Politics: Impeachment and Warren (with polls)

UPDATE: Reader Simon called my attention this this article in FiveThirtyEight (click on screenshot) that suggests mixed results for both Trump and Democrats were impeachment to proceed in the House.


Now that Trump has committed yet another misstep, and a big one—asking Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, all when a military aid package was pending—it’s time to consider impeachment. I’ve lived through a lot of Presidential stupidity and perfidy (after all, I was here when Reagan, Nixon, and W. were Presidents), but never has there been a leader so unpresidential, so manifestly narcissistic and self-serving, as the man in charge now. In today’s New York Times, David Leonhardt simply produces 40 sentences detailing Trump’s unsavory behavior. Though not all of these constitute “high crimes and misdemeanors,” they add up to a damning indictment (click on screenshot below):

A few of Leonhardt’s sentences:

He has pressured a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 American presidential election.

He urged a foreign country to intervene in the 2016 presidential election.

He divulged classified information to foreign officials.

He publicly undermined American intelligence agents while standing next to a hostile foreign autocrat.

He hired a national security adviser whom he knew had secretly worked as a foreign lobbyist.

He has described women, variously, as “a dog,” “a pig” and “horseface,” as well as “bleeding badly from a facelift” and having “blood coming out of her wherever.”

He has been accused of sexual assault or misconduct by multiple women.

He waved around his arms, while giving a speech, to ridicule a physically disabled person.

He has refused to release his tax returns.

And so on. . . . .

It’s unbelievable that the President would use connections to a foreign government to try to damage one of his political rivals. And Trump has admitted he did this, though of course he maintains he did nothing wrong. It seems to me that, taken as whole, there’s surely enough material to warrant the House bringing impeachment proceedings against the President.

Although both progressives and some presidential candidates (notably Elizabeth Warren) are calling for impeachment now, Nancy Pelosi is resisting, under the assumption that it will divide the country and perhaps hurt the Democrats. I don’t see the latter, and, as for dividing America, I can’t see a better instantiation of our ideals than the legislative branch, as is its brief, trying to remove a corrupt and incompetent President. Although it doesn’t look as if the Senate, even if the House impeaches Trump, will vote to convict, but that shouldn’t stop us. Indeed, if bad things come out, as they will, and the Senate Republicans vote to exonerate Trump, they will be putting their own seats in jeopardy. But what matters here is the principle, a principle that now no longer conflicts with Democratic strategy.

So here’s the first poll, just for grins:

As for the second bit, Elizabeth Warren is surging at the polls. Now that Biden is looking befuddled, she is my favorite Democratic candidate, although I differ with her on both “Medicare for All” (I do think everyone should be covered, and there should be a public option, but not mandatory government-sponsored care for everyone) and immigration (she needs to formulate a sensible but not unrestrictive policy). This is also the conclusion of Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine (click on screenshot):

Assessing Warren, Chait touts the fact that she’s a “compelling orator with a sympathetic life story and a gift for explaining complex ideas in simple terms”, but is vulnerable on several fronts:

She has thrust herself back into the conversation by releasing a blizzard of policy proposals, including a full-on embrace of Berniecare. Many of them poll quite well, though the totality of the programs — free college and debt forgiveness ($1.25 trillion over a decade), green energy investment ($2 trillion), universal child care ($700 billion), new housing subsidies ($500 billion), and Medicare for All (roughly $30 trillion) — would be impossible to fund entirely from the rich. Circa 2018, Warren had a strong case to make that she could avoid higher taxes on the middle class, but 2019 Warren couldn’t credibly make a promise like that without giving up most of her plans.

On top of all that, Warren has joined most of the field in embracing broadly unpopular stances that play well with progressive activists, like decriminalizing immigration enforcement, abolishing the death penalty, and providing health coverage to undocumented immigrants. Trump’s campaign clearly grasps that his only chance of success is to present the opposition as unacceptably radical, and the Democratic primary is giving him plenty of ammunition to make this case. (Trump has also stopped, for the moment, injecting his “Pocahontas” slur into the political news cycle, but that will return if she clinches the nomination.)

Does this mean the Democratic Party in general, or Warren in particular, is doomed? Not at all. If the economy goes into recession or slows significantly, almost any Democrat would be expected to defeat Trump. It is also possible Warren can successfully pivot from the primary to the general election.

. . . One can imagine other steps Warren can take to shore up her vulnerabilities in the coming months. She could produce her own health-care plan, one that leaves the option of employer-sponsored insurance in place. She could promise not to raise middle-class taxes, and that such a promise would take priority over enacting the full panoply of her domestic agenda. And, without breaking faith with core liberal values, she could think of some conciliatory gestures toward social traditionalists of the sort that worked well for Bill Clinton and Barack Obama (and which Hillary Clinton largely dispensed with).

This, of course, would involve Warren admitting that her campaign pledges must be revised, something that no Democrat likes to do. And is she sticks with her Medicare-for-all plan, she’s going to have to admit that taxes will be raised on all but the poor, which is almost an election-killer. This is why she has to tone down her rhetoric so her program comports with what left-leaning but not radical Americans favor. Right now I don’t see Trump as electable next year, but it’s early days.

So, just for grins, and realizing that it’s early, just tick a box:


  1. Posted September 23, 2019 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    My vote on the Trump impeachment is in large part out of an immediate sense of impassioned outrage. I may later come around to a more Pelosi-esque calculation that the effort would probably fail and would do us more harm than good right now.

    • Posted September 23, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      If we can vote him out of office in 2020, that may not take much longer than impeachment. Which is why I voted “Not yet”.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        I’ve got no say in this obviously, my opinion is that although this is most definitely worthy of impeachment I’d wait and try and get info on the record, preferably from this whistleblower.

        If Trump is on the record as having set up(or tried to set up) some kind of quid pro quo thing with Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden in return for aid or loans…I just can’t conceive how you can let him get away with that.
        And call me a naive fool but I sense that it might be a tipping point for some of the previously invertebrate Republican lickspittles – how can you stand by a POTUS who does that and look yourself in the face for the rest of your life? I think/hope that it’d be enough to turn some of them against Trump.

        OTOH, impeachment might be required in order to actually find out what happened, in order to get this whistleblower’s account on the record – in which case the Dems might have to stop trying to line everything up in perfect order before they start and instead just jump in and FIGHT.
        People will appreciate them showing some guts, and people will also understand that they’ve been forced into it by a president who is otherwise going to keep pushing and pushing until an adult steps in and tells him “NO”. (And beats him like a ginger stepchild hopefully.)

        It’ll be messy, and things might spiral out of control…but I can’t see Trump’s time as president ending in anything but complete chaos anyway.

        • rickflick
          Posted September 23, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          An example of what could happen if they engaged the fight for impeachment, the House would be able to obtain Trump’s complete tax returns, I assume. Now, again, you are likely to find things in them that are illegal, and his dependence on Russian money would be more clear, but, I’d guess it wouldn’t create any movement in Mich McConnell or any of his gang in the Senate.
          He’s already admitted to pressuring Ukraine and the needle hasn’t moved much.
          On the other hand, showing guts could, as you say, build support among the electorate. I sure think many of the hearings would be watched by millions. Some who don’t follow the news much might learn things they were completely unaware of.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted September 23, 2019 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I think it might force the Democrats into taking what is going on seriously, and force the public to take it seriously as you say.

