The Volokh Conspiracy

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FAQ about my New York Times Op-Ed

Answering some of the most common questions

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Yesterday, the New York Times published my Op-Ed about the impeachment trial. I received a lot of feedback. This post will answer some of the most commonly-asked questions I received. I apologize that I can't respond to all emails, comments, and tweets. I still haven't checked my Twitter mentions. Indeed, I am using this opportunity as an excuse to wind down my Twitter usage. The site truly is a waste of time, and seldom yields any productive discourse. I removed the app from the home screen of my phone. Let's see how long this detente lasts.

1. Why didn't you write about X?

The Times asked me to write 900 words. The final version is about 1,000 words. Space is an important constraint on all op-eds. I have a very limited frame to convey an intricate positions. I spent considerable time laboring over nearly every word. I had wanted to develop some issues further, but the Times cut them out. The editors also asked me to talk about a few other issues that I would have preferred to exclude. Writing an Op-Ed requires making cuts, additions, and compromises. Given unlimited space, I could have written a book about the issues. I probably will one day–I am rarely criticized for not writing enough.

2. You didn't write about X so you must be disingenuous!

This criticism is one of the most common, and disheartening responses I received. There are many, many reasons why an Op-Ed includes some arguments, and not others. Question #1 above addresses some of the more practical rationales. Ultimately, the criticism of "Why did you write about X" boils down to "Why didn't you write the Op-Ed I would have written." There is a really simple answer: the New York Times invited me, and not you, to write the Op-Ed.

I wanted to convey very specific positions in a very limited space. It is not conceivable to simply "mention" some other argument in passing. That drive-by analysis will leave the reader uncertain, and would make my analysis incomplete. Any argument I offer has to be fully developed, or not offered at all. (The difficulties of writing a 900-word op-ed about something as complicated as impeachment should be manifest). There are lots of other issues I would have liked to discuss. But I did not have time to address the second article of impeachment. Or the Impoundment Control Act. Or the GAO decision. I decided to fully explore one aspect of the House's case–the relationship between the "abuse of power" article and "personal political benefit."

3. Only a partisan hack could write this op-ed. 

I view the phrase "partisan hack" as an academic version of "deplorable"–a person could only hold a belief because he is blinded by partisan rage. I encourage anyone reading this post to remove the phrase "partisan hack" from their discourse. Moreover, I chuckle when people use this label for me. The Op-Ed criticized Trump and his lawyers, but said his conduct does not rise to the level of impeachment:

Mr. Trump's lawyers respond that the call was "perfectly normal." Yes, that phrase actually appears in the brief. Regrettably, parts of the brief are written in a far-too-political tone. . . .

As a policy matter, I disagree with Mr. Trump's decision to ask for an investigation of the Bidens. Even if warranted, it should have been avoided at all reasonable costs. The Republic would have been fine if we never learned more about Burisma.

The Times was attracted to my position precisely because I have been critical of Trump's actions, but think the articles do not warrant removal.

4. Trump wasn't interested in Ukraine actually investigating Ukraine; he only wanted an announcement of the investigation.

My co-blogger Jon Adler raised this question, which I take to be a very serious point. It is one I have given considerable thought, and have discussed at some length with colleagues. I offered a tentative response in an interview for Law and Crime:

President Trump may have reasonably believed that merely asking for an announcement of an investigation would be sufficient. That is, he would not need to follow through and supervise how the Ukrainians manage their affairs. The announcement would line up all the principals in place, and the foreign government could conduct the investigation as they see fit. Or he may have changed his mind after the phone call about what was actually needed. Priorities do shift.

The more difficult question is what is the appropriate burden of proof for an impeachment conviction. It is not Trump's burden to show that he wanted an investigation, and not merely an announcement of an investigation. I think it is the House's burden to show that Trump did not want an actual investigation, but only the announcement. I think the evidence does show he wanted an announcement about an investigation, and the evidence is silent about the follow-up. That absence of evidence, in my mind, is not sufficient to convict. We can certainly draw an inference that he didn't care about the actual investigation, and it is a reasonable inference, but not enough in my mind to remove a President.

Much of the impeachment trial turns on drawing inferences from incomplete facts. After all, Trump has refused to allow his subordinates to respond to subpoenas. I think a Senator could draw an adverse inference from this behavior. I would be hesitant for doing so, for reasons I advanced in an earlier response to Ilya.

5. It doesn't matter if other politicians act to promote their re-election campaigns. Trump withheld foreign aid in violation of the Impoundment Control Act. 

Specifics matter here. Far too many commentators casually write that GAO concluded that President Trump violated the Impoundment Control Act. This claim lacks precision. The GAO found that the Office of Management and Budget violated the Impoundment Control Act. Not the President. This difference matters.

Let me state my answer differently. If the President violated the Impoundment Control Act, we would not need to consider the nebulous charge of "abuse of power." Running afoul of a statute could itself be a ground for impeachment. For example, President Johnson was impeached for violating the Tenure of Office Act. But the House did not make the specific claim in the Articles against Trump. Instead, they relied on the nebulous charge of "abuse of power," premised on a wide range of activities.

There could be grounds for impeachment with respect to the ICA. Seth Barrett Tillman and I flagged this issue on Lawfare more than a month ago:

In the impeachment context, Trump's liability could result from knowingly failing to take care that his subordinates faithfully executed the law. We say "knowingly" because it is unreasonable to expect any president to be intimately familiar with every action taken by every subordinate. Additionally, Trump may violate his oath of office if he personally directed others not to make a timely transfer of funds with an intent to block the statute's implementation.

As of now, we have only indirect evidence that the President ordered the hold. I think it is reasonable to draw that inference that he issued such an order, but we have not heard from principals who actually heard that order from Trump. (They have not been permitted to testify.) We do not have evidence that Trump knowingly ordered his subordinates to violate the statute. At most, I think it is safe to presume Trump thought ordering such a hold was lawful. GAO, and Congress, may disagree. But I think you need a higher burden of proof to establish a violation of the Oaths Clause.

6. You are normalizing Trump's dangerous behavior.

The President is being impeached based on specific legal arguments. Those arguments are either right or wrong. I view my role in this process as limited: offer my opinion on whether those arguments are right or wrong. I freely concede that imposing a higher burden of proof would allow this President, and future Presidents, to engage in abusive behavior. On this point, Ilya Somin and I largely agree. I think this tradeoff is justified. Ilya does not. The potential for future abuse does not eliminate the present-day debate about the validity of these articles.

7. You still haven't persuaded me.

I am not surprised. My goal is not to persuade people. Truly. I recognize that on most issues, people have already made up their minds. Especially on a polarized issue like impeachment, most people are dug in. I do not write to change minds. I write to articulate my position and plainly and cogently as I can. If people see a new perspective, but remain unpersuaded, I will claim victory.

Far too many people (academics especially) view persuasion as something of a blood sport. They will stop at nothing to convince other people they are wrong. Most Twitter threads, or list-serve exchanges, that go beyond two or three volleys, reflect this dynamic.

