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intrinsicist

Impeachment

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Trump called the new president of Ukraine and asked him to investigate corruption around the Biden's -- as Vice President, Biden had negotiated in a quid pro quo with Ukraine corrupt money for his son, and possibly himself, to the tune of hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.

Trump didn't do or intend anything corrupt like that - all he asked was for it to be investigated, which is totally part of his duty as the chief executive. Investigating corruption, even as a quid pro quo with a foreign power, is totally legitimate and within Presidential power. In fact it's the duty of the executive to do things like that. There's absolutely no crime here - at least not by Donald Trump.

Quid pro quo is a norm in foreign policy, we always demand things in exchange for aid. There's nothing wrong with quid pro quo per se. The question is what is the nature of the deal - if it's a deal made for personal gain, say millions of dollars to a family member for doing nothing, then it's corruption, pure and simple. If the demand is that they *investigate* corruption, well that's an absolutely positive thing and in many ways a normal and necessary part of foreign aid packages - after all, if we are giving money to a corrupt institution which is simply going to steal it and squander it rather than use it for the purpose they claimed, well how can we do a deal like that? Demands to investigate corruption in exchange for aid are normal and are a healthy and positive kind of quid pro quo when it comes to foreign policy. The Ukraine president was elected on a platform of fighting corruption, so this is especially appropriate in this scenario. As Trump said, this was a *perfect* call, and he wouldn't and shouldn't change a thing about it. It's not something he's hiding or covering for, he's proud of it, he released the transcript day one. Trump is 100% right on this one. The left is playing a game of blame the other guy for what you did. It's a classic move on their part.
 

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Many Democrats have been obsessed from day one with impeaching Trump. The so-called "Trump Derangement Syndrome" is merely a manifestation of this widespread idée fixe. Democrats want impeachment so badly that they will sacrifice reason, fairness, and bipartisanship to get it. Even if Trump withheld aid to pressure Ukraine into investigating Biden, the Democrats must admit that there was a valid concern over the appearance of Biden corruption, which spoils their assertion that Trump did it for personal gain. They have a very weak (almost non-existent) case with no support from Republicans. This process began as a literal parody, with Schiff putting absurdly exaggerated statements into Trump's mouth, and it will rightly end with Republicans laughing and pointing at the Democrats.

Edited by MisterSwig

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11 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Napolitano goes through multiple angles, both constitutional and moral.

After his prediction of three or four articles including bribery failed, Napolitano is singing a slightly different tune now. He wants to put aside the basis for impeachment and focus on the Senate trial. What a tool.

https://news.yahoo.com/napolitano-trump-wants-full-blown-011246714.html

Edited by MisterSwig

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They're just impeaching him for the wrong thing. This is the stupidest possible thing that they could have picked. "Quid pro quo to investigate his political opponent during an election". Biden isn't even his opponent yet. The only actually bad thing is that Trump didn't have a US intelligence agency do it, and Trump's mental gymnastics to manipulate media attention. A quid pro quo is just an exchange, just because it's a Latin phrase used in Silence of the Lambs doesn't mean it was a sinister dealing. 

Whether you agree that Trump should be impeached for something throughout his presidency, it's plain that this strategy is pretty stupid.

Edited by Eiuol

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16 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Biden isn't even his opponent yet. 

Yes, it seems like the Democrats are trying to assert a right to block the President from investigating Democrats in general. Every Democrat running for office is his "political opponent," of whom he can "harm the election prospects." The wording in the first article is unnecessarily broad, and I wouldn't be surprised if this whole thing was always about redefining "abuse of power" to mean "investigating a political opponent."

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5 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

After his prediction of three or four articles including bribery failed, Napolitano is singing a slightly different tune now. He wants to put aside the basis for impeachment and focus on the Senate trial. What a tool.

It was not a prediction but an explanation that those could be used and I think 2 of what he mentioned have been used.

In his defense, he does say that legally, this impeachment (as an indictment, not removal) is sound but has no moral justification. That impeachment is meaningless from a legal standpoint, that it is purely political. He mentions the fact that every president from Wilson on can be impeached from something or another. He laments that the power of the presidency has increased and will go on.

Ultimately this whole exercise is in fact a "super censure" because of the majority in the Senate. Nothing of consequence will happen, in fact it may be good for Trump politically. But the danger is that if the bar is low and the congress is controlled by the opposing party, any president can be in danger of impeachment.