            More than that it might help make the Democratic party seem less limp than they currently seem. The GOP have been engaged in a kind of pitched, take-no-prisoners battle ever since Trump became their candidate. They have united completely behind him and have been approaching things with a level of fight and determination that does not seem to be there with the Dems, for all their strengths. The GOP have had their backs to the wall and have been fighting like their lives depend on it for three years.
            The Democrats by contrast have been relatively restrained and rational. They have not wanted to ‘descend to their level’. But maybe a bit of that is exactly what’s needed; Maybe they need to join this battle properly, because so far they’ve just been tip-toeing around the pool and dipping their toe in every few feet. Jump in and start paddling to keep afloat. Do a belly-flop. Cannon-ball right next to a post-natal underwater yoga class.

            Once you’re thrashing about in the fray(NB: no armbands) it has the advantage of simplifying things greatly. No more constant over-analysis and trying to get everything perfectly ordered before any move is made: now the Dems have to be reactive and instinctive and passionate, and roll with the punches, and we haven’t seen enough of that from them imo. A bit of fight.

            …On the other hand the swimming pool metaphors might have run away from me a bit and I might be talking bollocks.

          • Posted September 23, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

            I agree, though I don’t think we can be so sure impeachment will give us his tax returns. As I understand it, there’s no additional law that aids the Dems’ investigations once they go with impeachment. They are expecting it only to add a little weight to their petitions with judges. I could still imagine one of Trump’s judges throwing their request for his tax returns out on the basis of (a) his tax returns not directly applying to their issue and (b) Trump has privacy rights just like any other citizen.

            • Thomas Hoeber
              Posted September 23, 2019 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

              “As I understand it, there’s no additional law that aids the Dems’ investigations once they go with impeachment. They are expecting it only to add a little weight to their petitions with judges.”

              The Trump team certainly expects it to carry weight. The Department of Justice’s civil division is defending Trump in several impeachment-related lawsuits. In one key case that will be argued next month the DOJ team has argued that since Congress isn’t in a formal impeachment process, it shouldn’t be given access to the secret testimony and evidence Mueller collected in front of the grand jury.

              If a formal impeachment inquiry had been opened months ago, there is little doubt that Trump couldn’t have gotten away with the stonewalling, including preventing people from testifying, that has led to the present impossible state of affairs.

              • Posted September 23, 2019 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

                I hope you’re right but an administration that feels it is not bound by the rule of law is likely to find ways to circumvent some of these investigations or at least delay them. The longer they are able to drag this out, the easier their case that it is a partisan witch hunt is to make. Instead of a prosecutor bringing a law-breaker to justice, it becomes a pitched battle between litigants. This helps Trump.

                By the way, I found this interesting post on the issue: https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-powers-does-formal-impeachment-inquiry-give-house

        • Posted September 23, 2019 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

          Besides your good points on calling on Republicans to at last come around out of principle, there is the more cynical reason for why they should come around. In the future, there will be a Democratic president, and that president will also deviate in some large or small way from our laws. Given their history of turning a blind eye on Trump, right now they will have 0 credibility in calling out any mis-doings coming from the other side of the aisle.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted September 23, 2019 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

            I don’t think they’re thinking anywhere near that far ahead. I honestly think a fair chunk of the Republican party see this as an existential battle, as their demographic base dies off and, concomitantly, their brand of reactionism and extreme tribalism falls out of favour. They’ve gone all-in on Trump and white identity politics.

            I suspect more than a few of them would be quite willing to turn America into an authoritarian pseudo-democracy if it meant staying in power; see the recent article in a leading conservative publication that questioned the point of democratic compromise altogether(I can’t remember the publication or the writer, but there was a hullabaloo about it, mainly because a respected conservative ‘thinker’ had essentially rationalised the legitimacy of a conservative dictatorship for the first time.).

            This is why they are fighting so ferociously; I think they suspect there’s no coming back from this for the GOP. Maybe not all of them feel like that, but there’s a certain end-of-days quality to their lunacy that makes me think they haven’t saved any energy for the return trip.

  2. Posted September 23, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I have changed my position on impeachment since the last time you did one of these polls. I think the rerouting of US Airforce flights via Scotland was probably the straw that broke this camel’s back.

    The corruption of this president is now IMO clearly and unambiguously worse than that of Richard Nixon. There must be an absolute ton of evidence against him by now that, if it doesn’t convince the Republican Senate will convince everybody else. Maybe there’s a possibility of taking down Trump and Moscow Mitch at the same time.

    • darrelle
      Posted September 23, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Regarding the Republican Senate, I don’t think it’s a matter of convincing them that Trump meets the standards to warrant impeachment. They almost certainly know better than us that he easily clears the bar necessary to warrant impeachment, they just don’t really care about that. Not enough of them. What they would need to be convinced of is that impeaching Trump would be better for them personally than not impeaching him would be. Whether he warrants it or not, or even whether or not it would be best for the country isn’t part of the party’s calculus.

      I think mostly it comes down to the worst person in the US, Mitch McConnell. If he decided that conditions had changed such that impeachment had become a better course of action for the maintenance of his personal power and wealth, then the Senate would impeach Trump. Otherwise impeachment is very unlikely. Unless perhaps the Republican Party shatters under the pressure and enough R Senators break party discipline. That would be a good day in my opinion.

      • Posted September 23, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        As things stand, impeachment fails in the Senate, but if the evidence, which will all be aired in public, is strong enough, that won’t help Trump at re-election. Even more to the point, if it is strong enough, it might show the corruption of Moscow Mitch and the Republican Senate into sharp relief and damage them too.

        Up until now, I didn’t think such strong evidence exists. Now, I reckon it’s worth a punt. If there were a physical recording of Trump extorting the Ukrainian president or plotting to divert taxpayers’ money into his own businesses, I think that would be enough to finish him.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

          “If there were a physical recording of Trump extorting the Ukrainian president or plotting to divert taxpayers’ money into his own businesses, I think that would be enough to finish him.”

          That’s the part that’s currently missing, and for that reason and that reason alone I clicked on ‘not yet’. But actually getting such evidence will probably require impeachment. And then it becomes a case of just jumping in, whether or not you’re prepared.

          That kind of on-the-fly political improv is anathema to Pelosi, but it might end up being just what the Dems need to unite them and put a bit of fight back into them as a party.

          So ‘not yet’…but I think it’s coming, one way or the other. I wish you all well for the battle to come. May we all soon live in far less interesting times. Like, flat-out tedious times.

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Ditto, I was also on the fence last time but the continued deluge of corruption has pushed me to a firm “impeach”. It was clear from the start that he was temperamental unsuited to the job, but it’s so much worse than expected.

      On the second poll, who knows, if Biden collapses perhaps Klobuchar or some other moderate will get a boost that will make them competitive. Honestly I’d rather vote for someone younger than the septuagenerian trio for such a demanding job. And for someone more centrist than Warren for practical/electibility reasons. That being said she’s a good communicator and very bright.

      • Posted September 23, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        I think both Biden and Sanders are too old for this and I really wish they hadn’t stood.

        Warren, I think is marginal, but at least she is younger than Trump. Whenever I’ve seen her speaking on the campaign trail she has impressed me. The speech she did on the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory Fire was phenomenal.

        I’m an outsider, being in the UK, so I don’t have a vote, but I think anybody who is articulate should beat the crap out of Trump. Another reason not to choose Biden.

