emerge stronger after this bitch slap to the Left.

    7. Why do moron Trumpists read Reason?

      1. “bacchys
        February.1.2020 at 11:28 am
        “Why do moron Trumpists read Reason?

        Wrong question.
        Right question:
        Why do lefty TDs victims post here to prove how fucking stupid they are?
        I’m sure the TDS victim here won’t be able ti figure that out; too complex…

      2. You can ask the same thing about Libertarians. Reason has become noticeably both anti-Trump and anti-libertarian in their content. Indeed, when they elevate this one act as an “abuse of power” but turn a blind eye to all the shenanigans that President Obama did, one can’t help but wonder: when will Reason get back around to defending liberty?

    8. Truth. All this has done is pissed him off.

  2. I bet every single President since Adams (Alien and Sedition Acts) has violated the Constitution. Well, maybe not that 30 day wonder. And I excuse G Washington because I gather he didn’t really want to be President.

    Nailing Trump because he is Trump goes right along with not nailing Obama because he was Obama. Or either Bush. And so on.

    This is way too trivial an impeachment case, or else everyone who wants Trump impeached better damn well come out, starting on election night, for the impeachment of every President from now on. Anything less is pure hypocrisy.

    1. Furthermore, even Somin holds the absurd position that Trump’s actions were impeachable, the fact that something is impeachable doesn’t mean it’s wise or just to actually remove Trump from office. That is, the Senate isn’t obliged to remove people from office for impeachable offenses, it is obliged to have the best interests of the country in mind.

    2. Somin’s claim may be perfectly fine. What he doesn’t consider is the unique circumstances surrounding it, with outrageous hatred of Trump from day 1. Or day -250 or so. “Increasingly nervous man says Trump is done for now, for the 7th time.” was a joke long before the election.

      In short, the Democrats shot themselves by being the boy who cried wolf. When a real thing came along (giving Somin the benefit of the doubt) all the president’s supporters were tired of hearing it. It seemed like just another in a long line of attacks.

      1. Indeed. Democrats were calling for the Impeachment of Trump even before he announced he was running for President. It took them this long to finally find an impeachable offense — and a particularly weak one, at that — and yet we’re supposed to take them seriously.

  3. “elite opinion”

    Libertarians for aristocracy!

    You mean “credentialed” opinion.

    Its already set in concrete that the “credentialed” in media, “think tanks”, universities etc. will think it was a tragic error to not remove Trump.

  4. The “ultimate impact” is that the party that controls the house is now apt to routinely impeach adverse party presidents.

    1. Essentially impeachments will end up being like the phony congressional investigations like the Benghazi investigation. I think everyone understands this Senate trial has been a sham and there is no reason to have another one. Furthermore the precedent Republicans have set is brazen partisanship trumps a senator’s oath to uphold the constitution.

      1. Some people also understand that for all the 3+ years since election night that the Dems have been itching for impeachment, their House hearings were also a sham.

        1. I agree the Republicans were itching to find dirt on Hillary because they knew she was going to be the 2016 nominee so they started a phony investigation into her. Now it turns out everyone in Trump’s State department communicates via unsecured digital messaging with Trump being the worst offender even using unsecured phone lines.

          1. “I agree the Republicans were itching to find dirt on Hillary because they knew she was going to be the 2016 nominee so they started a phony investigation into her.”
            Your TDS ate your cites.

            “Now it turns out everyone in Trump’s State department communicates via unsecured digital messaging with Trump being the worst offender even using unsecured phone lines.”
            Push them goal posts! Got any more irrelevancies?

          2. Did Republicans start talking about impeaching Hillary before the returns were known?

              1. Sebastian Cremmington
                January.31.2020 at 9:46 pm
                “Yes.”

                Your TDS ate your cites. Again.

                  1. Yeah, but that’s just one guy, right? No actual lawyer could suggest such a thing, right?

                    https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/08/impeach-hillary-clinton-constitution-remedy-corruption-impeachment/

                  2. Sarcastr0
                    February.1.2020 at 8:07 am
                    “https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/10/21/a-gop-congressman-wants-to-pre-impeach-hillary-clinton-he-should-do-some-research-first/”

                    Let’s try this again in single syllables if I can, so someone as fucking stupid as you might possibly understand:
                    Did the G O P try to im peach that fuck ing hag be fore the e lec tion?
                    Is that simple enough for you?

                    1. Á àß äẞç ãþÇđ âÞ¢Đæ ǎB€Ðëf ảhf
                      January.31.2020 at 6:55 pm
                      Did Republicans start talking about impeaching Hillary before the returns were known?

                      Try and follow along and quit with the namecalling; it highlights how juvenile you are.

          3. “I agree the Republicans were itching to find dirt on Hillary because they knew she was going to be the 2016 nominee so they started a phony investigation into her.”

            Good to see that Clinton Projection Syndrome is still going strong.

          4. Maybe this gives the government too much credit, but maybe they facetiously use a low-sec phone knowing it is tapped, so they can feed misinformation. Otherwise use it legitimately for mundane stuff as a cover.

      2. So, investigating actual malfeasance by the Obama administration is “phony”, but Democrats throwing tantrums to try and overturn losses isn’t.

        And you wonder why your party is dead.

      3. A sham? Really? Not like the House impeachment proceedings, right? Those were fair and reasoned in your mind.

        Goddamn, you’re a pathetic progtard partisan hack.

    2. Depends on what the voters do. If they reward the Democrats with seats and even the presidency then perhaps we will get more of it. If it hurts them in November, hopefully lesson learned.

    3. I know that when the Republicans take back the House I’m gonna be writing letters to my Congressman demanding impeachment for whatever Dem there is handy.

    4. And thereby stalling all other action in the House and hopefully the Senate. How could that possibly be a bad thing?

    5. Did you sleep through the Clinton years? Or are you <20 years old?

  5. The Dems can just impeach him again. Maybe they’ll do it twice a year for the next 4 years. Apparently all it takes is a so-called whistleblower repeating rumors he heard.

    1. There was no whistleblower; there was an anonymous accuser.

      1. And everything he/she alleged was proven to be fact.

        1. “And everything he/she alleged was proven to be fact.”

          Strangely, you seem to be the only one with that “knowledge”, so you’ll forgive me for pointing that it’s bullshit.

        2. You need a dictionary.

        3. “Proven” so thoroughly that the desperate House managers are begging for more witnesses.

          People already prejudiced against Trump were convinced though.

          1. Proven to the point that GOP senators were saying no facts were in dispute.

            Or do you think those senators were fooled?

            1. Sarcastr0
              February.1.2020 at 12:09 am
              “Proven to the point that GOP senators were saying no facts were in dispute.”
              Please post your cite; we love laughing at lefty liars.