The past three years have taught me a lot about myself, and how I view others. I have tried, quite consciously, to dial back my rhetoric, proceed deliberately, and avoid assuming the worst in people. I always try to take a step back and recognize that people can hold different views in good faith. I will leave you with a mantra I often repeat: "I do not know nearly as much as I think I do." Whenever you become irate at what someone else said, pause, repeat these words of wisdom, and then consider how to proceed.

NEXT: Today in Supreme Court History: January 24, 1968

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158 responses to “FAQ about my New York Times Op-Ed

  1. HA!

    You mention space constraint but YOU wasted space on the Johnson/Marshall story (which really was NOT pertinent).

    YOU wasted space writing: “. . . the House of Representatives has transformed presidential impeachment from a constitutional parachute — an emergency measure to save the Republic in free-fall — into a parliamentary vote of ‘no confidence,’” as if the only time impeachment should be used is when we’ve already reached crises mode.

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

    1. Well I guess when you start getting invited to write Opeds for the NYT then you can show us all how it’s done.

      But one thing you should probably consider is the Times has probably run north of a hundred opinion pieces on the impeachment, so one reason they would ask Blackman to write an Op-ed is to get something new to keep their readers interested and engaged. You may think it’s more effective to hammer the same old points without digressing, but maybe it’s not either effective or engaging.

      1. “so one reason they would ask Blackman to write an Op-ed is to get something new to keep their readers interested and engaged”

        It’s probably similar to the reason the Washington Post publishes the work of Gary Abernathy — a misguided stab at diversity.

        In Abernathy’s case, at least, it’s ‘we already publish plenty of reasoned insight from qualified authors, so let’s leaven that with something from a nondescript right-winger in the backwater.’

        Sounds goofy, but a few decades ago it was popular in newsrooms to send a reporter to the streets to interview cab drivers, hairdressers, and junior high schoolers for a ‘man in the street’ sidebar concerning the strategy the United States should adopt in nuclear weapons treaty negotiations.

        1. It’s a sweet job for Abernathy though. A typical column defends Trump’s latest blundering outrage, justifies that defense without any actual reason or argument – laying everything off his fellow mid-westerners (“that’s just the way the heartland rolls”) – and then tosses in some sneers against Hollywood elites.

          His damn columns must practically write themselves

          1. Sweet, in the sense it’s the closest that guy could ever come to being associated with real journalism, but as a “job?” I figure he gets three or four hundred bucks every couple of weeks. It’s been decades since I worked for a newspaper, but if I took that gig I would lose money on it every time I wrote something.

    2. You mention space constraint but YOU wasted space on the Johnson/Marshall story (which really was NOT pertinent).

      It also could be that you skimmed his post too quickly and missed: “The editors also asked me to talk about a few other issues that I would have preferred to exclude.”

  2. These posts are remarkably thin skinned about random commenters.
    But you managed to wedge some substance in there.

    It is quite a coincidence that Trump’s nonstandard practice of requiring the announcement over the investigation happens to directly align with what someone who wanted dirt on his political opponent for personal reasons. And what the investigation was about, considering all the other areas of corruption in the Ukraine. And not going through the DoJ.

    At some point, your concentration on each tree as insufficient becomes willful blindness of the forest in front of you.

    I’m also surprised that you think allowing a President to abuse their power is a fine price to pay in order to prevent spurious impeachments, considering the numbers required for removal. Well, not really surprised, but come on, man, look at the implications of what you’re arguing for! It’s not very limited government, I’ll tell you that.

    1. If impeachment is so important why isn’t everyone calling for Obama’s impeachment for bombing brown civilians and sending pallets of cash to terrorists?

      “It’s not very limited government, I’ll tell you that.”

      1. I got this one, Sarcastro. Nobody is calling for impeachment of President Obama because President Obama left office in 2016. As you seem a bit confused, today is January 25, 2020. Make note of that because tomorrow it will be different.

        Also for your records, Donald Trump was elected president in November of 2016 and took the oath of office in late January, 2017.

        1. Hah! It’s January 24th. Self-burn.

          1. Will we ever get an edit function? Would it do any good for everyone to band together and boycott all partisan bickering until we get one? As with the women in Lysistrata, I’m sure our demands would be immediately be met….

          2. No it’s the 25th over here in Asia now, happy Chinese New Year.

          3. You get credit for recognizing and acknowledging that point, OtisAH.

        2. Nobody is calling for impeachment of President Obama because President Obama left office in 2016. As you seem a bit confused, today is January 25, 2020.

          If you’re going to mock people for being “confused,” you might want to do it over something that wasn’t just presented here about a month ago as plausible.

    2. If you think the his posts are thin skinned you should read some of the commentators when there is some pushback.

      I can’t count the times I’ve been called a clinger, and I don’t even know what I’m supposed to be clinging to, I have a holster for my gun. Maybe it’s my phone, and I guess that’s probably accurate, but I’m still not sure what he means by it.

    3. In other words:

      All responses that aren’t agreements show you’re “remarkably thin skinned”.

      If you answer criticism, you have a bad temperament.

    4. These posts are remarkably thin skinned about random commenters. But you managed to wedge some substance in there.

      Josh is the Pat Cipollone of David Bernsteins.
      (You’re welcome, Josh. I’m sure you consider that a compliment, and to some extent I suppose it is.)

  3. After all, Trump has refused to allow his subordinates to respond to subpoenas. I think a Senator could draw an adverse inference from this behavior. I would be hesitant for doing so, for reasons I advanced in an earlier response to Ilya.

    I just reread that response, and did not see your reasons for refusing to draw that inference.

    1. I’d assume the hesitation would be because Trump only did that after a couple years of abusive investigations.

      1. The only investigation he was subjected to before now was Mueller’s, who let him off easy. Mueller never asked to question any witnesses with knowledge.

        1. lol… only…

          Two years and 40 million dollars of taxpayer money… supposedly Putin’s puppet, literally hitler, also supposedly a complete moron, and after all that, nothingburger.

          Only…

          Isn’t this connected to a libertarian website?

        2. Wait, what? How much time did he spend with the Presidents council Don McGahn?

          The only thing Mueller let Trump off easy was letting him ask written questions, and that was only because Mueller and his team were unable to articulate any questions they couldn’t resolve thru other sources of in writing.

        3. That is simply not so, captcrisis. He was investigated by the FBI starting before the election. How could you have missed that?

          1. Clinton willingly testified under oath. Why not Trump? As to things that were actually matters of state?

            1. What drugs are you taking?

      2. (1) Did presidents before Trump have the right to throw a blue-faced temper tantrum because of “a couple years of abusive investigations”

        (2) Will presidents after Trump have that right?

        Specifically, the right to ban all cooperation with the legislative and judiciary branches of government without even an attempt to claim executive privilege. There’s always danger in defining norms down to the lowest possible denominator. Are you sure you want to do that for a sleazy huckster like Trump?

        1. I haven’t seen the temper tantrum, but previous Presidents HAVE ordered their subordinates not to comply with subpoenas, only relenting after they lose the subsequent litigation.