  3. Mark Jones
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Sorry to be a bit dim, but can anyone explain how the latest allegations are any worse than what was in the Mueller Report? As far as I can see Trump has established that the many instances of highly dubious behaviour documented therein is A-OK with America (or GOP America anyway), so why should he not invite foreign powers to intervene again? Or is this a case of *accumulated* bad behaviour triggering an impeachment?

    • Posted September 23, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      In cases of obstruction of justice the prosecution has to prove malicious intent. I don’t think the evidence is there for that and what evidence there is is in the form of testimony from people who are mostly in prison for lying.

      It was not a case of “is Trump guilty” but “can Trump plausibly deny it and subsequently spin an acquittal”, which I think he could.

      With respect to emoluments, Trump is on record as saying that the G7 summit should be at one of his resorts. That is completely undeniable. Plus the whistle blower is probably not somebody who is likely to be done for lying to Congress and so on.

      • Mark Jones
        Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        Thanks Jeremy, I appreciate the difficulties with impeaching on the details of the Mueller report; what I don’t get is what he has done here that is any worse than that detailed in the Mueller report (unless he has tied it in to foreign aid). Is there a difference between Trump asking (in a phone call) the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden and him asking the Russian government (in a campaign speech!) to investigate Clinton?

        I’m probably missing some details here, hence my puzzlement.

        • Murali
          Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

          Did the Muller report conclude (I have not read it) that the Trump campaign had asked a foreign government for information on opponents?

          • Mark Jones
            Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

            It’s complicated, I recommend you listen to Lawfare’s podcast or articles on the Report: https://shows.pippa.io/the-report

            The Report says, “Beginning in June 2016, [redacted] forecast to senior Campaign officials that WikiLeaks would release information damaging to Clinton. WikiLeaks’s first release came in July 2016. Around the same time, candidate Trump announced that he hoped Russia would recover emails described as missing from a private server used by Clinton when she was Secretary of State.”


            There’s more, although it’s mostly a catalog of incompetence on the part of the Trump Campaign.

        • rickflick
          Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

          Maybe the extra excitement is because he’s doing exactly what he was condemned for doing in the past. He seems to be mocking and taunting civilization. It’s like he’s asking the world, how much are you idiots going to let me get away with?

          • Jon Gallant
            Posted September 23, 2019 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

            Trump got away with refusing to release his tax returns in 2016. For that matter, in 2014 Vladimir Vladimirovich got away with providing a BUK missile to his creatures in Donetsk to shoot down civilian airflight MH17, and then covering up that exploit. The idiots have lowered the bar so much that now virtually anything can be gotten away with.

            • rickflick
              Posted September 23, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

              Quite right. Unfortunately.

        • Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

          When he made the phone call he was doing it as the president of the USA and I believe he was attempting to make some military aid money conditional on it.

          • Mark Jones
            Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

            Thanks Jeremy. So it’s more serious now because he made the request while supposedly carrying out Presidential duties? I guess that might be more serious, but I’m not convinced.

            If aid money was conditional that would be significantly more serious, though I understand there’s no proof of that as yet.

            • Posted September 23, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

              Also, you can make a case that asking the Russians to do it in the context of a campaign rally was a joke. It’s way more serious now if he did do it whilst talking to the Ukraine premier on the phone as president.

              • Posted September 23, 2019 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

                That’s true (and Trump did claim it was a joke), but that claim is difficult to defend when the surrounding evidence is examined: the (failed) attempts by members of the Trump campaign to actually access Hilary’s emails, such as the Trump Tower meeting on June 6th 2016, and the Wikileaks and Russian intelligence activity that coincided with this (from the Report):

                “After candidate Trump stated on July 27, 2016, that he hoped Russia would ‘find the 30,000 emails that are missing,’ Trump asked individuals affiliated with his Campaign to find the deleted Clinton emails. Michael Flynn—who would later serve as National Security Advisor in the Trump Administration—recalled that Trump made this request repeatedly…”

          • Murali
            Posted September 23, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

            Is there a protocol for one government to ask another to investigate one of its (former government’s) citizens?

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted September 23, 2019 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

              Sure, but that protocol goes through official State Department and/or Justice Department channels — not through a thuggish, non-governmental mouthpiece like Rudy Giuliani, as Trump has endeavored to do with the Ukraine (all the while withholding, without de jure justification, a quarter billion dollars in congressionally apportioned military aid).

  4. Posted September 23, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Why not? Pence. But that’s the only reason.

  5. Posted September 23, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    I think the Dems are more wily than we give them credit for if there plan all along was to initiate impeachment proceedings during the run-up to the 2020 election. Imagine impeachment debates in the house while the RNC convention is coronating it’s orange potted plant. It wouldn’t matter what the Senate had to say, if they initiated a trial in the Senate after Election Day. He would go nuts, we’ll, even more nuts. But be careful though, wily Dems, because remember when Clinton was being impeached, he, a relatively stable president, chose to initiate a bombing campaign of Iraq to deflect attention from the proceedings. Heaven only knows, pardon the expression, what the unhinged, orange monster would come up with, against a decidedly less anemic enemy, to recover his election hopes. I shudder at the thought.

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      I hope you’re right regarding Pelosi’s scheming. Although I tend not to give people too much credit for playing multidimensional chess, unless or until it’s clear that is what they are doing. And your comment regarding bombing is certainly a sobering one.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Impeach the bastard already. Will the Republicans in congress vote to acquit? Yes, of course they will, so long as they remain scared shitless of his cultish base (which has seized control of the Republican Party lock, stock, and ballot box).

    But let them defend the indefensible, if they so choose, in full view of the American people after a thorough airing of the evidence. We either live in a constitutional republic with an intact system of checks and balances between the legislative and executive branches of government, or we don’t. Let’s find out.

    Demurring on impeachment to keep our powder dry for the next election constitutes an act of political cowardice. It simply emboldens Trump, and sets a horrible precedent for future presidential misconduct.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Apparently Ken, there are many cowards right here as well. A corrupt and totally unprepared creep was elected nearly 3 years ago and the people of this country are as stupid as the politicians and have done nothing to stop this insanity. I am talked out on the subject but expect people will get what they worked for…nothing. I believe this country is well on the way down and out. They follow England in history like a poorly written soap opera. Right down the crapper we go.

  7. KD
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    The Impeachment crowd is looking for a repeat of the Clinton Impeachment saga, but they are forgetting that what captivated the imagination in that one was salacious sexual details. Its not clear that it helped the GOP, Bush won in the courts, not on the ballot.

    It didn’t seem to have much impact on perceptions of Gore that I could tell.

    Impeaching Trump for asking the Ukraine to investigate alleged corruption on the part of Biden is unlikely to accomplish more than polarize the electorate. Worse, if the narrative shifts to looking at all the pay-to-play on the Democratic side, it may end up tarnishing the Democrats as the party of corruption in the eyes of Independent voters. [Trump: “Don’t throw me in that briar patch.”] I suppose if the Democratic Establishment has nothing to hide, it might be sensible enough, but what are they in Washington for, anyways, if not payoffs to friends?