              “Or do you think those senators were fooled?”
              No, I think you’re dissembling at best.

            2. What they mean is that no facts relevant to the articles of impeachment are in dispute. And those facts don’t support impeachment.

              There is another set of beliefs that people like you hold that are very much in dispute, but they don’t form the basis for the actual articles of impeachment.

              1. He’s too dumb to get it, but you crushed it with this comment

            3. Their point is that they are accepting those facts as true and they are still voting to acquit.

              Senators can say what they want. Accepting a set of facts that won’t change the outcome is a low bar.

              1. That’s bit what they’re saying, Ben.

                Your need to edit their words should tell you something.

                1. I edit words ever since I was bit.

                  1. That’s NOT what the senators are saying, rather. That you need to rewrite what they say to suit anything approaching an argument should tell you something.

        4. Funny how there was no “whistleblower” when Biden made his obvious quid pro quo demands.

          1. He did no such thing.

              1. Did you actually look at that video? He was talking about sacking a prosecutor who was failing to prosecute.

                1. “Did you actually look at that video? He was talking about sacking a prosecutor who was failing to prosecute.”

                  I was certain a lefty would claim the definition of “is” is uncertain.
                  Consider yourself a lying lefty POS.

                2. BTW, you pathetic POS, see below. You been busted.

                3. I’m on the west coast; more than willing to call lefty bullshit for a while yet.
                  C’mon Jason, captcrisis, Sebastian; you’ve all been caught posting bullshit. Let’s see more of it; there’s a search engine right there to prove you’re still lying…

          2. Funny how there was no “whistleblower” when Biden made his obvious quid pro quo demands.

            Setting aside your confusion about what he did, there was no need for a whistleblower because it wasn’t secret. Everyone knew about it. Congress, both parties, was briefed on it. That’s because it was formal U.S. policy, not a private action by Biden.

            1. And there were something like 25 people on the Infamous Trump call.

        5. The only thing proven to me is the SOB anonymous accuser (Eric Ciaramella) should be prosecuted for sedition.

          1. You are the bigoted, uneducated, reflexive right-winger Prof. Volokh had in mind when he created this movement conservative blog, and your comment is what makes all of this work worthwhile for the Conspirators.

            1. Time for a visit from your alter egos, Reverend. Yeah, I know it hurts. The impeachment trial will end without you and your uberlib pals having a trophy on the mantle. Tsk, tsk.

            2. And you got nothing but name calling and insults. The signs of a loser

              1. “Bigot” is a legitimate descriptor.

                That our liberal-libertarian mainstream has inclined the bigots to lose their wish to be known publicly as bigots has not changed the legitimacy or importance of the word.

                Half-educated also is a legitimate descriptor. Ignorance and indolence have consequences that should be known.

                Superstitious . . . another legitimate descriptor.

                That you guys don’t like certain words doesn’t make them inappropriate.

        6. You bet just like russia eh?

      2. More likely, there was Schiff making up a bunch of stuff on some forms so he could start an impeachment proceeding. No real person involved.

      3. I don’t think there was an anonymous accuser.
        I think it was pre-planned and pre-written by Lawfare; all they had to do was wait for an event where Trump would refuse to cooperate and produce documents and then they could impeach him for obstruction. Ditto what they planned for the Mueller probe

  6. According to Elizabeth Warren the failed impeachment will result in the downfall of the Supreme Court because Roberts didn’t meddle where he clearly had no Constitutional or Senate Delegated authority.

    The question Warren made Roberts read: “At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution?”

    Was Warren trying to self sabotage her own case just the way Nadler and Schiff did by insulting the Senators? Why not insult the Chief Justice too, and the entire Supreme Court?

    I’m glad to see Murkowski in her surprise statement announcing her No vote threw it back in Warren’s face:
    “It has also become clear some of my colleagues intend to further politicize this process, and drag the Supreme Court into the fray, while attacking the Chief Justice. I will not stand for nor support that effort. We have already degraded this institution for partisan political benefit, and I will not enable those who wish to pull down another.”

    Whatever one thinks about the Senate deciding that the President’s conduct was didn’t warrant impeachment whether proved or not, it was their decision to make and there is no cause or reason for Elizabeth Warren to cast any blame on Ruth Bader Ginsburg for Warren’s own failings to swing her collegues.

    1. An insult hardly has any bearing on facts and the truth.

      1. Neither do the tantrums of a pathological liar like Lizzie Warren.

        1. Do you dislike pathological liars, you bigoted clinger?

          1. Well we know you don’t. You live in the skin of one like a reptilian lives in schiff.

  7. Thankfully, there will be no further witnesses. The House made their overwhelming case, and the Senate decided witnesses were just not needed. Now move to the vote and get this over with quickly. We the People can sort this out at the ballot box, and hopefully minimize the damage done to the Republic. This impeachment process from start to finish has been the most sorry-assed spectacle I have ever seen; a national embarrassment and a shameful episode in our history.

    Politicians in Washington DC should hang their collective heads in shame.

    1. I agree, I am going to give up politics as my hobby because Republican voters are mindless zombies so what is the point of absorbing information and analyzing it objectively if 50% of voters don’t care about doing that?? So my state will soon legalize sports betting and so I will now focus on reading about the NBA and NFL in order to bet on the games. With respect to politics I will mindlessly vote Democrat until all these Trump senators are defeated or leave office.

      1. “…so what is the point of absorbing information and analyzing it objectively…”

        You might find a cure for your TDS, and stop pitching such bullshit around.

        1. Trump is a poop head! U have poop 4 brains!! Democrats rule!!

          1. Powerful words, we’re all in awe of you’re linguistical powers.

            1. Repooplicans is better than Schift for brains.

      2. Sebastian, you should go further, and just commit suicide. Best thing for you really, you comments are going nowhere.

        1. I h8t the Repooplicans!

          1. Yes faggot, we know.

            1. I’m a Democrap!

      3. Your side excused committing perjury against Paula Jones.

        1. I’m a Repooplican…or I was up until a few hours ago.

          1. You’re a pathetic lefty loser with TDS and nothing other than lies and innuendo to support your idiocy.
            Grow up and admit you lost, loser

            1. Oh yeah and just think how the losers will wet their little panties when trump gets 4 more years oh yeah

              1. I’m a Democrap because they support biological males wearing panties…they are more comfortable than men’s underwear!

      4. How can we miss you if you don’t go away?

      5. With respect to politics I will mindlessly vote Democrat

        How is that different from any other time?

  8. Trump ultimately got what he wanted with Ukraine. A large portion of the population now has the baseless belief that Joe Biden is corrupt. Trump is emboldened now to abuse his power to damage any other Democrat, with the assurance that he will not be impeached for it. His re-election just got a lot more likely.