          1. Brett, have you seen a president refuse all cooperation as opposed to specific subordinates or documents. Have you seen a president refuse all cooperation without any specific reference to executive privilege? Do you think that’s constitutionally permissible, particularly after a vote of impeachment? Is that the standard you want to see in the future, even with a Democratic president?

            1. Yes, but the President had ample reasons for refusing cooperation: He looked down Pennsylvania avenue sized up Pelosi, Schiff and Nadler and knew he could roll them.

              1. More to the point, Schiff was refusing to allow Presidential counsel attend the hearings in order to assert Executive Privilege and Executive Immunity – first asserted by George Washington.

          2. “I haven’t seen the temper tantrum”

            . . . says the guy who appears never to have heard of Twitter.

          3. I haven’t seen the temper tantrum,

            Yes you have. You just consider them cute.

            1. Speaking of temper tantrums, the latest news is ABC possesses a recording by Lev Parnas (or Igor Furman) from a meeting with Trump on 30 April 2018. Trump is heard saying this about Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch :

              “Get rid of her Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Okay? Do it.”

              Some points about this :

              1. April of 2018 ?!? That pushes Trumpian sleaze on Ukraine back further than any previous known date.

              2. Our president has repeatedly lied about his association with the crooks Parnas & Furman. These are clumsy stupid lies, falling one after the other as each one is disproved in turn. Of course, even DJT’s most abject bootlicking supporters know he’s a compulsive liar. Even so, this latest disclosure is pretty stark.

              3. Please remember, Trump isn’t directing his Secretary of State to ask Ambassador Yovanovitch for her resignation. Instead he’s telling two low grade thugs to “take her out”

              4. Kinda like the Ukrainian extortion in general. DJT’s lickspittles claim it as his “normal prerogative”, but can’t explain why he himself treated it like a criminal enterprise.

              5. And Parnas / Furman did treat it like a criminal endeavor, funneling illegal campaign contributions to former congressman Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) to purchase an anti-Yovanovitch letter from Sessions to Pompeo.

              6. The majority of Americans who think Trump’s actions on Ukraine were sleazy and unethical will probably go up a few more percentage points. More GOPers have to worry how they’ll look after the Senate trial ends, given the evidence of Trump’s misdeeds will continue to ooze out.

              7. For all that I actually have some sympathy for Trump here. Corrupt Ukrainian officials wanted Yovanovitch gone because of her anti-corruption campaign. Giuliani wanted Yovanovitch gone because he was peddling his “services” to those same officials, even while trying to buy Biden dirt from them. Parnas & Furman wanted Yovanovitch gone because they were trying to horn into the Ukrainian energy market, and thought she was in the way.

              But Trump? He probably wanted her gone just because people told him she was saying bad things about him. Because he’s an moron, as easy to manipulate as a dim-witted child……

      3. Nothing abusive, Brett.

        As captcrisis says, Mueller let him off easy.

        Read the report.

        1. Mueller didn’t “let off” anyone; there was simply nothing there to pursue.

          1. It’s kind of funny. The clearest end point of Mueller’s investigation was his appearance before Congress on 24 July 2019, when Mueller testified the investigation found no evidence Trump colluded with the Russian effort to aid his election.

            The next day, 25 July, Trump attempted to extort collusion from a foreign government to aid his reelection. Of course attempts to strong-arm the Ukrainians had been underway for months before that, but the juxtaposition between those two days is pretty unsettling. Three points :

            (1) That’s how a criminal’s mind operates: Leave the courthouse one day, start a new scam the next.

            (2) It’s pretty clear evidence if Trump isn’t held accountable he’ll just continue his abuses. Tell that to a Republican today…

            (3) Maybe we’re just a phone transcript away from knowing the whole Russian story. Certainly the people who said Trump would never collude with a foreign government for election advantage look like idiots now.

            1. A nitpick, but it supports your point (3): Mueller didn’t say there was no evidence Trump colluded with the Russians. He said there was insufficient evidence to allege a conspiracy.

          2. Nothing to pursue, and he still threw in that gratuitous “not exonerated” line, despite the fact it wasn’t within his responsibility or power to “exonerate” anyone.

            1. The “not exonerated” line applied only to obstruction of justice, where there were things to pursue. By implication, he was exonerated on collusion. Additionally in my opinion, his likely obstruction of justice didn’t rise to an impeachable offense because he was motivated by stopping the narrative that Russia helped him win, and doing so is in no way corruption of our government.

              It wasn’t until the Ukraine affair, that I changed my mind on impeachment.

    2. I just heard Lindsey Graham saying he wouldn’t advise any president to allow his NatSec advisor, Chief of Staff, or SOS to testify. I think he is getting fully backed up on that by all 53 GOP senators too, so no adverse references there.

      1. Lindsey Graham can kiss my ass.

        He’s a spineless Trump toady, who didn’t even have the guts to stay in the chamber when the Democrats played clips of his opinions during the Clinton impeachment.

        What a POS that guy is.

        1. I doubt seriously Lindsey Graham will ever get his nose out Trump’s ass long enough to kiss yours.

          1. Why should he? He likes it. Trump likes it. Neither has anything better going.

        2. “Democrats played clips of his opinions during the Clinton impeachment”

          The little poisoned toad Nadler has the same type of video showing a reversal from Clinton.

          1. Everyone still in Washington has flip-flopped their opinion from the Clinton impeachment, why should Graham be any different than Pelosi, Schumer and Nadler?

            Everyone except McConnell, he thought the Clinton impeachment rules were good then,and was part of the 100-0 vote, and he still thinks they are good.

            1. McConnell claimed he would follow the Clinton rules, changed them, then relented after being call on it. This is well known and makes your statement a falsehood, you bigoted rube.

    3. He didn’t want to? Since when does someone have to justify not inferring something that’s factually unknown?

      1. That’s the only reason I can think of.

        And normally, refusing to draw an obvious inference from plain facts, is a pretty good indicator that you’ve prejudged everything,

        1. Or that you care not to condemn people unfairly.

        2. The problem with that, Bernard, is that the Democrats seem to think they are entitled to their own facts. And those are often at odds with reality.

          1. No Publius.

            The Democrats have presented a mountain of real facts. The Republicans have presented utter bullshit – not a fact there. All they do is piss and moan and tell lies.

            Cippoline even claimed Republicans weren’t allowed in the impeachment hearings. That tells you how respectful of facts they are. Now Blackburn is questioning Vindman’s patriotism. That’s typical of how the GOP has fought this: lies, stupidity, personal attacks.

            1. No they haven’t. Schiff and Nadler have been caught misquoting and selectively editing quotes to manufacture so-called “evidence.” They are liars, and they have been caught numerous times. The House hearings were a sham, with Schiff, et.al., stopping witnesses from answering questions from Republicans, and Republicans not allowed to bring their own witnesses. Utter bullshit.

              By the way, the Republicans haven’t had their chance yet, never having had it in the House, and only coming up next week in the Senate.