    No, Pelosi is correct. The best way to beat Trump is through a legitimate contest in an election. [1/3 of the country hates Trump, 1/3 of the country loves Trump, and 1/3 of the country doesn’t care about Trump, so just polarizing your true believers isn’t going to accomplish much.] Plus, Trump did worse than Romney with whites, better than Romney with Blacks and Hispanics. Too much of the know-it-all white lady bluestocking shtick and the Democrats risk losing minority voters, and the goes double if Warren ends up the nominee.

    It is striking that so much of what is happening just seems like payback for the Clinton Impeachment. I wonder if we would have had the same level of theater if Kavanaugh hadn’t played the role he played in the Starr investigation, and I wonder how many of the impeachment crowd are just seeking a tit-for-tat in response to the Clinton Impeachment.

    • Posted September 23, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      No, I don’t think they are hoping for a repeat of the Clinton scenario. For one thing, that impeachment was unsuccessful.

    • darrelle
      Posted September 23, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      It is striking that so much of what is happening just seems like payback for the Clinton Impeachment.

      If it does then there is something wrong with the assessment. The two situations couldn’t be more different. The biggest difference, Trump warrants impeachment several times over and Clinton did not.

      This line is just another version of “The Dems / Libs / Left, do the same things as the Reps / Conservatives / Right do,” in aid of normalizing the order of magnitude worse behaviors of the Republican Party. The two parties aren’t remotely the same and for all his many flaws Clinton was a demonstrably far superior POTUS than Trump has been or is capable of ever being. And that isn’t just subjective opinion, no matter how hard anyone wants to try and spin it. There are plenty of statistics, matters of fact, to support that contention.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      “It is striking that so much of what is happening just seems like payback for the Clinton Impeachment. I wonder if we would have had the same level of theater if Kavanaugh hadn’t played the role he played in the Starr investigation, and I wonder how many of the impeachment crowd are just seeking a tit-for-tat in response to the Clinton Impeachment.”

      Really?? You think it’s just petty ‘payback’? …When the president of America is alleged to have offered massive inducements to a foreign government if they investigate his political opponent?

      Just imagine if that last sentence had been written three years ago, before Trump normalised this stuff. No-one would have dreamed of downplaying it then. If it had been Obama it would have meant instant, unequivocal impeachment. He’d have been dragged out of the White House in chains.

      The idea that impeachment for this is somehow unreasonable or unjustified or petty is just gaslighting imo. This is a democratic crisis, plain and simple, and if you’re no longer capable of seeing it for what it is then you’re in bigger trouble than I thought.

      • KD
        Posted September 23, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        I am afraid to say that Hell is going to freeze over before 2/3rds of the Senate votes to impeach Trump, so it amounts to a political gesture.

        That doesn’t mean the Dems shouldn’t do it if it gives them an electoral advantage. I’m just struggling to see what the advantage is (and the fact that Pelosi seems to agree with me suggests that some senior people may feel the same way).

        My other question is whether all this new talk of impeachment is fueled by some insecurity that Trump may be a two-term President, that the Democratic candidates can’t cut it.

        I see the election as a coin flip at this point, but the energy of the Democratic party ought to be directed primarily at shifting the advantage to the Dems in the coming election, and impeachment is just going to be a distraction (maybe a decent insurance policy for wrecking things if he wins). I think the polling shows that the Dem’s unfavorable ratings have climbed to parity with the GOP since 2018.

        On the other hand, many people are sick of the partisan b.s. in the legislative branch and would like to see Congress actually pass a decent bipartisan bill on something. I think extreme partisanship on the Dem side may hurt in 2020.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted September 23, 2019 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

          The question of whether impeachment would be advantageous to Democrats is separate from the question of whether this is a serious, impeachment-worthy allegation.

          The answer to the first question is ‘maybe’, but the answer to the second question seems to me to be ‘most definitely’.

          They’re two separate issues – you can say it might be unwise to impeach but I really do not see how can you say Trump doesn’t warrant it, and isn’t forcing the Democratic party’s hand.

          I’m not an American citizen, but it doesn’t seem to me that this is some kind of gussied-up tinpot scheme by the Dems.

          This is the POTUS allegedly trying to bribe a foreign leader into tanking his most feared and prominent political opponent, a year or so before the election.
          …I think if you really are blase enough to dismiss it as the Democrats making a mountain out of a molehill, and if that attitude is prevalent among the public, then you are in deep, deep trouble as a country, deeper than I thought.

          • KD
            Posted September 23, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

            Just so we are clear, my definition of an impeachment worthy offense is one that, if given a full and fair hearing before the Senate, given how the Senate is currently constructed, would likely result in 2/3rds voting to impeach. Anything below that is an exercise in political theater (but that’s okay if it serves a useful political function).

            I don’t think the allegation is impeachment worthy in that sense. Further, given the partisanship in the House, I imagine you could get a majority to vote for impeachment of Trump for consecutive unlicensed dog violations at this point. . . so there is no real bottom.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted September 23, 2019 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

              ‘Worthy of impeachment’ seems to me to be an ethical judgement. Whether it’ll succeed or not is a different question.

              Eg. you wouldn’t watch Trump shoot someone on 5th avenue and say ‘well, that would be worthy of impeachment, but the GOP are _really_ united behind him so I guess it isn’t’.

          • Posted September 23, 2019 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

            There’s a Catch-22 aspect to this latest episode. Perhaps the Dems have to officially start impeachment proceedings in order to force the Trump administration to release the whistleblower’s complaint and transcripts of Trump’s Ukraine phone calls. However, what if they turn out to be big nothing-burgers? Trump would happily claim that their attempt to impeach was another witch hunt and, just like the Mueller report, a big fat failure. This seems so obvious, I even wonder that Trump has arranged this as a honey pot to trap the Dems. Trump’s not smart enough to do something like this by himself but perhaps some of his minions are.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted September 23, 2019 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

              It’s definitely a risk, but you can go nuts calculating probabilities and wondering about this and that. Paralysis by analysis.

              …I still think it’d be best if they managed to get definitive evidence that there was a reciprocal arrangement between Trump and the Ukraine of course.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 23, 2019 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

          I am afraid to say that Hell is going to freeze over before 2/3rds of the Senate votes to impeach Trump …

          It was like trying to get hell to freeze over for a prosecutor in the Jim Crow south to convince an all-white jury to convict someone accused of lynching, even if the suspect was caught red-handed. Was that any reason to refuse to indict?

          Let the American public watch Mitch McConnell and the Republican lackeys in the senate acquit Donald Trump in spite of overwhelming evidence — or let them watch firsthand as McConnell plays parliamentary games to try to keep that evidence from getting a fair hearing before the US senate and the American people.

          Donald Trump has been lying about being “vindicated” at every turn. He will continue to lie about it whether the House of Representatives declines to impeach or the Senate acquits. So what?

  8. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Should have started impeachment hearings months ago. May be too late now. It is all on the democrats. They have rolled over and listened to Pelosi for too long. I think now, the only way he goes is if people actually go to the streets. Not likely. Trump now controls all three branches of government and the democrats have sat on their butts and still do. Most of the people right here at this web site have done the same. So now you are coming off the sideline. Give me a break.

  9. DrBrydon
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I still vote ‘no’. There is no national consensus. We are less than fourteen months from an election. If Trump shouldn’t be President, let his opponents in both parties make their case. This is something better handled by the general electorate than the House of Representatives. As for a Warren nomination, who knows? I’d like to see some more moderates from both parties enter the race.