If Trump had done "what he did" before Biden had announced his candidacy, there would be no optics that the Democrats could have latched on too. Furthermore, Biden's actions also have bad optics, I believe nepotism is not illegal but politically repugnant.

From a practical perspective, another question that never gets mentioned is: Would Pence be better or worse? Could he have won?

If republicans had thought so, the results may have been different because this is politics.

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1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

It was not a prediction but an explanation

When asked which three or four articles he's talking about, at 2:40 in your video Napolitano says, "Here's what I think [the Democrats] will advance. One is bribery..." I call that type of language a prediction.

1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

I think 2 of what he mentioned have been used.

Which ones? Trump is being charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Napolitano named five: bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors/election law violation, obstruction of justice, interference with a witness, and lying under oath. You might argue that obstruction of justice is the same as obstruction of Congress, but technically I think they're different. Congress is not the judiciary.

1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

Furthermore, Biden's actions also have bad optics, I believe nepotism is not illegal but politically repugnant.

Uh, it wasn't nepotism. Daddy Biden isn't admitting to getting his son the job. Apparently Burisma just really, really, really wanted Hunter on their board.

Edited by MisterSwig

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I found this NBC News story which nailed the two articles of impeachment back in October, when Schiff was still doing the closed-door hearings. What Pelosi wants, Pelosi gets.

Quote

 

But one person familiar with the strategy said “abuse of power” when it comes to Ukraine is the “big point that Pelosi has been hammering home” and the umbrella under which “this all fits to connect it and help the public understand.”

...

Pelosi is also considering a separate article on obstruction or contempt of Congress related to the administration’s blanket rejection of subpoena requests for documents and witnesses related to its inquiry into Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, according to multiple sources involved in the deliberations.

 

 

Edited by MisterSwig

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It's just lazy of them to go after this case. There was so much potential stuff that was still open to investigation with the Mueller report as far as Trump's trustworthiness as president, but Democrats did nothing then. I really don't get it. You could say that Democrats want to charge somebody for investing someone vaguely defined as a political opponent. I think it's more likely they simply wanted a bigger bang closer to the election, and believe that outweighed the Mueller report being a much better case to build from. 

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On 12/13/2019 at 6:08 PM, intrinsicist said:

Trump didn't do or intend anything corrupt like that - all he asked was for it to be investigated, which is totally part of his duty as the chief executive. Investigating corruption, even as a quid pro quo with a foreign power, is totally legitimate and within Presidential power. In fact it's the duty of the executive to do things like that. There's absolutely no crime here - at least not by Donald Trump.

The assertion in the OP is that the call was perfect.
If we go through the call itself there are some imperfections.

If Trump were investigating corruption in Ukraine he would be investigating if:

The weapons will be sold to another country.
The weapons will be melted down and sold for scrap metal.
The weapons are not needed.
The weapons will somehow not get to the soldiers.
The weapons may be used against american interests.

None of these have anything to do with an american citizen on the board of an energy company.
It would also indicate that an investigation would be about corruption in the US, not in Ukraine.
The Trump defense that it was about Ukrainian corruption becomes a false statement.

Then there are questions:
If this is an investigation of an American citizen, why is this not going through relevant agencies that have checks and balances?
Why is it being couched as internal ukrainian corruption?
If american citizens are corrupting Ukraine, why is it limited to a single political rival vs. a list of people?

Unlike what the OP states as the quid pro quo being for an investigation, after testimony it was revealed that the thing of value was
not the investigation, it was an "announcement" of an investigation.

As testimony came out, the shakedown was not for an investigation, it was for an "announcement".
Biden is known to be an "electoral college" winner, he is strong in the swing states that Trump won and the cater to a similar population.
Such an announcement has a direct influence on a pending american election.
So the context of the call when taken into account is what makes the call illegal.

The trade was an "announcement" in return for defensive tools needed for survival. 
An investigation can be done privately through proper channels. 
Proper channels means people can be held responsible when an oversight investigation is done later on. 

If the FBI of DOJ had done it, there are rules about being quiet.

But one can get around checks and balances by having a leader of another country make the announcement.

As far as Biden enriching his family i.e. nepotism, it is repugnant to the public. 
Just as it is when Trump is doing it openly, not only his family but himself.
It is also the case with the Clintons.