              1. No one has been caught doing either of those things, Publius.

    4. There.Were.No.Subpoenas.Issued by at least the HPSCI.

      Read what everyone is purporting to classify as a “subpoena”. They weren’t threatening court action to enforce them, instead merely threatening finding Trump in contempt of Congress. No legal poena (penalty) threatened => not a subpoena.

      Moreover, there had been no delegation at that time of subpoena power in an impeachment inquiry by the entire House. There had been for A1S1 Oversight, but neither committee had oversight authority over foreign relations, and if they had had, it still didn’t matter, because Congress only has oversight authority over agencies and departments that they created. The Presidency was created by the same Constitution that allocates power to Congress, and thus is not subject to Congressional Oversight.

      To summarize – these two House committees did not have subpoena power over the President and his closest aides because they are not subject to A1S1 Oversight (and esp by those two committees) and the House as a whole has to explicitly delegate subpoena power in the case of an A1S2 impeachment, and that wasn’t done until after Schift’s HPSCI had essentially completed its investigation.

      1. Congress has no oversight power regarding the President?

        So you’re opening up your own law school, with your own absurd legal theories. Good luck with that.

        1. That’s not what he wrote, Jason. And what Bruce Hayden did write is entirely correct.

          This wasn’t and isn’t about legislation, and *at the time* no House vote had authorised the issuing of subpoenas under the impeachment power.

          1. It seems your grasp of English is incomplete:

            “The Presidency was created by the same Constitution that allocates power to Congress, and thus is not subject to Congressional Oversight.”

            That is PRECISELY what he wrote.

  4. You say that you are hesitant to draw an adverse inference from Trump refusing to allow his subordinates to respond to subpoenas, for reasons given in your response to Ilya Somin in part of an earlier post. That is confusing, since in that section of the linked post you just discuss your disagreement with him over the “n guilty men” standard. In fact, that whole linked article only mentions subpoenas twice, in contiguous sentences, discussing how the federal courts litigate subpoena cases. By this point in your article, you have already moved from the question of whether Trump engaged in impeachable conduct, to the question of what “to do about a President who ‘engages in grave abuses of power’ that do not rise to the level of impeachment?”

    Substantively, it doesn’t seem that you can possibly be right here. Especially in the context of Trump’s recent statements that the White House has “all the material” and Congress doesn’t “have the material,” not drawing an adverse inference seems like unreasonable skepticism. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/01/22/after-republican-senators-block-new-impeachment-evidence-trump-boasts-about-what-hes-withholding/

    1. It seems clear that Trump thought the House was overreaching and possibly interfering with his legitimate prerogatives.

      Why should he or anyone else turn over material to a biased investigation without first jealously guarding their own rights and seeking redress through the courts?

      I personally have received a subpoena as a third party demanding documents which should have been covered by privilege, with a short return date. That essentially precluded me from informing others involved like my own client and my professional liability insurance carrier, them engaging council on my behalf and then reviewing the documents requested.

      Ultimately it all worked out but not without receiving some testy phone calls from the lawyer who issued the subpoena.

      1. “possibly interfering with his legitimate prerogatives”

        Uh huh. That would be his legitimate prerogative to trade the favor of the United States government for personal benefit, through a secret shadow “foreign policy” run thru his private attorney and two low-grade crook legmen.

        God forbid the House be permitted to oversee “legitimate prerogatives” like that….

        1. How much corruption is allowed before the Biden’s are investigated?

          1. What corruption?

            (1) Hunter was given a place on a board because of his name. This was at the same time company gave another board position to an ex-president of Poland (for the same reason). Simultaneously Burmisa brought in a well-know financier as their board chairman (Alan Apter), and hired established international firms to audit its reserves and financial results. Was this all cosmetic? Sure – Extreme Corporate Makeover. Should little Hunter have chosen a better way to leech off his daddy’s name? Without question. But people are given board positions for name, status, and celebrity ever day. You need something more….

            (2) Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire prosecutor Shokin. But that was by order of Obama, per the publicly-announced policy of the State Department, for policy aims of the U.S. government, with bi-partisan support from Congress, following the wishes of the European Union, and in conjunction with similar pressure from the World Bank, IMF, & European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Biden’s pressure was cheered by all reform and anti-corruption groups in Ukraine, who applauded it’s success. The contrast with Trump couldn’t be greater.

            So what corruption?

          2. A person closed a site he used to criticize the improper use of the apostrophe because he decided he was fighting a losing battle. He fought the good fight.

            1. Sigh. I get it right most of the time. In my defense, I’m batting a thousand on your/you’re (almost).

        2. Person uses all possible defenses in adversarial conflict. This and a healthy cow who emits blue gas at 11!

      2. Turning over materials is one issue, but my point was about Trump’s obstruction of the investigation more broadly. Refusing to allow people to respond to subpoenas is a different issue altogether. That is more like spoliation than is the refusal of Trump himself to respond. I would prefer that presidents cooperate with impeachment investigations as a general rule, but that is not what I’m talking about here. The claim by Blackman that I am responding to here is that drawing inferences against the President’s position is not warranted, when the reason for drawing those inferences is that the President directed his subordinates to refuse to respond to subpoenas. I don’t actually see any argument by Blackman on this point, and it runs counter to the way adverse inferences frequently run in both criminal and civil litigation, and in common sense. My point about the President’s comments about who has what material is just to show that there is a broader pattern to the President’s behavior here that is itself suspicious.

        1. He stated that his weapon for refusing was institutional. He was protecting the right of the Presidency to assert Executive Privilege, and esp here, Executive Immunity, since Schiff was refusing to all Presidential counsel attend the hearings in order to assert these privileges. That would be horrible precedent to set, that a House committee could bypass these two century old privileges by merely denying the White House the ability to send attorneys to the hearings in order to assert the privileges, as required

          1. ‘Donald Trump, institutionalist’ is a poor argument even by bigoted clinger standards.

      3. It seems clear that Trump thought the House was overreaching and possibly interfering with his legitimate prerogatives.

        No. It seems clear he is covering things up.

        1. Bernard, “[n]o. It seems clear he is covering things up” is like saying that anyone who avails them self of their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent is guilty, because they must be hiding something that proves their guilt. Is that the standard you seek? Unquestioning compliance with the House’s demands for anything and everything?

          1. What did the Supreme Court say about using invoking the Fifth as evidence of guilt?

            1. Did they say it’s good enough for the likes of bernard11 but not good enough for serious people who understand western legal systems?

              1. I sure hope you’re not a lawyer.

            2. The Fifth? What does that have to with anything?

              Even if this were a criminal trial, which it’s not, Trump couldn’t use the Fifth to prevent others from testifying. Nor could he use it to withhold documents. And if he did try to prevent testimony for others I think we could draw appropriate inferences.

              So grab a thicker straw.

              1. It was an analogy, Bernard, apparently lost on you. The construction was ‘saying xyz is like abc.’ Get it?

          2. When did Trump invoke the fifth?

            Also, what is the problem with honoring document and testimony requests from Congress? Or subpoenas?