  10. Historian
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    There comes a time when principle must trump (pun intended) political expediency. Our form of government has never been more greatly challenged than possibly the American Civil War. Not to hold Trump accountable is to say that any president (at least a Republican one) could do anything he wants during his term and can only be stopped by the next election, notwithstanding the extreme damage done to democratic institutions in the interim. Keep in mind that a Republican controlled House would have impeached a year ago for such actions if a Democrat had been president. Think of Bill Clinton. Moreover, if a president had committed such actions during his second term nothing short of impeachment could stop him from running amok. It is true that if the House Democrats impeach Trump, Mitch McConnell in the Senate will bury the so-called trial so quickly that hardly anyone would know it had taken place. Yet, impeachment is a moral stand that must be taken. If it is not, I can only conclude that democracy in this country is dead since there will be no check on any misdeed the president commits except waiting for the next election, but if the president should be in his second term when he wouldn’t be up for re-election there would be no check at all.

    Pelosi and the Democrats from districts Trump won in 2016 assume that their constituents would return to Trump in 2020 and kick out the Democrat representatives who won in the 2018 mid-terms if they voted for impeachment. Without seeing hard empirical evidence, such as polls, I am skeptical of such thinking. While at this time the majority of constituents may not support impeachment, it does not necessarily follow that this will remain the case after the revelations of a full impeachment inquiry. Also, it is an unproven assumption that if the majority of voters remain unconvinced that impeachment is warranted that because of this enough voters who voted for the Democrat in 2018 will switch to elect a Republican representative.

    Impeachment is warranted for the many reasons listed by Leonhardt. It all boils down to Trump failing to live up to his oath of swearing to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. For the Democrats, there are political risks whether they impeach or not. I think they should take the risk to impeach. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached for much less and strong cases can be make that in these instances impeachment was warranted. If Pelosi and the House Democrats don’t impeach, I am convinced they will be convicted by future historians as the moral cowards they appear to be. Trump and his Attorney General, Bill Barr, believe that a president can do anything he wants while in office and suffer no consequences until out of office. I cannot think of any doctrine more pernicious to democracy.

    • Posted September 24, 2019 at 4:02 am | Permalink

      That last point is very important. Whether you agree with impeachment or not, Trump must be seen to suffer the consequences of his illegal and unconstitutional actions. Either he must be impeached and booted out or he must be indicted and stand trial after he has left office – or both.

      If Trump gets away with everything he has done, it will set a terrible precedent for future presidents.

  11. Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    The House should not impeach because of political reality. Trump will be acquitted in the Senate, not only vindicating him in the eyes of many but, more importantly, normalizing his wrongful acts. Once Trump is acquitted, his wrongful acts will no longer be wrongful, making them acceptable for all future presidents. Better he be defeated and the Senate turned Democratic in the next election. Then we can deal with citizen Trump.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      I can’t see him giving the Dems much choice in the matter tbh.

      • Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        He wants them to start impeachment hearings. Good enough reason not to do it, imo.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

          Maybe he does…or maybe he’s just a fucking crook who thinks he can get away with anything he wants because he always has in the past.

          The idea that he’s a brilliant tactician idly toying with his opponents and forcing them down blind avenues doesn’t really square with the fat, useless human klaxon who spends half his day tweeting out Fox news stories from under a pile of KFC wrappers. He has a certain low cunning but he’s not Moriarty.

          • Posted September 23, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

            In other words, he only thinks he’s playing 3D chess.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted September 23, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

              Who knows what goes on in that rattling spray-can of a mind.

          • rickflick
            Posted September 23, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

            I think tRump has a small set of tools he has learned to use successfully, but certainly no more than low cunning. His tool set is mainly bluster – talking trash and threatening anyone who might opposes his progress. He instinctively confesses to crimes in a way that communicates, “well, what are you going to do about it?” Alternatively he’s capable of denying the obvious. This is a ploy to distract and keep opponents off balance. If he thinks he can enrage Democrats, he will. Beyond that, he seems to have no philosophy, program, ideology or conviction of any sort. He’s highly reactive, watching for things that come up in the news that he can flail against. He’s someone who found it hard gain the respect of important people, so he resorts to cultivating a core of ignorant pawns and obsequious politicians.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted September 23, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

              Yes, agreed. If he is some kind of Napoleonic tactical genius then I can’t say I’ve noticed it. What brilliant political gambit was he pulling off when he said America should nuke hurricanes and everyone pointed out that that was a completely demented idea?

              It’s absurd. People like that Dibley(?) cartoonist guy, Scott something…people like that are so besotted, they’d say Trump was ‘cleverly manipulating his opponents’ if he had a stroke on the White House lawn and died.

              I prefer to think of him simply as a kind of super-weasel. That is his one skill: weaseling out of things and leaving other people carrying the can. He is the weasel from up on high. The uber-weasel. When the universe ends Trump will be there, weaseling out of it and getting a transfer to a different universe – tax-payer funded of course.

  12. Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I think Trump has taken the right tack on his current Ukraine-Biden debacle. If he can portray it as just a conversation about corruption, I suspect enough people will buy it. He just might get away with it. Of course, it all depends on what he actually said. If we get to hear it, I suspect it will be clear that he was simply goading a foreign official into digging up dirt on an opponent and that there was clearly a carrot or stick associated with it.

  13. EdwardM
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    I agree with Mr Kukec, Historian and others – yes the Dems risk some political capital here but our very democracy is at stake. If this president is not confronted I think it really could spell the end of our great experiment. Impeach the motherfucker already.

    As for Warren, she’ll likely win the Dem nomination and because of that, unless something happens, Trump will get reelected. She carries much of the same baggage as Clinton – irrespective of some of her disastrous ideas (in terms of electability), she is a highly unlikable person.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted September 23, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      “She carries much of the same baggage as Clinton”
      How so? It is not that I necessarily disagree, but I do not see it. No first lady along a President rabidly hated by the reactionary segment of the population, no long stint in Federal govt, no SoS under Obama, no Benghaziii!!!, no emails, no (well unjustly) smeared Clinton foundation, etc., etc.
      Or did you just mean she’s highly ‘unlikable’?

      • EdwardM
        Posted September 23, 2019 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        I meant chiefly that Warren, like Clinton, is an unlikable person. Like Clinton, after I hear her speak -even on issues I agree- I feel like I need to take a shower. She will also repeat the “deplorables” error, in her own way of course. But it’s coming.

        • Posted September 23, 2019 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

          Warren may well have her own “deplorables” moment but she can always just explain that she was referring to white supremacists. Things have changed since 2016.

        • KD
          Posted September 23, 2019 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

          More unlikable than Trump?

    • Jim Swetnam
      Posted September 24, 2019 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      i find Elizabeth Warren to be eminently likable, and I am very puzzled why anyone, after listening to her clear, direct and highly intelligent words, would need to take a shower. I feel that way about Trump, certainly, but Warren? That’s just bizarre.

  14. Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Warren will soon pass Biden if she hasn’t already. (I know she has in some polls.) Biden is starting to look a bit like Hillary Clinton in that he’s running mostly on that it is his time and that he deserves it. He doesn’t represent progress of any kind, except that he’d replace Trump of course.