    1. “…A large portion of the population now has the baseless belief that Joe Biden is corrupt…”

      You mean the corruption Biden bragged about in a vid? My goodness, how could anyone believe that?

      1. He did no such thing.

        1. Verbatim quote from Biden, on videotape, “I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

          1. Ah, but you see, there was no conflict of interest at the time, because the Ukrainian prosecutor was investigating some weird guy named Hunter, which obviously has no ties to any sort of American politician whatsoever, then or now!

            1. They were not investigating hin

              1. So “is” has a sort of flexible definition?

                “According to ace investigative reporter John Solomon, writing at The Hill, […]
                Solomon notes that earlier this year, Biden – speaking during a Council on Foreign Relations event – couldn’t help bragging about how he effectively threatened the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, in 2016 that he would see to it the U.S. withheld $1 billion in American loan guarantees, which would have bankrupted Kiev, if he didn’t fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin immediately.
                “I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Biden says he told Poroshenko.
                “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time” – which is diplomatic speak for “someone the Obama administration favored.” He even implicated the former president in the exchange.
                Solomon noted further:
                […]
                In subsequent interviews with Ukrainian officials, however, they related something to Solomon they say Biden no doubt knew when he issued his ultimatum: The prosecutor who was fired was leading a far-reaching corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm that just happened to employ Biden’s son, Hunter, as a board member.”
                https://thenationalsentinel.com/2019/04/05/scandal-joe-bidens-son-hunter-landed-sweet-big-money-deals-in-ukraine-while-vp-dad-was-threatening-its-government/

                You.
                Are.
                Full.
                Of.
                Shit.

              2. “They were not investigating hin”
                And here’s Politifact’s half-assed apologetic for the crooked Biden clan:

                “Key takeaways
                • Hunter Biden did hold a directorship for a Ukrainian gas company while his father was vice president. Experts agree that Hunter Biden’s acceptance of the position created a conflict of interest for his father.
                • Vice President Joe Biden did urge Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor, with the threat of withholding U.S. aid. (A)But that was the position of the wider U.S. government, as well as other international institutions.
                • (B)We found no evidence to support the idea that Joe Biden advocated with his son’s interests in mind, as the message suggests. It’s not even clear that the company was actively under investigation or that a change in prosecutors benefited it.”

                (A) So you found other people who agreed? Well, that changes everything!
                (B) Of course he didn’t act to save his son’s sorry ass; this was just pure purpose on Uncle Joe’s behalf.
                There’s more dodging and ducking to laugh at:
                https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2019/may/07/viral-image/fact-checking-joe-biden-hunter-biden-and-ukraine/

                But this was particularly amusing:
                “Did Joe Biden know about his son’s Ukrainian ties?
                The Biden campaign told PolitiFact that the vice president learned about his son’s role on the board through media reports and never discussed anything related to this company with his son…”
                And I guess they swallowed that without howling with laughter; says as much about Politifact as it does about Biden.

            2. Even if Biden was so clueless that he didn’t know Burisma was corrupt, he should have known that firing a prosecutor that even has jurisdiction over the company that’s paying your son a million a year has the appearance of a corrupt action.

              1. Look above; captbullshit’s been busted.

        2. “”He did no such thing.”

          Why is it that lefties lie so transparently? Are they really hoping the definition of “is” might be flexible? Or are they just stupid?
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXA–dj2-CY

    2. So, let’s get this straight.

      1. President Trump has questions about the Biden family in Ukraine.
      2. He quietly brings it up in a private phone call to the President of Ukraine.
      3. Democrats blast it into a massive supposed “scandal” that Trump was looking into potential corruption by the Biden family in Ukraine.
      4. And somehow Trump got what he wanted, because Democrats blasted the news all over the place.

      1. Not what happened.

        1. Hint:
          Lying many times does not change your lie into anything else.

          1. Go ahead provide the cite for us

            1. I’ve given it to you several times:
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXA–dj2-CY

              Now, let’s see your ‘it depends on what is is’ defense; I’m well used to lefty dishonesty.

        2. Odd. I see that as a very good summary of events. In May, barely anyone knew about Hunter Biden. Now, everyone knows that the vice president had his crackhead son working as an executive at a foreign oil firm.

          Whether or not Biden did what he did to protect his son, Hunter’s job alone is unacceptable. How Hunter magically got a cushy executive job in the Navy despite his criminal history is also very curious. It justifies the “drain the swamp” narrative quite nicely.

          1. Ben, look upthread to 11:09. Captbullshit’s been busted.

          2. This is standard operating procedure. Hire ex politicians or family for outrageous salaries buys comity in legislation, without a word needing to be said.

            I think everybody on both sides are looking too closely as if to find someone with a grin twizzling a handlebar moustache.

    3. Biden is just a guy who enriched his family through the use of his office.

      1. The Kushners’ Oscar Health keeps raking in hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to Trump’s executive orders.

        1. “The Kushners’ Oscar Health keeps raking in hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to Trump’s executive orders.”
          1) Lefties have a hard time with actual evidence; they’re stupid that way, stupid lefty.
          2) Damn goal posts are really heavy, aren’t they, stupid lefty?

        2. Sebastian, have you figured out how you’re going to kill yourself? While I favor you burning alive, there are other mire humane ways you can euthanize yourself.

    4. “A large portion of the population now has the baseless belief that Joe Biden is corrupt.”

      BAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

      No, really. It’s adorable watching people like you bitterly cling to the Obama years, where you just has to scream shit like this over and over for it to magically be true.

      1. Go ahead
        Give us the cite

        1. I’ve given it to you several times:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXA–dj2-CY

          Now, let’s see your ‘it depends on what is is’ defense; I’m well used to lefty dishonesty.

          1. Not even remotely relevant. But haters gotta hate I suppose.

    5. Trump is emboldened now to abuse his power to damage any other Democrat,

      Only the Democrats arranging $1 million per year sinecures for their families, friends, and close associates.

    6. Thank god now you and your loser friends can run off to canada eh?

  9. A ) Trump was absolutely correct in seeking an investigation of corruption. There is no credible argument that the Biden family was not involved in the corruption and Joe and Hunter biden was spearheading the effort to derail an investigation.
    B) any objective analysis of the corruption was that it was common knowledge within the Obama administration.
    C) I concur that Trump could have proceeded in a manner that did not create an abuse of power or the perception of an abuse of power.
    D) The fact that a political opponent was a participant in the corruption does not make him immune from corruption, nor does it make it an abuse of power for political to investigate the corruption. The difference is that there was actual corruption in this case vs the bogus claims of russian inteference in the election.