            1. The House Democrats have taken a call transcript and the testimonies of a handful of civil servants and then loudly and publicly speculated that the Ukraine is:

              + our staunch and dependable ally bravely fighting the Soviet Bear so that we don’t have to
              – a country of craven cowards all lacking the backbone to tell Trump to shove his quid pro quos and keep them out of his personal political machinations
              + successfully combatting the erstwhile systemic corruption as the DOD confirmed and shown by its election of an outsider to drain the swamp
              – is now presided over by a joker so lacking in spirit and/or virtue that he would lie brazenly and repeatedly to protect his relationship with a corrupt US president

              I’d say the problem with honouring document and testimony requests from *this* Congress is the same problem one seeks to avoid by keeping loaded guns out of the hands of children.

          3. If you assert your fifth amendment rights, it can’t be held against you in criminal court. But in any other context (such as civil litigation), it is proper to draw an adverse inference against one who utilizes the right.

            And if you hide or destroy documents, or make arrangements to keep a witness from testifying — paying for them to leave the jurisdiction, for instance — it is proper to draw adverse inferences against you.

  5. “My goal is not to persuade people. Truly. I recognize that on most issues, people have already made up their minds. Especially on a polarized issue like impeachment, most people are dug in. I do not write to change minds. I write to articulate my position and plainly and cogently as I can. If people see a new perspective, but remain unpersuaded, I will claim victory.”

    I commend you on this position, largely because it’s a rare bird. There are two approaches to arguments: one, where it’s about an exchange of positions and critiques, with a goal of each side forced to consider other perspectives and, ideally, mutual satisfaction with the experience; and two, where the goal is to win (or, perhaps more accurately, the other side has to lose), leaving one side happy and the other humbled.

    Neither option is necessarily superior or inferior to the other, but depends on circumstances. Sometimes, after all, an argument has to produce a win/loss result so that an action can be taken. Most often, tho, we’d benefit with a sincere exchange of positions rather a preset intent to arrive at a conclusion (i.e., I win because I am superior and smart/you lose because you are deceitful and stupid). But when all parties don’t agree on the point of the discussion—exchange or armwrestling—the result is frustrating all around. The responses you received from Adler and Somin, for example, suggest a common purpose of exchange and critique, and were enlightening to read; comments from the peanut gallery suggest those critics think it has to be about winning and losing.

    1. That, and this were refreshing: “Far too many people (academics especially) view persuasion as something of a blood sport. They will stop at nothing to convince other people they are wrong. ” I would substitute ‘attorneys’ for ‘academics,’ however. As a prosecutor in a large office, I continue to be amazed and disappointed at the certitude of so many of my colleagues and of close friends in the defense bar. As I get older I become less convinced that I’m sure I’m right, while others only get more firm in their defense of their beliefs about the law, about policy, politics, etc. Ironically, when it comes to the law, those most certain of their interpretations seem to be wrong most frequently.

      1. Some of the best advice I ever received from a prof as an undergrad was to approach every argument with the idea that I might be wrong or that there was a better perspective out there. Argue your position, sure, but always be open to the idea that the other guy might be right and improve your understanding. If you go into a discussion certain that you’re right and the other side is wrong, you’re operating more from ego than intellectual interest. Without risk to your beliefs, it gets boring pretty quickly.

  6. “After all, Trump has refused to allow his subordinates to respond to subpoenas.”

    Properly. The accused witch has no reason to co-operate with the people holding the matches.

    1. Unless we count the Constitution as a reason. But nobody who kneels at Trump’s feet gives a shit about that document.

  7. Professor Blackman does a good job at sounding reasonable, but he’s not very convincing to anyone not vested in excusing Trump’s behavior. Here’s an analogy : Clinton claimed he didn’t lie under oath because (a) Oral sex isn’t sex and (b) It depends on the meaning of “is”.

    It’s possible there was a corresponding professor to Blackman who argued (a) If you squint your eyes just right, oral sex isn’t sex, and (b) The word “is” can be very ambiguous. This professor would then say Clinton’s belief in these tenuous arguments may be deeply-held and sincere. Final step? It’s a “legal question” and the mere possibility of (a) & (b) absolves Clinton.

    Now, it’s possible someone gave us 900 words on that – even probable. But that doesn’t mean we have to take that hypothetical professor seriously. Just like we don’t take Blackman seriously……

    1. Clinton was acquitted.

      1. So what? Trump will be acquitted. The instance that happens that doesn’t automatically/magically make Professor Blackman’s arguments right.

        1. You can credibly make that argument.

          Those who impeached Trump have no credibility making such an argument.

  8. C’mon man, if you don’t have the courage of your convictions then don’t have any.

    1. Not everyone wants to be a jerk about academic opinions about factually unknown info.

  9. Since this is the most recent impeachment thread, I’ll use it to pose a request:

    I’d like to see the various conspirators weigh in on what sort of judicial collateral attacks might be successful in (at least temporarily) halting the Senate trial. Some examples:

    If the President asserts executive privilege, could he go to court to prevent further testimony?

    Could some potential Senate witness get an injunction to quash a Senate subpoena?

    If the Senate decides to vote to remove the President from office, but on grounds separate from those approved by the House, could the President seek an injunction as this authority is solely granted to the House?

    This even touches on judicial power; if some random judge in Arkansas imposes a national injunction requiring the Senate to cease its hearings, is that binding?

    1. It is extremely unlikely that any court would hear such a requestto interfere with a “solely”mandated Senate obligation.

      1. And if he did the Supreme Court would hand his head back to him with an unsigned per curium before the ink was dry and issue an order banning any lower courts from issuing any further orders about the impeachment.

      2. The Supreme Court has said that impeachment is solely within the power of Congress, but did not go so far as to say that any challenge to Congress’ authority was unreviewable.

        To use an extreme example, the Senate could not choose to execute someone using the impeachment power.

    2. Most of the Conspirators — the hard-right ones, especially — are ducking most things Trump.

      They probably figure they can shrug the stink off their movement conservative positions down the road if they keep their heads down today. They’re wrong. They may also figure Trump may be the final Republican making federal judicial nominations during the relevant periods of their careers, and they don’t want to anger Trump.

      #ConservativeCourage

  10. I just don’t believe you when you say Trump believed an announcement of an investigation meant there would actually be one. No one announces an investigation if they are serious about it. Announce it, and evidence dries up, witnesses flee.

    1. ” No one announces an investigation if they are serious about it.”

      Mueller Investigation? Whitewater? Monica Lewinsky? Trump Impeachment?

    2. Can you explain the phone call then? The actual conversation where Trump said “can you look into it… It sounds horrible” with no mention of the word announcement , press conference, news release.

      1. Setting aside that the document is not an exact transcript, once again: the phone call was not the start of this process. The phone call was the culmination of months of pressure from Trump and his gang. He did not need to lay out in detail what he wanted, because that had already been communicated. He was just reminding Zelinsky what the situation was.

    3. In other words: no genuine investigation was ever announced
      M

  11. For once, a FAQ that is actually about questions frequently asked.

  12. Professor Blackman….Keep writing. I don’t always agree, but I enjoy learning new things. By and large, that is true of your colleagues here at VC as well: Somin, Adler, Volokh and Bernstein come to mind.