There should be consequences for all of them. (but it's not illegal)
 

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On 12/15/2019 at 10:33 AM, Easy Truth said:

If Trump were investigating corruption in Ukraine he would be investigating if:

The weapons will be sold to another country...

You do realize that we give hundreds of millions of dollars to Ukraine to improve their energy industry and fight corruption, right? 

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One can also ask "Do you realise he prevented national interest to advance his career" or "He was investigating his political rival with our money".
As an aside, do you realize trump who is corrupt, would be checking out corruption.
"The notion that the founder of sham entities like Trump University or the Trump Foundation has suddenly transmogrified into an anti-corruption crusader is laughable". (The Hill)

These broad stroke statements don't get to the heart of the issue.

He has a right to investigate where our money is going.
"Yet the administration's man on Ukraine, Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, based on his conversations and dealings with the President, indicated in his testimony to Congress that Trump had no interest in corruption generally — only in Biden". (The Hill)

The issue of identifying boundaries of proper vs. improper behavior all hinges on how important one thinks of "fair elections" in the United States.
If elections are an unimportant formality without consequence, then the President's actions has little effect on this country and the impeachment process has been meaningless.

If one considers the election process as being the foundation of our political life, as in if we can't have elections, then the country dies,
fair elections are in fact a life and death issue for the United States.
Without fair elections, the US is an Un-United States, a dead United States, a non existent United States.

Once meaningless elections has become a normality, the country has died.

A governance entity that protects individual rights disappears. 

One can say a benevolent dictator would be a better choice. If so listen to yourself.

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25 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

If one considers the election process as being the foundation of our political life, as in if we can't have elections, then the country dies,

What good are elections, if they result in the continued erosion of individual rights?  

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48 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

"Do you realise he prevented national interest to advance his career" or "He was investigating his political rival with our money".

The first statement is relevant, has been investigated, and the results were that much of what he did was highly questionable and deserved further investigation. That's what the Mueller report was for. Then Barr released that letter saying that the lack of conviction by Mueller exonerated Trump of all wrongdoing. Democrats did nothing about it, despite the very impeachable content that will likely be revealed (or not - that's the point of further investigation). So now people sometimes even remember the events as if Trump really was exonerated. Following up on the Mueller report would be the proper route of proceeding towards impeachment.

The second statement is just an empty media narrative that's easier to digest, and dumbed down. To be sure, Trump was acting with political gain in mind (he likes to hear anything bad about Democrats), but that is not the same as "investigating his political opponent" who in fact  was not his political opponent yet. Not a great motive, but not inherently a harm to the nation because it's at least motivated by concern for the country (regardless of how he conflates himself with the country). It almost seems like it's just a strategy that Biden is using to be nominated due to being perceived as a victim and beat Trump in the election, and not any meaningful attack on corruption. 

Edited by Eiuol

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2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Trump was acting with political gain in mind (he likes to hear anything bad about Democrats), but that is not the same as "investigating his political opponent" who in fact  was not his political opponent yet

I know Biden was his worst nightmare of a competitor, in fact if it had not been Clinton, Biden may have won 2016. I am not sure about the dates when Biden declared vs. when he made the call requesting the investigation. Or even when Giuliani was tasked.

Trumps strategy was proper in throwing everything he had at Biden and possibly fatally (electionwise) wounding Biden. It was an accurate assessment.

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It's more like I'm saying Trump thinks Democrats are out to destroy America along with whatever the deep state is supposed to be, so his desire to have Hunter Biden investigated would make sense and is reason for him not to trust anything that has already been said. Bad reasoning, but this case isn't an example of a shady dealings that was meant to enrich himself in collusion with another country. I don't think it even counts as collusion because Ukraine wouldn't get something they didn't deserve, the US benefits either way, and Ukraine was not receiving special benefits that it wasn't already receiving. At most, we would just call this a bad decision with bad reasoning.

The interesting thing is that Democrats have started to learn from Trump. Repeat things enough times, and people will believe it as the absolute truth that cannot be questioned. It has its uses, and here we have a really nice slogan. It's a good way to introduce false memories, or at least enough doubt that certain narratives seem more true than others. 

The Russia investigation, although it has much better evidence to proceed with, can't be reduced to a phrase that can be regurgitated. It also doesn't feel viscerally bad because nothing is direct, conversations aren't quite direct, and many actors are involved. Not only that, if Trump is determined to be guilty on the Russia investigation, it is much more nefarious. But no one is pursuing it, and I think it's too late now.