    1. Lastly the lack of outrage by the democrats at the bidens corruption demonstrates that they were either complacient in the corruption or condoned the corruption.

      1. More like Joe_dull ass

        1. Folks, the danger of TDS is visible for all to see.

    2. A) Lie.
      B) Lie.
      C) Doubtful, given his belief that Article II of the Constitution permits him to do whatever he wants. Such power that nobody would believe, as he’s stated.
      D) Again, a lie.

      A distance lack of sources or citations. I wonder if that’s because none of what you wrote is true?

      There are 22 more letters in the alphabet. Would you like to see if you can manage 22 more lies?

      1. b) Lie

        It’s been well reported that Obama Administration officials felt that Biden’s sons position represented a conflict of interest.

        “A pair of White House officials testified during the House impeachment inquiry Tuesday that Hunter Biden’s sweetheart gig on the board of directors of a Ukrainian energy giant while his father was vice president appeared to be a conflict of interest.”

        1. Go ahead give cites. Otherwise no one should listen to you.

      2. You are using the Geobels defense, I see.

      3. Where do you get your information Jason, from Schiff? In case you were unaware, Mr. Schiff does have a tendency to make things up.

        1. Yes like whistle blowers

      4. Jason Cavanaugh) Boring, and an asshole.

      5. “(C)Doubtful, given his belief that Article II of the Constitution permits him to do whatever he wants. Such power that nobody would believe, as he’s stated.”

        Am I missing something, but wasn’t this statement made in the context of the firing of his own prosecutors in his own administration? A fact that’s true, but something that Trump opponents took out of context and blew up?

        Indeed, there are several times where the Press and Democrats deliberately took statements of President Trump out of context — something that’s relatively easy to do, in no small part because President Trump likes to exaggerate things for emphasis — and then consistently insist that “This is what President Trump *really* meant!”. It’s really hard to take opponents of Trump seriously when they do that.

    3. C. There will always be a “perception of the abuse of power” as long as true believers use their imagination:

  10. Perhaps the losing side next time might wait for some evidence of an impeachable offense rather than starting with the punishment and fishing for the offense?

    1. A number of Republican senators are already on record saying it was impeachable

      1. captcrisis
        January.31.2020 at 10:05 pm
        “A number of Republican senators are already on record saying it was impeachable”

        Hmm, ‘a number’ say something totally irrelevant to the comment!
        Need help with that goal post? Looks pretty heavy for a light-weight like you.

        1. Look it up. Both of us know what I’m talking about.

          1. Ironic coming from the guy whining for cites

      2. Using the salad fork to eat the main course is an “impeachable offense”. That doesn’t mean it’s wise to impeach for it.

  11. Sigh.

    I’d have more support here for Ilya’s position if he had used such severe terms to support President Obama’s impeachment. But he did not.

    1. It is the blatant hypocrisy that is grating. These guys should know better.

  12. One can always tell when a Volokh article is linked on the main page, because vermin always show up to spread nothing but lies.

    Apologies to actual vermin.

    1. TDS victim calls others “vermin”.

      1. You come when your name is called.

        How cute!

        1. You come when your disease and it’s effects are identified.
          How………………
          pathetic.

      2. He’a not referring to himself?

    2. Spreading lies Jason? Let’s see now. What was the name of that sleazy democrat representative who read the bs “pee” dossier into the congressional record? Oh, I remember…Adam Schiff.

  13. Thank you Captain Obvious.

  14. When the final “real” vote is taken next Wednesday (and assuming that the final vote will be 51-49…that will certainly be within 3 votes of the actual result), the totals in Congress of people who think/don’t think the president did something wrong And impeachable:
    a. Yes, bad and impeachable: 279 (230 H, 49 S)
    b. No, not at all bad (or, bad, but not impeachable): 248 (197 H, 51 S)

    I look forward to seeing how having more Congressmen think you’re guilty than not guilty (by a healthy margin) equals “exonerated.” I’m fully confident that a large number of VC commentators will wholeheartedly agree with this (mis)use of that word.

    I have no idea what voters will do in November. (Both conservative and liberal analysts are speculating that–by then–few people will be focused on the impeachment…we’ll instead be focusing on the usual suspects of economy, immigration, health care, etc.) But it will be fascinating to see, on the state level, if Senate Republicans are helped by their vote to suppress evidence, harmed by it, or it will have little or no effect on their elections as well. Time will tell, of course.

    1. I will bet against a final vote of 51-49. I bet more than 51.

    2. See Clinton, impeachment thereof.

    3. So….when will you and your friends want a second bite at that impeachment apple? POTUS Trump will be acquitted. Probably Wednesday afternoon.

      We’ll settle this one the good old-fashioned way, at the ballot box.

      1. November is gonna be mayhem

        1. A slaughter.

          It kind of looks like Democrats have realized no one they have will beat Trump so they’re saying: “Fuck It. I’m voting for Bernie.”

          1. No way. Anything they do involves telling themselves an emotionally satisfying story. Maybe they think “the arc of history” will bless them with some sort of catastrophic disaster that makes millions of Americans miserable this year. Miserable people vote D.

            If the Wuhan coronavirus hits the US swing states next fall and they can blame Trump for it, then that might work for them.

    4. Is this like how the Grand Jury finds that someone is guilty, and thus when the judge throws out the case because of a clear lack of evidence, the guy in question is guilty anyway?

      Sure, the House has to decide if the President is guilty enough to impeach — but unless they can convince a supermajority of the Senate that the President really does need to be removed, I fail to see why that majority matters, one way or another.

      1. EG
        From a legal sense, it matters not at all–I totally agree with you, if that was your point.

        My point was that, based on Trump’s past history, it’s totally in his character to say, after the Senate acquits, “I was totally exonerated.” It’s only in this sense that the majority matters. (The point would actually be the same–although slightly less powerful–if slightly more than half of all congressmen did not vote in an indication that the president had done something wrong.)

        I guess that there are people who, to this day, say that OJ Simpson was totally exonerated of murdering his wife. I suspect that most of us would say, “I don’t care a fig that that particular jury voted that guilt was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt. I saw and listened to the evidence, and I’ve personally concluded that he was guilty as sin.”

        I’m curious: what is the over/under on the number of Republican Senators who–now that they have aided in the conspiracy to keep the truth from the American people–will suddenly develop a conscience and a shred of integrity and will reveal that they are actually quite bothered by Trump’s actions. My guess is at least 5 such Republicans. Both Dems and R’s will each have several minutes to speak on the floor of the senate, and my guess is that these gutless worms will use that opportunity to try and rehab their reputation. Again, 5 is my guess. But might be as high as 10.