    Special shout out to John Ross and his Short Circuit series. Reading Short Circuit on quiet Friday evenings has become a new cherished habit.

  13. Mr. Blackman constructs well-formed arguments that I happen to disagree with (I learn the most from people I disagree with).

    Blackman’s responses ignore a basic fact of life in the United States today. We are a split society and I am not referring to liberals vs. conservatives or Democrats vs. Republicans or even secularists vs. the religious set.

    What I am referring to is that some of our society is comprised of critical thinkers; intellectually curious individuals who are most persuaded by evidence. Then there is the selectively observant faction of our society which seems dedicated to creating a virtue out of confirmation bias. Ms. Conway provided the perfect example when she referred to “alternate facts.”

    Trump exists in an alternate reality. Don’t blame Donald. Blame us as a society. A pathological liar (who I believe is profoundly ill) has not been widely rejected as he should be. Apparently a large section of our society likes being lied to if the lie is something that they want to hear. We have abandoned our respect for absolute truth.

    Therefore, what Mr. Blackman is reacting to are not valid points of disagreement. People are expressing their frustration more than they are offering serious counterpoint. For me the frustration is not so much with Trump but with his mindless supporters willing to make preposterous arguments that they don’t really believe.

    We all know what Trump did and why he did. We can have an intellectually honest argument about whether or not his conduct rises to level necessary for impeachment. We never really get there because we are still arguing over the facts and the intellectually impoverished are trying to distract us with irrelevant BS.

    1. So we all know what and why?

      Quite a talent you have there.

      So since you are a mind reader tell me why the CEO of Burisma hired Hunter, what were they thinking and why?

      What was Joe thinking and why when he insisted on the firing of the prosecutor investigating Burisma?
      And the investigation was dropped.

      Such as mystery, hmm let me take a shot.

      Burisma hired Hunter as a shield against any investigations and daddy delivered

      1. So since you are a mind reader tell me why the CEO of Burisma hired Hunter, what were they thinking and why?

        When Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of directors — something done by shareholders, not the CEO — they were thinking that they wanted to burnish the image of their company, which was previously known for corruption, so they wanted some high profile outsiders to help with that process.

        What was Joe thinking and why when he insisted on the firing of the prosecutor investigating Burisma?

        He didn’t. He insisted on the firing of the prosecutor that had stopped investigating Burisma. For the same reason that the rest of the U.S. government, the EU, and the IMF all wanted the prosecutor fired: because the guy was corrupt and was failing to investigate corruption.

        1. Sure thing LOL,
          So who was the majority shareholder? Burnish an image? Who gives an F about Hunter Biden and Devin Archer, who actually had the good sense to quit because it was too shady for him.

          What?? Shokin was investigating Burisma. That investigation was allowed to expire under the new prosecutor who is being investigated for guess what? corruption. So how do you “burnish an image”? You don’t have an investigation that’s how.

          The rest of the US government the EU and the IMF , LMFAO. So no way there is any corruption there? Google IMF and corruption. The Poles have already said they had conflict of interest concerns with relatives of their elected officials.

          Here’s what happened:

          1) Hunter was hired as a shield
          2) Shield worked since investigation was dropped
          3) Hunter the dope stays on since its too much gravy to turn down until dad runs for president. Dad is a few shy of a full load also.
          4) Archer was smart enough to bail early

          .

        2. You and Arthur seem to be a bit nervous these days. Flacking for the Bidens will do that to you, and waiting for the other shoe to drop will grind you down. Maybe it’s the concern that the judge in Arkansas will finally bring Hunter to heel and discover a stash of twenty million or so. Or is it the fear that someone as weak as Hunter may crack and spill the beans?

          In any case this oligarch blinded by the light of stardom bit must be hard to do with a straight face. I don’t think that you or even Arthur believe one word of this, but you somehow feel that it is important to keep your finger in the dike.

          1. I don’t think DMN is a huge Biden fan, dude.

      2. I expect to learn — all of this stuff will be revealed eventually, in a manner especially painful for Republicans — that Burisma courted Biden the Lesser much as NBC hired Jenna Bush, or some hedge fund likely put Chelsea Clinton on the payroll, or Neil Bush became involved in government-backed finance, or a Kennedy or two got board positions somewhere, or John Prescott Ellis (a Bush) became a “journalist” at Fox, or Clarence Thomas’ wife becomes a big-dollar lobbyist, or an young Al Gore lands at a newspaper, or a thousand similar examples.

        The relatives of wealthy, influential people — especially those in government — get hired for positions they don’t deserve, even if they are dullards.

      3. Burisma hired Hunter as a shield against any investigations and daddy delivered

        You are out of touch with reality. Please, what sort of mass psychosis has overtaken Trump supporters?

        1. So we’ve investigated it and no way Hunter had an actual job there we were just unaware and wrong about the no show high pay job?

          Because that happens all the time in the real world.

          Dude, you the one in an alternate reality.

          Hunter’s job was a no show and he didn’t know shit about Burisma’s business. None of that was his job. His job was to make the investigation go away. He with the help of dad delivered.

          But OK lets see if there was probable cause to investigate the Biden’s. Lets have them testify, OK?

          Nothing to hide right, no coverups!

          1. Wrong, Kushner’s sister did the same thing Hunter did—she traded on her brother’s name in China. Neither Kushner nor Biden bear responsibility for the unethical behavior of their family members.

          2. “Hunter’s job was a no show and he didn’t know shit about Burisma’s business”

            At the exact same time Burisma hired Hunter they also gave a board position the ex-president of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski. Guess what : Aleksander “didn’t know shit” about energy commodity trading either, he was just another name rented for respectability. Like Hunter. And that’s not all.

            Burisma also installed the well-regarded investment banker Alan Apter as board chairman, and brought in prestigious accounting firms to audit its finances – all at the exact same time they hired Hunter. It was a systematic campaign to purchase normalcy, and I bet the money spent on little Biden was the smallest, most penny-pinching measure they took.

            So let’s sum up your problems, wreckinball:

            (1) There was no investigation of Burisma when Hunter was hired or Joe Biden pressured Ukraine. There hadn’t been for well over a year. All your fevered imagination can’t create this fantasy “investigation” out of thin air.

            (2) Here’s a limited list of those who wanted the prosecutor Shokin fired : President Obama, the State Department, a bi-partisan collection of Senators (we have Republicans on record with a letter), the European Union, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, every single reform or anti-corruption group in Ukraine itself.

            And opposed to all those facts we have your sad & pathetic trolling little self. Some fights just aren’t fair……..

            1. The only thing Hunter is guilty of is taking advantage of corrupt Ukrainians…and smoking crack. 😉

              Btw, when Biden does win and Republicans bring this nonsense up I am just going to say it took Biden 6 hours to do what Trump couldn’t get done over months—strong arm a foreign leader to do his bidding. So Biden is feared by foreign governments while Trump was ignored.