  15. davidintoronto
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Legal question: can an impeached (and convicted) US president run for reelection?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 23, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      I see nothing in the US constitution that prohibits it. And, of course, there’s no case law regarding it, given that the only two presidents to be impeached, #17 and #42, were both acquitted in the senate and never sought reelection anyway (Clinton being term-limited by the 22nd Amendment and Andrew Johnson being … well, Andrew Johnson, whom no one voted to be president in the first place).

      FWIW, conviction of a crime is no bar to running for president (although, depending on the state of one’s residence, it may disenfranchise one from voting for president). Eugene V. Debs got nearly a million votes in the 1920 presidential election while serving time for a felony at the federal prison in Atlanta.

      • Desnes Diev
        Posted September 23, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        I also have a question: does an ex-POTUS can be put in jail for corruption or other crime(s) committed during his “presidency”?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 23, 2019 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

          Yes. That’s why president Gerald Ford pardoned his predecessor, Richard Nixon, after the latter’s resignation.

          The US constitution is silent on whether a sitting US president can be indicted for a crime while still in office. There is an opinion (disputed by many) from the Office of Legal Counsel for the US Department of Justice saying that a sitting president cannot be criminally charged. But that opinion is binding only with regard to federal criminal charges, not charges originating in any state’s parallel justice system.

          There is a criminal investigation of Donald Trump pending in the District Attorney’s office of the New York borough of Manhattan (including for charges for which Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is currently serving a prison sentence). If the Manhattan DA’s office indicts Trump while he is still in office, it will present a constitutional test case that will wind up before the US Supreme Court.

          • Desnes Diev
            Posted September 23, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

            Thank you.

  16. Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    You do realize that “government funded” means taxpayer funded right?

    Where WE are in control, not insurance companies who only profit by denying care

    I truly do not understand why you are against medicareforall, what would you have people rely upon if not a system like the rest of the world, funded by our tax payers and managed by people we vote into office?

    we need to be rid of for-profit healthcare and move to single payer healthcare for all

    All you ever say is “I mentioned my reasons on another post” but I haven’t found it and I can’t think of a good reason to not want single payer.

    Unless of course you like paying into insurance companies and contributing to their bottom line instead of your healthcare.

    • EdwardM
      Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      “Where WE are in control, not insurance companies who only profit by denying care”

      Not true. Insurance companies make a profit because they understand actuarial science NOT because they deny care (though they do THAT too). It’s like saying casinos make a profit because of drunken fools. That’s true too, but mostly they earn their money because they understand the percentage in gambling.

      • Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        Actually, they do both. Actuarial science is their first choice, denial of coverage is their backup.

    • darrelle
      Posted September 23, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      As Jerry clearly wrote he is not against medicare for all, he is against medicare for all without an option to opt out of it. Why is he against that? Very likely because of concern that enough of the US public will have issues with compulsory medicare for all to block or inhibit getting a good health-care-for-all of some sort up and running in the US.

      Shorter, it’s concern about being able to sell it to the public because in the US fetishizing “government taking away rights + socialism = ultimate evil” is a national past time. And that is exactly how many people will / do think of compulsory government programs of any kind.

      I can’t say for sure that that’s Jerry’s reason, but I agree with it. Medicare for all but with an option to not participate is the better option I think. I freely admit the issue is too complex for me to be certain, but I’ve yet to hear of any reasons why an opt out feature would cause any significant issues for implementing medicare for all. If done well I think that within ten years only a relatively tiny number of people, fringe cases, would be opting out.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted September 23, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        Let’s just take this a bit further. If Medicare for all was an option and you still could opt out and take private medical insurance, how long do you think that private insurance would last? It would soon go away because it could not complete with the govt. plan. Remember, we have Medicare, as it is today for a reason. The private insurance companies would no longer insure many of the older folks period, or if they did, it would cost way more than anyone could afford. With profit and administrative costs, private health insurance in this country is too expensive for everyone but the rich. The large company plans are still hanging in there but are slowly providing less coverage and more cost.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted September 23, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

          I agree, if Medicare for all is good enough, private insurance will persist as a small to medium sized industry for those that want some extra comforts when hospitalised, want their homeopathy reimbursed and such.
          I think excluding private insurance is a completely unnecessary and destructive burden on ‘Medicare for all’ policies. I’m about 90% sure she will drop that if elected candidate.

          • tomh
            Posted September 23, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

            I can see private insurance surviving as Medicare supplements, exactly as it does now. Medicare pays 80% of costs, in general, and for those who have them, private supplements pay the remainder. They don’t pay for anything Medicare doesn’t cover, I assume for that one would need a separate policy.

        • darrelle
          Posted September 23, 2019 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I agree completely. It seems very unlikely that private insurance would last very long once medicare for all is established. At least if it is done so in a reasonably competent way. If, for one example, the Republican Party were able to contaminate it the way they did the ACA then perhaps not.

      • Steve Gerrard
        Posted September 23, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Warren understands something that is often overlooked when talking about “plans for that.”

        Passing legislation is a negotiation. Rule #1 for negotiations is that you do not start out where you want to end up. You ask for more, so you can negotiate to an acceptable compromise.

        This always applies to what politicians say they are going to do, and especially to presidents, as they are not even going to be in the legislature.

        Shorter version, yes any plan from Warren will go through significant modification on its way to becoming law.

        This is my biggest beef with the pundits who want a Democrat to “run in the middle.” Doing that means the inevitable comprise ends up being middle-right. The Democrats should run as far to the left as the GOP is running to the right, so we can end up compromising at the sensible middle.

  17. Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Impeachment: I am not sure that Pelosi has the House votes to do so. Remember the “blue wave” in 2018 came from Trump districts flipping..barely. Trump impeachment is NOT popular in those districts, and Reps who back impeachment are likely to not be reelected in 2020.

    Warren: I don’t she has a great aptitude for campaigning. She is brilliant and her supporters love her (well attended rallies) but I question her “show-biz” skills.

    Of course, if she wins the nomination I’ll vote for her and support her campaign.

  18. tomh
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    This sums up what can be expected from the huge disappointment that is Nancy Pelosi.

    TRUMP: I did it

    PELOSI: These troubling allegations must be investigated

    TRUMP: No, it was me

    PELOSI: This raises more questions and I won’t rest until we get to the bottom of it

    TRUMP: I broke the law

    PELOSI: We will collect all the facts and determine if any law was broken

    New York Times:

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned of a “new stage of investigation” if President Trump refused to hand over a whistle-blower complaint reportedly related to whether he pressured Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son. She didn’t use the word “impeachment.”

    • Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      I don’t think it is that simple. Trump hasn’t admitted to much more than having the conversation and talking about Biden. His “just talking about corruption” angle just might work, though I suspect if we got to hear the conversation we would not be convinced by it.

      Even if Pelosi goes for impeachment, what are the chances we’ll hear the conversation? Slim and one, I’d say. If that’s the case, where does that leave impeachment? He and his minions will continue to portray it successfully as a witch hunt. I’m not saying he’ll win in 2020 but this attempt at impeachment may very well help him.

      • tomh
        Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        More likely that a formal impeachment investigation will destroy him.

        • Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

          I sure hope so but he’s teflon coated, where by “teflon” I really mean the GOP has his back.

  19. Nicholas K.
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    The phone calls to Ukraine are certainly impeachable. Trump is said to have pressured Ukraine eight times in a single call to investigate Biden’s son. That alone is impeachable and warrants removing him from office. If the transcripts shoe he dangled the aid that was voted to Ukraine by Congress with any threat to delay or cancel it, he must be removed immediately.