        1. SM11…..Conspiracy to keep the tuth from the American people? C’mon, that is weak. The House Managers had an overwhelming case. Really, that team said the same thing over and over again at least 634 times, just in case their argument did not sink in the first 633 times.

          The Senate, in their wisdom, accepted the overwhelming case presented by the House Managers, and decided witnesses were not needed. What is the problem?

          The vote happens Wednesday. Should be interesting.

          1. From a logical standpoint: If the prosecution has made a case in front of the grand jury (we have to pretend that, in this state, jurors are allowed to send notes to both counsel during a trial), and–at the subsequent actual trial–that jury is convinced of a defendant’s guilt with what was presented to the grand jury, then . . . if the jury sent this note to the judge/lawyers, the prosecution might say, “Okay, we’ve met our burden. We rest. Defense–present your case.”
            BUT, let’s say that the note to the judge says, “10 of us are convinced by the overwhelming evidence already presented before the trial started. But two jurors are insisting that they get to also hear firsthand witnesses…they are really bothered by the lack of this in the grand jury presentation.” And, of course, this note is passed on to the lawyers.
            The prosecutors now say, “No problem. We think those 2 jurors insistence is silly. But we’re happy to give you that first-hand testimony.” [It happens that, in this state, defendants are allowed to prevent these witnesses from testifying before any trial. Or, at least, push back that testimony 6 months, or 10 months, or 12 months, or 18 months (or longer!), and it’s only at the actual trial that a judge and jury can force that testimony.] “So, judge/jury, the only reason we did not present eyewitness testimony to the grand jury is that the defendant prevented us. Now that we’re at trial, you get to see ANY witness you want. In fact, in this state, it only takes a simple majority of you to force a witness to testify.”

            See. You can have what most rational people find to be overwhelming evidence, but *some* people (due to bad faith, or a conspiracy-prone mind, or just due to individual traits) still want to see something extra…something more than ‘overwhelming.’ And that is what happened with Trump. I (a Republican) think the case in the House was indeed overwhelming. And because I’ve done 500+ trials, I know that you do not *have* to have firsthand eyewitness testimony. But others can and do disagree with this standard. What is moronic (to me, anyway) is to say, “I will actively back the president in preventing witnesses from testifying, in preventing documents, in hiding as much of the trust from the American people as possible, AND, I’ll somehow try to convince people that this collusion is okay, because the House failed to call all the witnesses that I think it should have called . . . and the fact that this easily could have pushed impeachment past the actual election is a feature, not a bug, with this obstruction strategy.

            1. hiding as much of the *truth* from …

              [sigh. awful evil lack of edit button.]

            2. As much as I think that OJ is guilty as sin, I also stand by the ruling of the court, inasmuch it has exonerated him. In fact, I despise that he was found guilty by a preponderance of the evidence of murdering two people in a wrongful death suit — not that I disagree with the outcome, so much as I disagree with the fact that he can *still* be tried in this way, even after a criminal trial — it just smacks too much of double jeopardy for my taste!

              Furthermore, add in the dynamic that the Jury has the power to vote for witnesses, but the Prosecution insults the very members of the Jury who just might vote for witnesses, and yes, it becomes clear that this isn’t *exactly* a trial.

              (You have also ignored that a good portion of the Jury is determined to find President Trump guilty, no matter what — the bias goes both ways. For some reason, the only bias that’s bad in this is bias in favor of Trump. Bias against Trump seems to be fine and dandy.)

    5. “…if Senate Republicans are helped by their vote to suppress evidence….”

      What evidence did Senate Republicans suppress? The evidence that the House refused to look for by calling its own witnesses? That the evidence to which you refer?

      You might want to read up on the meaning of suppressing evidence. Suppressible evidence is evidence that was gotten impermissibly or illegally. What it is ~not~ is failing to go in a fishing expedition.

      1. Trump was invited to testify (as Clinton did). Why did he refuse? Explain.

        1. Clinton’s testimony was a deposition in conjunction with his sex assaults on women before and after he took office. Big difference.

    6. We don’t live in a police state. You don’t need to be “exonerated” from something that you have never been convicted of.

      As for what will happen in November, your tea leaf reading isn’t “fascinating”, it’s moronic. People can’t even agree on why Hillary lost last time, with the benefit of hindsight.

      If Democrats nominate a “democratic socialist”, it frankly won’t matter much what Trump does, that will dominate people’s choices and voting behavior. To many people (including me), just about anybody would be preferable to a democratic socialist.

      1. Well, you and I agree about what will happen if Sanders gets the nomination. (I can’t see myself voting for a Democratic nominee who is not even a Democrat . . . just on principle.)

  15. Ilya Simon is too myopic to see how laughably wrong he is, but I suspect it may take a lot less time than you would think for even him to understand this.

    Even the Obama Administration knew that the Biden Ukraine dealings were a problem and a conflict of interest. Just three days before Trump’s Ukraine call, The Washington Post published a lengthy expose of this scandal. Trump was probably sitting there with a copy of the Post on his desk as he spoke to Zelensky.

    1. Um, no they didn’t. Please explain what looks like a dishonest comment.

  16. On a more historical note, re Johnson.

    What Ilya misses here is…Radical Reconstruction failed. It failed, and it failed badly, and not due to Johnson, as the Grant Administration followed through quite well with Radical Reconstruction.

    Until in 1876 the Republicans decided the Presidency was worth more than Reconstruction, and ended reconstruction in a political trade with the Democrats.

    The question is, why did Radical Reconstruction fail? Probably because it pushed too far, too fast, and prompted a backlash. Moreover, it was used as a cover for a vast amount of government corruption in the conquered South, prompting a massive backlash even amount liberal White southerners. By effectively banishing whites. Would a more modest Reconstruction have worked better, one which was gradual, and in conjunction with the rest of the country (IE, the laws and culture in Kentucky, Maryland, Deleware, New Jersey, and New York)? Perhaps.

    1. Armchair, worked better for whom? I started school in a segregated, Jim Crow state—Maryland, which you mention as a constructive example. Later, after integration, I got to know some of the blacks who were nowhere in sight when we all started out. “Gradual,” had not worked better for them. Sudden integration, when it came, worked better for them.

      After writing those lines above, I have been sitting wondering if there is any point in saying more. Maybe there is. Do you understand that your comment is implicitly racist? How many blacks do you suppose would read what you wrote without concluding you are a racist? Are you ready to own that, or are you sure there is no racism in your heart, so anyone who reads what you say and concludes otherwise must be wrong?

  17. “Indeed, letting his misdeeds go unpunished would create a much more serious risk.”

    Except for the part where every single accusation lobbed has been groundless.