              1. If Biden is the nominee, and then goes on to win, we’ll get 4 years of “Hey, remember when I used to hang around with this guy?”
                An upgrade on Trump, but only marginally, and likely not very effective in the long-term.

            2. Shokin seizes assets of Zlochevsky 2/4/16
              https://en.interfax.com.ua/news/general/322395.html

              Shokin fired 3/29/16 after Biden extorts the action by withholding a 1 billion dollar loan guarantee.

              Zlochevsky’s assets returned and he is able to come back to Ukraine after fleeing.

              Nothing to see here. After all EU, IMF, EU, IMF. Did I say EU, IMF?

          3. Hunter’s job was a no show and he didn’t know shit about Burisma’s business. None of that was his job.

            That part’s true – none of that was his job. You don’t seem to have a grasp of basic business concepts, though, so you don’t understand that this isn’t sinister; you don’t understand what his job was. He was not hired as an officer or employee of the company. He was an outside member of the board.

            Outside directors do not “show.” Their job isn’t to run the company on a day to day basis. And therefore, (though depending on what roles they serve on the board), they do not need to be experts on the industry the company is involved in. They need to understand corporate governance, finance, things of that nature. Which, not surprisingly, is what Biden’s role was: corporate governance. Which he did have experience with.

            1. >blockquote>Which, not surprisingly, is what Biden’s role was: corporate governance. Which he did have experience with.

              So we have now we go from Zlochevsky basking in the radiance of stardom to needing Hunter’s enormous business acumen. Congratulations David, you have now gone where no one else has dared to tread.

              1. Which, not surprisingly, is what Biden’s role was: corporate governance. Which he did have experience with.

                So we go from Zlochevsky basking in the radiance of stardom to needing Hunter’s enormous business acumen. Congratulations David, you have now gone where no one else has dared to tread.

        2. There is plenty of evidence supporting this reality. Your side has oligarchs acting like teenage girls over Justin Bieber. Some reality.

      4. You are falling for the distraction. It is irrelevant. Furthermore VP Biden did not attempt to oust a prosecutor investigating Burisma. Biden was carrying out administration policy, coordinated with European allies and the World Bank, to press for the removal of Shokin because he was NOT investigating corruption.

        We all know what Trump did and why he did it. Trump is consistent in that his ONLY interest is the wellbeing of Donald John Trump. He has never done a selfless act in his lifetime. I know Donald a bit (I knew his father better). Trump was excluded from Manhattan society because that sphere revolves around charitable endeavors.

        Once wed to a conspiracy theory people almost never desist in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Birthers are still Birthers. Q-Anon will lock up all those government pedophiles any day now. People insist that there are chemtrails. Hillary Clinton murdered Vince Foster and so on, ad nauseum.

        Allegiance to Trump is very much like a conspiracy theory. There exists a solid body of evidence that Trump is a pathological liar. People are willing to embrace the most preposterous tales regardless of contrary evidence.

    2. Not granting the premise, but having a pathological liar and mentally ill individual in charge is vastly preferable to having people like you in charge.

      Such a person might get things right by accident or become preoccupied with something shiny and waste time.

      Someone like you would use hatred of fellow Americans and an overwhelming sense of self-superiority as a justification to hurt innocent people and destroy what they have built, turning a blind eye to victims and delighting evilly when people who are not like you suffer.

  14. He asked Zelensky to look into it. He didn’t ask him just to announce it. Making stuff up is not helping an already ridiculous effort here.

    The Biden’s are corrupt as hell. They need investigated.

  15. An Op-ed in the Times about impeachment followed by blog posts about writing the Op-ed in the Times about impeachment. I can’t wait for the TikTok video about writing the blog posts!

    1. It all goes on the c.v.

      1. Blackman’s CV that he has posted online is already 100 pages (hiring committees love that!). I thought for sure the Time’s editorial would have been added already, but he must be behind in updating it. It would surely stand out among all those other lines that comprise the 100 page document.

    2. It did seem a bit self-absorbed, but then I reminded myself that he also gave us a five part series on his experience watching oral arguments in court.

      1. Most people share stories like this, or about their overnight experience in line outside a courthouse, with friends. Perhaps over lunch, or at a poker table, or while watching a ballgame.

        Not everyone has that opportunity, though. A hard-core movement conservative and right-wing climber might not be the most popular kid on a strong liberal-libertarian campus or in a modern, successful community these days.

      2. Must be a helluva guy to have as a co-worker.

      3. Yes but it was better than an oral exam at the dentist’s office.

  16. Professor Blackman, and Professor Adler, too, I’d really like to get to the bottom of this: when did President Trump as for an announcement of an investigation, and what is the evidence that he did?

    As far as I can tell now, he never did, the “announcement” thing part of a false narrative spun by his detractors.

    I read the full transcript of the phone conversation between Trump and Zelinsky, and the entirety of Trump’s mention of Biden is this:

    “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”

    That’s it. Nothing about an announcement.

    You can read the entire transcript here:

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/25/politics/donald-trump-ukraine-transcript-call/index.html

    To reiterate, when did President Trump as for an announcement of an investigation, and what is the evidence that he did?

    1. Here’s the beginning of the answer: Sondland. He’s the one who introduced the “announcement” narrative, never attributed it directly to Trump, and even relayed Trump’s admonition of “no quid pro quo” via text to Ukrainian officials.

      Sondland has credibility issues. “Sondland had previously faced significant questions about his credibility, and even as it was ongoing, his testimony Wednesday drew disputes from some of those he implicated. Republicans also seized on his lack of direct knowledge for some assertions, noting he admitted he never “personally” discussed with Trump the idea that either military aid or a White House meeting was preconditioned on Ukraine conducting investigations.”

      Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sondland-was-there-a-quid-pro-quo-the-answer-is-yes/2019/11/20/34741e3c-0b92-11ea-8397-a955cd542d00_story.html

    2. I read the full transcript

      No, you didn’t, because we don’t have the full transcript. As you’d know if you read page one of the “transcript,” where it says that it isn’t actually a transcript.

      And again, the call isn’t the only dealing between Trump and Ukraine.

      1. When you “mind read” aka make things up do you actually put your hand on a crystal ball.

        Is this Spock? maybe its a Vulcan mind melt

      2. David, you are a notpicking idiot. Everyone knows that it’s not a verbatim record of the conversation, but it is a transcript nonetheless. Are you asserting something to the effect that there was an inaudible portion that materially changes the conversation?

        Stop being such a dick.

        1. A transcript is a verbatim record.

          No, I am not asserting that there is an inaudible portion. I am asserting that it is an after the fact reconstruction based on notes, and that no part can therefore be said to be word for word. And therefore the absence of any specific word in the document can not be regarded as dispositive. In other words, “I don’t see the word announcement,” is a meaningless argument, because the fact that one doesn’t see the word in no way means it wasn’t used.

          1. At least you are no longer certain that twenty minutes had to be missing and would at some point emerge.

        2. An uneducated right-winger such as ThePublius tangling with Mr. Nieporent on legal points?

          This should go roughly as the culture war has gone.

          The clingers can hope for a miracle, I guess.