Edited by Eiuol

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At this point, we are in it for the ride.

From the behavior seen, it is very likely that the same thing that happened with Bill Clinton will happen here except with one major exception. In the Clinton impeachment no senator was openly saying that they will not take it seriously (even though they didn't, was partisan too). This time around, certain senators are openly stating that they will not honor the oath that they have taken, to be an impartial juror.

It's possible that impeachment will become a regular event with no one taking it seriously.
Pelosi was reluctant to impeach for the longest time, so Democrats may get some credit for self control.

Ironically, due to the behavior of the republican disdain for the law in this case, impeachment may now, genuinely be abused. It is even more ironic because the rules that the Democrats have used were rules put in by republicans as Napolitano mentioned. In other words their disdain is partially for the rules they put in.

Going forward, if the opposing party has a majority in congress, the moment they don't like the policies of the president, they impeach him.

The old rationale for impeachment or defending against impeachment was to be part of the checks and balances based on impartial judgement. Now it is simply based on what team you are on, no matter what the facts are.

Will that serve as some checks and balances or promote chaos? If it will promote chaos, will congress amend the impeachment process or leave it to be "experienced"?

Edited by Easy Truth
spelling

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7 hours ago, Easy Truth said:
9 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

What good are elections, if they result in the continued erosion of individual rights?  

True, but what alternative are you proposing?

John Wick.

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9 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Pelosi was reluctant to impeach for the longest time, so Democrats may get some credit for self control.

How can that reluctance be called self-control? I was just explaining to you how the Mueller report had all sorts of good reasons to impeach or at least conduct further hearings. Her reluctance reveals lack of principle, and the fact it is happening now suggests that the only motivation here is emotion (because it involves things Trump said, rather than the things he had his lackeys do). 

I agree with your conclusion though. This sets a bad precedent.

Edited by Eiuol

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I believe the Democrats must be severely punished for this impeachment. The Republicans are correct that this action is essentially different from past impeachments. Past impeachments rested on the strength of evidence of a clear crime committed. Here we have only a vague and partisan accusation of "abuse of power."

The House is attempting to establish a power of impeachment based on their whim, not the Constitution, which clearly demands explication of a high crime or misdemeanor. Assuming an impeachable motive, when the evidence points to an unimpeachable motive, cannot be a permissable standard for impeachment. If it were, then the President would serve at the pleasure of Congress. What then would stop a unified House and Senate from impeaching and removing both the President and Vice President, and thereby installing the House Speaker by succession? The House has taken a huge step away from the Constitution and toward dictatorship. Not dictatorship by an individual, but dictatorship by the people.

Edited by MisterSwig

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

Her reluctance reveals lack of principle, and the fact it is happening now suggests that the only motivation here is emotion (because it involves things Trump said, rather than the things he had his lackeys do). 

I wonder if you are focusing on the allegation of collusion with the Russians. My understanding is that there was not enough evidence of Trump personally doing it. Now on obstruction, yes, the Muller investigation found plenty that we saw in plain sight. This latest issue was the issue with Ukraine which had his direct involvement based on testimony. The call was just one part of the whole story. In addition there was even more obstruction and witness tampering that we saw play out in front of us too.

My understanding is the Pelosi was aware that Trump can't be removed and impeachment last time greatly helped Clinton and the Democratic party. It was many freshmen that pushed for it. But I do agree that the most powerful issues were in the Muller report and could and should have been used. What I have gathered is that there were possibilities of losing votes if they did not do it the way they did it.

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6 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

The House is attempting to establish a power of impeachment based on their whim, not the Constitution, which clearly demands explication of a high crime or misdemeanor. Assuming an impeachable motive, when the evidence points to an unimpeachable motive, cannot be a permissable standard for impeachment.

The problem is that this is permissible. But keep in mind, on the whole, the process has NEVER removed any president from congress. So one can argue that in fact it works. Impeachment simply is a black mark on one's resume. I think when the day comes where they do remove a president that may be cause for concern  ... or it may be a relief.

As far as "punishing" Democrats, not sure how that metaphor gets played out? We don't have a dictatorship to do things like that. Certainly they have not committed a crime. Furthermore, that is how impeachment has to work. "The Opposition" initiates the checks and balances. They are the sensitive trip wire.

9 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

John Wick.

Don't know what that means.

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