    1. Funny how Republican senators disagree and say that they were accurate.

      1. What Senators “say” is determined not by your interpretation of sound bites, but by their votes. If the vote to acquit, they are saying either that (1) the charges are bogus, or (2) that the charges are unproven.

        1. No. They could be saying what Lamar Alexander says his position is (and Sasse says that he speaks for lots of others): the charges are proven and unbogus (aren’t those the same thing?) but that they aren’t serious enough to justify removal.

  18. “Indeed, letting his misdeeds go unpunished would create a much more serious risk.”

    It’s been established in the US for more than 20 years that the commission of a crime by a sitting President isn’t necessarily impeachable. It simply blows my mind that the media coverage and the politicos are dodging that point.

    I mean, has perjury spiked since the late 90s?

    Americans have come to accept that their political “elites” (LOL) are a bunch of unprincipled amoral squids. Nothing we can do about it, when we replace one the replacement turns out to have been conditioned by the same system to be equally awful.

    But save me the tears over how terrible it is that a president – even one as appalling as Trump – got away with one.

    1. Bill Clinton was the ethics corrupter in chief.

        1. Shu tthe fuck up, with your “citation needed” and calling everyone a liar without providing the substantiation you insist on from others. You are not enhancing the dialogue here, you’re like a fly at the buffet table.

          1. Publius
            Opining that another person is not enhancing the dialogue while also telling that person to “shut the fuck up” in the same 2-sentence comment . . . I hope the irony did not escape you (it certainly did not escape anyone else who read your comment).

            1. I do not see how observing that someone isn’t enhancing the dialogue, is in conflict with telling that person to shut up.

              Granted, maybe the sentence should say “stop lying and start contributing meaningful things to the dialog or shut up”, but even so, I fail to see the irony of the comment at all.

  19. Means two things:

    Trump supporters will be behind the President no matter what given the slip-shod, purely partisan, sham impeachment perpetrated by the Democrats.

    Trump haters will continue to hate him, perhaps even more. Because a hater has to hate.

    1. “Trump supporters will be behind the President no matter what given the slip-shod, purely partisan, sham impeachment perpetrated by the Democrats.”

      I didn’t vote for him, but was happy the hag lost, if only to save us from one more RBG-clone SCOYUS justice. But it turns out that he’s actually done quite well by the US population:
      1) DeVos
      2) Gorsuch
      3) Kavanuagh
      4) Ajit Pai, end net price fixing
      5) Major reduction in the growth of regulations.
      6) Dow +35%
      7) Unemployment at 3.0% (!)
      8) The US Manufacturing Index soared to a 33 year high
      9) Got repeal of the national medical insurance mandate.
      10) Withdrawal from Paris climate agreement.
      11) Not sure about the tax reform; any “reform” that leaves me subisdizing Musk’s customers is not what I hoped for. Let Musk run a company for once. But cutting taxes is good.
      12) Pulled support for the $13 billion Hudson Tunnel project.
      13) More than 16,000 jobs have been cut from the federal leviathan
      14) MIGHT have a deal to de-nuke NK.
      15) Killed monbeam’s choo-choo
      16) Supported and signed First Step Act.
      And finally:
      17) Still making lefties steppin and fetchin like their pants is on fire and their asses are catchin’

      I still probably couldn’t stand him in person, but I’m not interested in whether he’s a ‘charming personality’; I want to see results. And he’s delivering.

      1. Misogyny on display here at Reason. Please Eugene take this blog out of here!

        1. But “misogyny” you mean the reference to Hillary?

          You’re right, that was uncalled for. he should have referred to Hillary as what she is: an admitted pathological liar and a war mongering psychopath.

  20. The Dems overplayed their hand. This will ensure the president’s reelection. What they should have done is to vote for censor.

    1. The presidential election isn’t even the interesting one at this point. It’s the House and Senate that will be interesting to watch.

      1. Agreed…particularly at the state legislative level. You know, the people who draw the congressional maps. The 2020 election casts the die for a decade.

    2. They should stop making up melodramatic stories. They should stop predicting doom. They should stop telling people the bogeyman is out to get them. They should stop name-calling everyone who has different priorities than them.

      1. This is the same media that talks about how Trump is a dictator in one story, but then praises the Courts for holding up his agenda with national injunctions. Seems to me if Trump was a true dictator he probably wouldn’t tolerate those pesky judges putting roadblocks in front of him.

        1. Trump could have ended the D fishing expedition also. And didn’t.

  21. At this point, I am convinced that a sitting President should be able to be removed for anything. ANYTHING. Heck, if the majority of the House tomorrow says “We Impeach President Trump because he combed his hair funny this week!” and two-thirds of the Senate says “Hey, you’re right! We won’t even have a trial! Welcome, President Pence!”, then so be it.

    HOWEVER, in order for this to be the standard, the House HAS to convince the Senate that it should be done. If the House cannot convince enough Senators that the President should be removed, he should NOT be removed.

    I, for one, have a hard time being convinced that President Trump should be removed for “abuse of power” when he was merely calling for an investigation into corruption — corruption that some dismiss as a “conspiracy theory”, but has video — VIDEO — to back up its existence. But even if it WAS an abuse of power, there’s the question of whether it even raises to the level of justifying the removal of a President. I’m convinced that it did not. Clearly, the House has not been able to convince enough Senators to do so, either.

    And the “contempt of Congress” charge? For something that every President has done since George Washington? Whatever happened to “Executive Privilege” — something that can, and has in times past, been canceled by the Supreme Court?

    Between the IRS scandal, Fast and Furious, the Steele Dossier (and resulting spying on a Presidential Candidate), Biden’s literal quid pro quo with Ukraine to get a prosecutor fired, how much abuse of power did Trump’s predecessor commit? Yet nary a peep from Democrats!

    And what about “contempt for Congress”? Did Eric Holder finally get around to turning in those documents about Fast and Furious — the ones where Holder was literally held in contempt of Congress for, because he never provided them?

    Perhaps President Trump would have been removed by now — had Democrats taken these things seriously when Obama was President.

    And maybe, just maybe, if Obama never reached the bar to justify an Impeachment (even when the House was majority Republican), President Trump hasn’t reached that bar, either.

    If you want impeachment to mean something — to send a message to Presidents to behave — you shouldn’t have started with President Trump. You should have started much, much sooner.

    1. As I keep saying the way to go about reining in the executive branch is to start impeaching cabinet officers, and undersecretaries.

      For instance Eric Holder for Fast and Furious, or Loretta Lynch for the tarmac meeting. Or Mick Mulvaney for OMB’s handling of the Ukrainian aid.

      It will lower the stakes, but still draw a line.

      1. That would seem to be even more difficult if one cannot prove an underlying crime at a level that would win conviction in court.