  17. Odd that those most upset about Trump asking about an investigation of corruption for his personal gain are unfazed by the amount of corruption for their personal gain.

  18. If you think the Senate is limited to what the House discovered…then you are in fact a partisan hack. The Senate should care about upholding the Constitution irrespective of what the House uncovered. Furthermore the very fact Republican senators haven’t demanded Trump drop out of the 2020 race is evidence this Senate trial is a sham because there is more than enough evidence that Trump abused his power and is not fit to be president. So nitpicking the Senate trial is absurd because impeachment should never result in a Senate trial because the Senate can do what they did with Nixon.

    1. Sounds good, so if there is overwhelming evidence we’ll have a vote convict/acquit after the defense presents?

      Sounds good because it sure seems like a waste of time repeating the same “overwhelming ” evidence 4 million times over the past 3 days.

      But you need more evidence? Why if what you have is overwhelming?

      1. I believe Republicans are morally and intellectually bankrupt so I actually would be disappointed if they removed Trump because then it would prove me wrong. So just the fact Liz Cheney and Trump hold leadership positions in the same party is all the evidence I need to convince me that the Republican Party is simply an organization for unethical people to advance their political careers.

        So the pundits that promote the Republican Party generally either want a Republican president to appoint them to a job or they make money from gullible people that vote Republican.

        1. Democrats should have arranged a jail cell for Dick Cheney consequent to torture. I hope better Americans don’t let the Republican war criminals off the hook next time.

          The can’t-keep-up rubes from Wyoming figured they should put a different Cheney chickenhawk in Congress. This illustrates why the House of Representatives (and Electoral College) should be enlarged soon, to diminish the amplification of yahoo votes in our system.

          Enlarging the Supreme Court may be more important, though.

      2. Some people are easily overwhelmed. Most of them get better when they turn 3 years old. Not all. Sad.

  19. Fact Check: Trump Raised Concerns About Corruption in Ukraine Long Ago

    CLAIM: President Donald Trump never cared about corruption in Ukraine.

    VERDICT: FALSE. Democrats’ own investigation showed that he did — long before Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and Burisma were an issue.

    Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) opened the fourth day of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump by mocking the idea that Trump cared about corruption in Ukraine. “It’s difficult to even say that with a straight face,” he said.

    Crow, who has also been blaming President Trump — falsely — for Ukrainian deaths, repeated the false claim . . .

    . . . we know from Schiff’s own impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives that Trump had previously expressed strong concerns about corruption in Ukraine.

    As Breitbart News has noted several times, State Department official Catherine Croft testified in her closed-door deposition in Schiff’s “basement bunker” at the House Intelligence Committee that Trump was particularly concerned about corruption in Ukraine, even to the point of lecturing then-President Poroshenko — in front of his whole delegation — about it:

    Croft: The President was skeptical of providing weapons to Ukraine.

    Q: Why?

    A: When this was discussed, including in front of the Ukrainian delegation, in fnont of President Poroshenko, he described his concerns being that Ukraine was corrupt, that it was capable of being a very rich country, and that the United States shouldn’t pay for it, but instead, we should be providing aid through loans.

    1. . . .Actually, even if it were true that Trump only cared about allegations of corruption against Biden involving a foreign country because he was a political rival, that would have been a legitimate reason — according to Schiff himself.

      Last April, Schiff wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post: “If a foreign power possessed compromising information on a U.S. government official in a position of influence, that is a counterintelligence risk. If a foreign power possessed leverage, or the perception of it, over the president, that is a counterintelligence nightmare.”

      Schiff was defending the Obama administration’s decision to launch an investigation into Trump, who was then the Republican nominee for president. But the same logic would apply to Biden: it is in the national interest to know.

      1. The Biden allegations are baseless, so if Trump believed them then he should be removed via the 25th Amendment on grounds of mental deficiency.

        1. Ever since the “Alabama Sharpie” I have been utterly convinced that Trump’s mental hygiene is only a notch above Liz Cronkin’s and in serious decline.

          Most days I disagree with Rod Dreher about everything. However, when he is not shilling for the Church he is intellectually honest which is why I read his stuff. Dreher’s October polemic – “Is Trump Mentally Unstable?” – is exceptional.

          Regarding the Erdogan letter, Dreher wrote:

          “Who talks like that in real life? Who threatens another world leader like a TV mafioso? “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!” Who responds well to being addressed so condescendingly? Trump reportedly distributed copies of this letter to Congressional leaders today in an attempt to show them how tough he is. In fact, he demonstrated that he is a boob.
          […]
          You can bluster about the Deep State all you want, but what we know to be true about the president’s behavior in this Turkey matter is profoundly troubling, not only about his competence as Commander in Chief, but about his own mental stability.”

          1. Pres. Trump’s manner may not work with world leaders and educated people, but it causes the uneducated, the bigoted, the disaffected, the childishly superstitious, and the anti-social culture war casualties to think he is just dreamy.

            It’s also enough to scare a few Volokh Conspirator contributors into cowardly silence.

      2. ” it is in the national interest to know.”

        …assuming Biden is nominated for the Presidency. As yet, he hasn’t been.

    2. You can’t be so gullible as to see how Trumps particular concern about the Ukraine was manifesting focused entirely on Biden. This was an after the fact excuse.

      Ffs check your stories. Breitbart isn’t necessarily wrong, but google their stories to check them – they sure do have an agenda.

      Your compromising information post requires a lot of new fictional Biden BS to apply.

  20. “It is not conceivable to simply “mention” some other argument in passing. That drive-by analysis will leave the reader uncertain, and would make my analysis incomplete.”

    This is an interesting argument… you left parts out of the analysis to make the analysis more complete.

  21. Obviously he committed a crime — violating the Impoundment Act. Democrats can’t be blamed for the GAO taking its own sweet time to declare so.

    1. Fascinating! You should contact Schiff and Nadler immediately, and offer your advice, and tell them they should have charged him with that, instead of the nebulous “abuse of power.”

      Per Prof. Blackman:

      “If the President violated the Impoundment Control Act, we would not need to consider the nebulous charge of “abuse of power.” Running afoul of a statute could itself be a ground for impeachment.”

      1. Bigoted dullards who offer legal insights are among my favorite culture war casualties.

        1. You have heard about people who live in glass houses right?

  22. [8] Your opinion is [-redacted-] and just you wait till the election!

    Everyone knows that it’s a clown show up there, they just disagree on who are the clowns.

  23. This really isn’t an FAQ (frequently asked QUESTIONS) more so then just being a list of responses to rebut frequent criticism that your article had on the internet.

    Either way, I wouldn’t be concerned with what any mentally retarded person on the left says. They are all just idiots who parrot whatever the media tells them to say about something. Will claim they are “woke” but all that means is indoctrinated. There is no reason to engage these idiots in a discussion based upon facts, logic, or reason. The left has no concept of these things.

    Same for twatter. Just ignore it. The place is a trash dump for SJW garbage after implementing its Chinese style censorship regimen. Delete your account and spend your newfound free time taking a hike through nature.