    I would vote for a ham sandwich against Trump. That said, I support Warren. She is my candidate of choice.

  20. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I’d gladly vote for Elizabeth Warren, though I haven’t settled on a Democratic candidate to support yet. She’s an order of magnitude smarter than Donald Trump and she’s steeped in public policy and good governance — subjects Donald Trump spent a lifetime ignoring and can’t be arsed to learn about now that he’s president.

    Anyway, the nation is due for s swing back to the left after being mired in a post-Reagan right-wing trough for decades now. Warren just needs to find a sweet spot in the vanguard of where the nation wants to go.

    Plus, Warren has a message of economic populism — a fair share of taxes to be paid by the super rich, consumer protections, health & safety regulation, support for organized labor — that coincides with the actual economic interests of many Trump voters (pace Trump’s own faux populism, belied by his governing like a plutocrat while keeping his base distracted with Kulturkampf resentments). Warren’s roots are in an old Okie populism that hearkens back to Woody Guthrie and John Steinbeck. It’s a dormant economic populism that’s also long played well in the crucial states of the upper-Midwest, like Wisconsin and Minnesota and Michigan, going back to the days of the Progressive Party of the La Follette family. And Warren can preach it righteously from the hustings when she’s on a roll (as she has been lately).

  21. Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Should the Dems impeach?

    Yes. They’ve painted themselves into a corner on this one from day 1 of the Trump presidency, not doing so just plays into the perception that they’re shy to put their money where their mouths are at this point.

    Will Warren become their next candidate? No. They should, but the Dems are too timid to do it, they’ll end up losing this next election with Biden as the candidate.

  22. Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    “. . .not all of these constitute ‘high crimes and misdemeanors. . .’”

    That’s an understatement. Everything from “He encourages foreign leaders to enrich him and his family by staying at his hotels” on down (9 out of 15) is risible as fodder for impeachment.

    Yes, the man is, as you say, “unpresidential, manifestly narcissistic and self-serving,” but by including items that are merely petulant (“He spends hours on end watching television”) or simply not factual (“He launched his presidential campaign by describing Mexicans as ‘rapists’” or “He uses a phrase popular with dictators—‘the enemy of the people—to describe journalists”) Leonhardt undermines his whole case.

    Again, I say forget impeachment and focus on voting the clown out.

    • EdwardM
      Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      “….or simply not factual (“He launched his presidential campaign by describing Mexicans as ‘rapists’” or “He uses a phrase popular with dictators—‘the enemy of the people—to describe journalists”)”

      Wait. He did both of those things. The googles can prove it…

      “What can be simpler or more accurately stated? The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.”

      -From an interview on Fox News July 5, 2015

      “The press is doing everything within their power to fight the magnificence of the phrase, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! They can’t stand the fact that this Administration has done more than virtually any other Administration in its first 2yrs. They are truly the ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!

      -From a Trump twat dated 5 Apr 2019

      • EdwardM
        Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        Oh my. That’s some typo there, isn’t it? In some narrow uses of the word I suppose it is apropos but otherwise, my apologies.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

          I don’t know why you’re apologising for such a glorious ‘typo’. I love it.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 23, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

            Typo? Hell, I assumed EdwardM was simply letting us know that the verb “tweet” has an irregular past tense. 🙂

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted September 23, 2019 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

              He came, he saw, he twat? 🙂 I like it.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted September 23, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

                Veni, vidi, pudendi, as the OG Orange Julius put it. 🙂

            • Posted September 23, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

              “. . .the verb ‘tweet’ has an irregular past tense.”

              Actually, “twat” is sub-junktive. 😊

  23. merilee
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink


  24. Matthew North
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I’ve been disgusted, appalled and embarrassed, by that buffoonish, pathologically lying, narcissistic, ridiculous, traitorous criminal, of a so called “President”, for the last two years. I felt nauseous on election night 2016. A number of historical contingency’s got that awful person into office, the biggest being our outdated and undemocratic Electoral College. Without a doubt, that Tangerine idiot is the absolute worst person to ever occupy The Oval Office. IT IS TIME TO IMPEACH HIM!!

    Nancy Pelosi is NOT a political mastermind. It doesn’t matter that Trump’s Republican partners in crime in the Senate won’t impeach him. If the House votes to impeach and then kicks it over to the Senate and they don’t impeach then the moral responsibility of letting that monstrosity stay in office will be on the Republicans.

    The longer The Embarrassment in Chief gets away with his crimes, the worse it’s gonna get for this country, and it’s pretty bad now. We are running out of time.

    • Mark R.
      Posted September 23, 2019 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      I agree.

      • Matthew North
        Posted September 23, 2019 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        Thank you.

        Also, I meant to say, “contingencies”.

        When I get pissed off about Casino Mussolini Trump when I text, I F- up on grammar.

  25. Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    “If there were a physical recording of Trump extorting the Ukrainian president or plotting to divert taxpayers’ money into his own businesses, I think that would be enough to finish him.”

    I have my doubts for one simple reason. This “crime” doesn’t hurt those that support him. Why should the GOP give him up simply for going after the enemy? Same for most of his voters, I suspect.

  26. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Here is a prediction for all the pundits and economists. As the U.S. plunges ahead into recession the spineless republicans finally start to make noises against Trump. The wavering is just as phony as the support was but it insures complete defeat in the next election even with Russia attempting to rig the results for Trump. The military will step in come January 2020 and remove the creep from the white house. Why the military you say? Because after the 20th a new president will be commander a chief and they will take orders from whoever it is.

  27. pablo
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Warren was my preferred candidate, but she made 2 errors that make her unelectable against Trump. The first was her grovelling apology for thinking she had native American ancestry, the other is proposing decriminalizing border jumping.

    • Posted September 23, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Don’t you think her Native American heritage faux pas can be forgiven, especially when compared to Trump’s racial bombast?

      I suspect (and hope) that Warren’s support for decriminalizing border jumping is offered just for the primary win? I realize that makes her slightly dishonest but she can always say that she had to adjust her position based on feedback from potential voters. In fact, doing this would also be a win as it shows her as favoring voter opinions over ideology. It’s all in the presentation.

      • pablo
        Posted September 23, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        It wasn’t the faux pas that was bad(though offended SJWs likely won’t forgive that)it was the apology that will cost her votes. People would rather vote for a jerk they perceive as strong rather than a nice person they think is weak.

        • Posted September 23, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

          I was thinking the faux pas as the whole episode, claim and apology. Your strong jerk vs weak nice person thesis might well be true generally but I still think Warren can overcome this particular strong jerk.

      • Posted September 24, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        “I suspect (and hope) that Warren’s support for decriminalizing border jumping is offered just for the primary win?”

        I hope so too, Paul, because if she sticks with it she won’t get my vote for president (though I could still vote for a Biden-Warren ticket).

        It pains me to say it, but I’m with Trump on this one: some people who sneak into the country are criminals and some are good people, but whatever they are, if they enter the country illegally they should be sent back, not rewarded with driver’s licenses, etc. As much as I detest the man, that position is, IMO, the most reasonable one out there at the moment. I suspect most Americans (though perhaps few on this site) would agree.

        • Posted September 24, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

          Ok but we must not forget the parts of our economy that depend on cheap labor. There have been experiments to see if Americans want to work the farms for low wages and they most definitely do not. Some will suggest the wages need to be higher but then our crops will cost a lot more and we can forget selling soybeans to China.