      2. Indeed. It’s sad that we don’t consider impeachment of bureaucrats far more often than we currently do. As it currently stands, they have almost no checks on their power, and they sorely need some.

    2. epsilon given: But even if it WAS an abuse of power, there’s the question of whether it even raises to the level of justifying the removal of a President.

      You can’t remember when it was easy to find Republican Senators who said, of course it would justify removal, if there were conclusive evidence that it happened? Even the Republicans’ constitutional-lawyer witness was one of those.

      Then, after testimony and other disclosures erased doubts about what happened, those guys all vanished into the, “not serious enough to justify removal camp.” Or at least the Senators did; not sure what the witness thinks now.

      Since this imbroglio got going, I have been watching more Fox, to get experience to judge whether the right wing has gone stark crazy, or is just being kept rationally ignorant. If nothing else, that experience has clued me in to the Fox rhetorical style. Like a lot of the others here, your comment is pretty much written in that Foxy style. Maybe vary your news sources?

      1. And I’m sure you could find Democrats who thought that President Clinton should have been removed, but at the last minute decided that his indiscretions in the White House didn’t justify removal after all. So what? Isn’t the purpose of this entire process to determine whether or not the President should be removed? And shouldn’t the process result in Senators changing their minds as the process proceeds?

        And why are you so caught up on Republican hypocrisy, when there’s plenty on the Democrat side as well, starting with their claim that “We have enough evidence to convince you that President Trump needs to be removed from office, but if you, the Senate, don’t call more witnesses for us, you’re just covering for the President.”? Why are you so determined to pretend that only the Republicans have played a role in making these impeachment hearings a farce?

        And where were you, when President Obama was guilty of far greater examples of abuse of power? Did you ever suggest that *he* be impeached?

  22. Amused at folks crying about Trump’s immorality — surely moral-fluidity is THE emerging civil-rights frontier of the 21st Century.

    Why exactly did that wall exist now?

    1. To keep brown people out. That’s enough for you.

      1. If by the racist term “brown people” you mean “Mexicans” and “South Americans”, you are absolutely right: that is the purpose. What’s your point?

  23. Somin’s head is so far up his own ass, he can still taste Thanksgiving dinner. TDS, indeed.

    1. Focus on the bright side. Most of the other Conspirators are still reliable clingers.

      1. And you’re still a reliable bigot!

  24. Everybody knows that if this exact Ukraine fact pattern were happening, except with a Republican House pursuing the impeachment of a Democrat President, that all those wailing and rending their garments over “Presidential abuse of power” would be excoriating the House over an “egregiously naked partisan attack on the Presidency.”

    The idea that this President was the first to use his power against the political opponents is laughable. I doubt this would crack the top 1000 examples in terms of egregiousness, The Obama administration’s use of the IRS immediately comes to mind. (Not to mention “Crossfire Hurricane”). Elliot Roosevelt, son of FDR, said, “My father may have been the originator of the concept of employing the IRS as a weapon of political retribution.” And FDR’s successors weren’t shy about emulating him in that example. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg historically…

    1. If you can cite an example of Obama — or ANY prior President — extorting dirt on political opponents from foreign countries, then I’ll listen. Still waiting though.

      1. captcrisis
        February.1.2020 at 1:10 am
        “If you can cite an example of Obama — or ANY prior President — extorting dirt on political opponents from foreign countries, then I’ll listen. Still waiting though.”

        Oh, oh, look! captbullshit is trying to define the issue such that no one can find a problem: Biden wasn’t POTUS! And neither was the DNC! And Obo only learned about it from the papers.
        Hint: no one here is fooled; stuff it up your ass, you pathetic piece of shit.

      2. I can’t find an example of Trump “extorting dirt on political opponents” from anybody.

        And let’s be clear: the “dirt” we are talking about here is possible massive corruption by a former VP and now presidential candidate; that’s the kind of dirt the American people ought to know about before an election, precisely because if there is actual dirt, such a person should not be president.

      3. Besides the opposite — extorting foreign countries to hide dirt on political friends — why limit things to just this type of abuse of power? Abuse of power is abuse of power, after all.

        And I could find a biggie on the domestic front: making up a dossier on a political opponent out of whole cloth, and using that fraudulent dossier in FISA court to get a warrant, to use Federal resources to spy on said political opponent. This is something that Obama did.

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  26. Sevo
    February.1.2020 at 12:33 am

    I’m on the west coast; more than willing to call lefty bullshit for a while yet.
    C’mon Jason, captcrisis, Sebastian; you’ve all been caught posting bullshit. Let’s see more of it; there’s a search engine right there to prove you’re still lying…

    1. I’ve asked for citations for the wild assertions made here and haven’t gotten any. Except those that prove my point

      1. captcrisis
        February.1.2020 at 1:07 am
        “I’ve asked for citations for the wild assertions made here and haven’t gotten any. Except those that prove my point”

        You pathetic piece of lefty shit, look up-thread where your bullshit is called below your lies at 6:21.
        And stuff it up your ass so your head has some company.

      2. It’s really enjoyable calling lefty assholes on their bullshit!

        1. Thank you, Sevo, for regularly demonstrating Prof. Volokh’s shabby, partisan hypocrisy with respect to censorship.

          Artie Ray Lee Wayne Jim-Bob would thank you, too, if he had not been banned by Prof. Volokh for making fun of clingers.

          1. Hate to say it, and I disagreed when some complained about it immediately upon arriving at Reason, but this blog is moving in a not great direction towards contentless right-wing wankery.

            Both the comments and the posts.

            1. I’ve been here for over 10 years and don’t see that.

              I see a lot of left-wing bigoted blow hard progressives like the idiot you agree with and others crashing here . Sure, there are some conservatives – and maybe ‘right-wing’ takes but not like I see at Breitbart for example.

              Some writers seem to have decidedly taken a left turn though in general under Trump. In my view, with superficial arguments.

              Personally, in short, I disagree.

              I think this whole impeachment thing was pure banana republic bull shit rooted in partisan politics and not principles.

              And know what else I think? Trump has passed more meaningful policies that directly impacted Americans positively than the two previous Presidents COMBINED.

              They’ve wanted to pinch this guy from before the election so to me this is an example of them projecting (we all know how dirty and corrupt Biden, Hillary, Holder and Obama were let’s get real since the standard of burden of proof has been all but obliterated in this circus) and not accepting a lawful Presidential result.

              They’ve corroded or coarsened public discourse to levels yet seen riling up people over utter lies in Russian delusions and Ukraine back scratching. Political intrigue that have afflicted ALL governments (here a stink was made about Trump but actual recordings of Biden bragging and Obama talking flexibility and barely an outcry from Reason) in the West in the 20th century and beyond and before.