          While I don’t like the situation where people can come over the border illegally, I don’t view it as a serious problem. It is now baked into our infrastructure in so many ways so closing the border alone, or even first, ignores the totality of the issue.

          • Posted September 24, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

            “. . .so closing the border alone, or even first, ignores the totality of the issue.”

            Not denying that the issue is hugely complicated. But while closing the border is not a total solution, it seems to me a sine qua non of a solution. As Thoreau said in Civil Disobedience, “We have not everything to do, but something; and because we cannot do everything, it is not necessary that we should do something wrong.” (Or words to that effect; I’m quoting from memory.)

            • Posted September 24, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

              I have no problem with unauthorized border crossing being illegal (it is already) but enforcing it more heavily and victimizing those that are here already illegally must not the primary objective. Increasing enforcement must be part of an overall plan.

        • rickflick
          Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          I think the most urgent problem right now is distinguishing who is legal and who is illegal. If we are talking about refugees from a broken state, then the processing of those victims is a requirement of law. Denying them entry would be unethical. As for some dude just trying to make a living by working here illegally, yes, then we must control that and find a way to employ the labor legally. In the 1950 the bracero program attempted to deal with the issue. Maybe we need an update version of that?

          • Posted September 24, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

            Yes, something like that. Perhaps someone can fill us in on what happened to that program.

  28. Posted September 23, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    A slightly modified version of Bill Maher’s 5 states of a Trump scandal:

    1. He didn’t do it
    2. Ok he did it but wasn’t bad
    3. Ok it was bad but it wasn’t illegal
    4. Ok it was illegal but f**k your subpoena
    5. Dems: Oh well at least we tried

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 23, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      That’s a good one.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 23, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Or the 5 stages of Trump scandal, the Giuliani version

      1. He did it, yup, you got me, and yes it was real bad, and you’re not recording this are you, what are those cameras for

      2. I changed my mind, he couldn’t have done it, he was busy with that hooker’s corpse, the fat one, with getting it disposed of, and why are you looking at me like that

      3. Ask THE CLINTONS about dead hookers that’s what I say, I was talking to the president about this as we were laundering money from a children’s hospital wait I thought this was off the record

      4. You people live in a bubble, the American public doesn’t care about Trump buying Russian polonium, they care about the jobs he’s bringing to shit can we start over

      5. Rudy Giuliani can’t come to the phone right now, he is on a long vacation and will not be talking to the media

  29. Michael Watts
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I voted yes. But I have reservations. Firstly there’s no chance with the current Senate makeup that impeachment will have the effect of removing Trump before the November 2020 election. It does grate with me that Trump gets away with this stuff, but impeachment is political not criminal.

    But there is very probably a good reason to start the ball rolling now so that all the evidence can go on the record.

    Ono the other side I’m also sure that the GOP will spin the impeachment as the Democrats trying to subvert the ‘Will of the People’ or some such.

  30. rickflick
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    The Onion:

    “House Democrats Issue Condemnation Of Ukraine For Making It Harder To Avoid Impeaching Trump”.

  31. Mark R.
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    They way I see it, the 2018 Blue Wave was a mandate to the Democrats that voters want to impeach. And if it weren’t for Republican shenanigans, the Senate would probably also be majority Democrat. 2020 will be all about turn-out. We already know that every person in Cult 45 will vote, we just need to make sure that the majority of democrats and independents show up as well. Starting the impeachment process will keep our base fired up. I feel that Pelosi is pouring water on the fire.

    • KD
      Posted September 23, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      To the contrary, perhaps the Democrats need to make a positive case for why they should be in power, rather than the fact that they aren’t Trump.

      If I remember properly, not-Trump also ran in 2016, followed by a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth. Moreover, that was when Trump was still “literally Hitler” instead of the almost-Hitler (subject to Constitutional checks and balances) he has become.

      • Posted September 23, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        I suspect most voters didn’t really know Trump back in 2016. I disliked the man intensely and would never have voted for him, but, at the same time, I wondered if he really had business smarts, as well as the ability to become presidential and grow into the job. Turns out I was right all along. 😉

  32. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    I’ll just note that the author of the article at the top of the page is called Perry Bacon Jr. There’s always some joy to be gleaned from even the gloomiest of subjects.

  33. Jon Gallant
    Posted September 23, 2019 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Has nobody thought of possible unintended consequences of a Trump impeachment? If he were actually convicted in the Senate, or if fearing this possibility he chose to resign, the Democratic candidate in 2020 would be running against a different GOP nominee. Who would it be? Most likely VP Pence, even more reactionary than Trump (if possible), a real fundamentalist, and a smooth talker. But an even more horrible scenario can be imagined. Suppose that Mitch McConnell decides to jump ship, casts himself as a knight-errant of GOP integrity, and secures the Republican presidential nomination. !!!

    • tomh
      Posted September 23, 2019 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      One can only hope. It would be a dream come true.

    • Posted September 23, 2019 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      No way Pence or McConnell would win in 2020. They are smooth talkers but not at all personable.

  34. GregZ
    Posted September 24, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    The Dems should have started the impeachment process long ago for a variety of reasons. Their excuse that the Senate would not convict is hollow, but then, Dems always bring a spork to a gun fight.

    Warren has a nice, logical mind and would make a good president. I don’t think Biden is viable because he’s convinced he can engage the GOP in a dialogue and negotiate with them. Ask Obama and Merrick Garland how that strategy worked out.

  35. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted September 24, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    The obvious counterargument against impeachment is of course that Trump, himself as corrupt as any can be, may be ironically correct on Biden’s son. That would pull the carpet from under the process. But I know nothing about the case.

    To add to Leonhardt’s points, Trump has now answered Greta Thunberg’s anger in UN and against Trump especially in the expected patronizing way in order to put himself back in the news cycle. Against a very capable yet still only 16 year old! Consequently I have upgraded my opinion on Trump from “trained by his father from early years to be a humbug” to “scum”.

    • tomh
      Posted September 24, 2019 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      The obvious counterargument to that is that impeachment shouldn’t depend on one stupid phone call by Trump, or one whistleblower. There is more than enough corruption to proceed without that, indeed there has been for months. The other part is that there has never been any evidence to suggest that there is any merit to the slurs on Biden or his son being spread by Trump and his cronies.

    • Posted September 24, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      There’s no evidence of wrongdoing by either of the Bidens based on what I hear on the news. You can also bet that if you hear about a “crime” first from Trump, rather than some law enforcement organization, it is a trumped up charge.

      • Posted September 25, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        I dare say that that’s also irrelevant – the President pressuring another country (directly) to prosecute a US citizen or else an unrelated agreement is broken seems itself to be a bit odd – isn’t that what diplomats are for?

        • Posted September 25, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

          Nothing is irrelevant really, at least not based on legal arguments, as impeachment is a political process. High crimes and misdemeanors are whatever Congress says they are. This is why some legal pundits warn against using terms like “extortion” and “bribery” with respect to Trump’s behavior as they carry legal definitions. Use of these terms allows Trump and his followers to claim that his behavior doesn’t fit their definition.

  36. Posted September 24, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    There is a meme making the rounds on Facebook that states “We The People” will rise up by the millions of the Dems try to impeach the Orange Draft Dodger.

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