              On the balance, scale and scope of things? This is not where the buck should stop. If this be, then a lot of people and politicians have some answering to do.

              Basically and in closing. I fricken hate everyone in this sorry, pathetic, sad banana republic saga of misdirection, lies and selfish grand standing. And if I have to see George Stephanopoulos’s (how this Democratic operative has a job that’s alleged to be ‘neutral and objective’ is beyond me. I laugh my ass off at the sheer arrogance and hypocrisy of broadcast news) mug one more time cutting into my Court TV I’m gonna smear Horta all over my screen.

              There’s no question in my mind – as probably one of the few foreigners who read The Federalist Papers – Madison, Jefferson and even Hamilton would not approve of these shenanigans.

              If this take makes me ‘right wing’ so be it.

              For all this? I hope Americans put Trump back in as a big ‘Fuck you’ too everyone for their spectacular hypocrisy.

              1. The funny part? I’m old enough to remember Trump in the 80s. Never liked the guy. But the strange way and manner in which people have over reacted with hysterics about him (and I’m not saying there’s no room for criticism and introspection about some of his rhetoric and actions) makes me look at their own motives and possible projection at play. I listen to people with ‘TDS’ and I’m stunned and appalled at the lack of self-awareness. They’ll accuse of him of stuff they tolerated and never said a word about under Obama.

                That’s where I’m coming from.

              2. Kinda make it pretty clear you don’t see it because you are part of the problem.

            2. Sarcastr0
              February.1.2020 at 8:10 am
              “Hate to say it, and I disagreed when some complained about it immediately upon arriving at Reason, but this blog is moving in a not great direction towards contentless right-wing wankery.
              Both the comments and the posts.”

              Oh, my, aren’t you the height of disinterest!
              Your lefty wing bullshit is pretty tiresome, as is your constant display of TDS.
              As for that pathetic troll Rev, the least said the better.

            3. BTW, I notice neither one of you has bothered to respond to the take-down of captcrisis claim that ‘Biden didn’t do it’, and therefore there was no need for Trump to investigate anything.
              The both of you are much happier whining about having to read things you don’t like instead of dealing with reality.
              Pathetic…..

              1. Let’s talk about politicians who behave as if they’re above the law for a second.

                In a long career of nothing but sleaziness, corruption and arrogant behaviour, Hilary’s latest act is to refuse to be served papers from Gabbard.

                Think about it. Think about how the country avoided a big mess of lawlessness had Crooked Hilary become President.

                She’d make Trump look like a piker. She’d be all Vlad the Impaler compared to him.

                1. Lets focus on hating the other side, since that’s all people in this blog want to think about nowadays.

                  1. “Lets focus on hating the other side, since that’s all people in this blog want to think about nowadays.”

                    No, you pathetic piece of shit, let’s focus on the facts. Respond to the links above, or STFU.

                    1. No, this is about avoiding the OP by talking about something else. These are easily debunked BS; they’ve been debunked on this blog plenty of times.

                      But these days whatever the original post is about, posters just come in posting the same BS over and over. I don’t know what need this is feeding, but it’s not the need for discourse.

                    2. You say that this is totally bunked BS, Sarcrastr0, but I remember hearing Comey’s press conference on Hillary, and thinking “Oh, yeah, he’s going to recommend prosecution” only to be dumbfounded that he recommended that charges not be pursued.

                      Hillary, throughout her life, has skirted the line of legality. Some of the stuff she’s done has been legal but awful. Some of it has been illegal but ignored. Yet you want us to believe she’s pure as the wind-driven snow, and that she wouldn’t have done anything naughty had she only become President.

              2. We’ve been over this ground about Biden over and over and over again.
                Your crowing we haven’t addressed your latest favorite comment is a sign you just ignore what you don’t like.

                1. “Sarcastr0
                  February.1.2020 at 5:49 pm
                  “We’ve been over this ground about Biden over and over and over again….”

                  Yes, and TDS victims like you have ignored the facts over and over. Do you think that suggests that you are other than a fucking lefty ignoramus?

  27. “While Trump will almost certainly be acquitted within the next few days, impeachment might still damage him politically. ”

    Right you are, Ilya–he’ll probably be forced to serve a second term for the same salary he’s accepted his first term.

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  29. In my view, the acquittal of Trump will be a grave error, because he not only abused his power, but also violated the Constitution and committed at least one serious federal crime. As my co-blogger David Post explains, Trump is even more clearly guilty on the second count in the articles of impeachment: obstruction of Congress.

    Obviously, the certainty with which Somin states this analysis as true and factual is absurd. Even if he holds this belief, he should be circumspect enough to recognize that (1) there are strong counterarguments, and (2) many experts don’t agree with him.

    What Somin demonstrates here is that the law really has whatever meaning that a politically motivated lawyer may read into it. If someone like Somin were actually sitting as a judge, people would be found guilty if that meshed with his ideology. Legal minds in the USSR and fascist Germany no doubt operated the same way.

    The fact that someone like him is associated with the Cato institute shows you really how anti-libertarian and illiberal the Cato institute has become (if it was ever anything other than a progressive institution to begin with). I suppose his thesis about voter irrationality and its consequences for democracy should have been a hint, since that is essentially the progressive complaint about democracy and the kind of justification people like Hillary and Krugman use to lord over the country.

    1. Dude, he said it’s his view.

      Asking him for humility followed by your own cocksure analysis not so couched is quite hypocritical.

      1. The difference is that Somin’s wrong and Noyb is right.

        1. Both ipse dixit and irrelevant, since Noyb chose to make a tone argument.

          1. And you’re tone deaf.

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  31. Prof. Somin says “impeachment might still damage him politically.”

    I find it remarkable that lefties can witness objective reality and wrings their hands publicly over speculation that the opposite is so, because it is that opposite that they prefer.

    1. Somin isn’t a lefty. Unless you define the right as supporting Trump and nothing else.

      Which I guess you kinda just admitted you do.

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  33. It is not like temporarily withholding funds emptied the Ukrainian defense fund pipeline.
    It would have been a reduction in funds in the future pipeline.

    The Democrats’ expressed desire for a war with Russia going back before the 2016 campaign may very well have provoked the Russian bear and may have already contributed to more deaths in Ukraine/Crimea than a recent hypothethical reduction in Ukrainian defense funds. BTW how well did the Democrats provide Ukrainian defense funds 2008-2016?

    1. If I recall correctly, the United States had already sent $1Billion to the Ukraine, deposited in a bank account held by someone who was forbidden to come to the United States over concerns with Ukrainian corruption, and that money disappeared into thin air.

      Yet we’re supposed to gladly send even more money to the Ukraine before confirming that they’ve put some effort into cleaning up their corruption first.

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