Once again: Is impeaching Trump a bad tactic?

Amidst the many New York Times editorials calling for impeaching or investigating the “President”, including an editorial-board opinion favoring an impeachment inquiry, we have an outlier: the following article by Christopher Buskirk, a contributing opinion writer identified as “editor and publisher of the journal American Greatness, [and] a co-author of “American Greatness: How Conservatism, Inc. Missed the 2016 Election and What the D.C. Establishment Needs to Learn.”

The thrust of the article is what we hear coming from many centrists and conservatives (including “never-Trump” Republicans), and even a few Leftists. Even those who want Trump gone say that impeachment proceedings by the House of Representatives—proceedings likely to result in a successful impeachment given that only a simple majority is needed—won’t succeed at the next step, a trial in the Senate. For conviction in a Senate trial requires a 2/3 majority of Senators before the President is convicted, and that seems unlikely to occur. (Conviction would result in removal of the Trump from office, making Pence the interim President.) The argument for impeachment is powerful: there is ample evidence that the President has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors”, and beyond that he appears deranged and incompetent, unable to lead the country. Surely at least an investigation is warranted, one that could subpoena documents now off limits.

But if you want Trump gone, the arguments against impeachment proceedings are threefold, all of them tactical:

1.) Impeachment is very unlikely to succeed in the Senate trial, no matter what evidence is brought out in the House investigation and questioning.

2.) Impeachment will arouse sympathy for Trump, turning him into a Republican martyr and making him more likely to be elected next year.

3.) Impeachment will tie up the Democrats in endless and fractious anti-Trump activity when we should be developing a solid platform with which to defeat Trump. This, too, could help Trump’s chances of re-election in 2020, especially if the Democrats come off as angry and hysterical rather than judicious during the impeachment proceedings.

Buskirk raises all three of these arguments in his piece (click on screenshot):

This excerpt gives the gist of Buskirk’s argument, drawing on two other impeachment efforts in my lifetime:

The vote in the House to open impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon was 410-4; against Bill Clinton it was 258-176. The actual impeachment votes against Mr. Clinton in 1998 were 228 to 206 on perjury and 221 to 212 on obstruction of justice. He was not convicted of either charge in the Senate trial.

Now, compare the political outcomes. The broad, bipartisan vote against Nixon led over time to a series of events in which conservatives, including the Republican candidate who preceded Nixon, Senator Barry Goldwater, abandoned the president, who ultimately resigned. The narrow, partisan votes against Mr. Clinton led to his acquittal. Al Gore narrowly lost the next presidential election while Democrats picked up a seat in the House. Hillary Clinton went on to become a senator, secretary of State and presidential nominee. In other words, when Republicans allowed their animus against Mr. Clinton to override their political instincts, they were hurt, but the Clintons were not.

Surely Ms. Pelosi must know that there are not 67 votes in the Senate to convict President Trump of anything relating to his phone call with President Zelensky. So it’s just political theater. The problem is that as it plays out over the next year, everyone will get the joke: The House is just going through the motions to stoke its own base before the election, just as Newt Gingrich’s majority did in 1998. That, in turn, will energize Republicans to support the president. But there is another danger for Democrats lurking here: that they will ultimately demoralize their most loyal voters when they realize the joke’s on them. There will be no resignation, there will be no conviction in the Senate.

But there will be an election. And by focusing on their obsession with the person of Donald Trump, Democrats are giving up the opportunity to talk about wages, employment, the shrinking middle class or any of the other things that motivate normal voters. After two and a half years of hearing about Russia, Russia, Russia, there are vanishingly few swing voters who want to spend the next 14 months hearing about Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine.

For the Democrats, the political problem is that this is just more Washington psychodrama. And as engaging as that it is for people in politics, for the journalists who cover it and for people who are deeply ideological, it is uncharismatic and irrelevant to many voters who, rightly, just want to know what Washington is going to do for them.

In reality, everyone knows that Ms. Pelosi’s pursuit of impeachment will not result in a conviction in the Senate and the removal of Mr. Trump from office. So it’s hard to see this as anything other than desperation — an acknowledgment that there is no Democratic candidate likely to beat Mr. Trump head-to-head on issues like China’s mercantilist trade policy, stagnating wages, the shrinking middle class and immigration. By choosing impeachment, Democrats are choosing the ground on which they want to fight the election. But the ground they have chosen is shaky. It imperils their current front-runner, and it avoids the very issues that motivate voters in must-win states.

That doesn’t sound like winning to me.

Such an argument puts us in a conundrum: if we do what we think is right, and try to get rid of Trump via impeachment—a tactic that will almost surely fail—then we may actually help him gain another term, which would prove a disaster for America. Not only would we have a deranged and dangerous President, but he would be even more vindictive and angry at the Democrats having tried to depose him. The only “out” here is that the evidence against Trump might be so strong that it would change the minds of many Republicans, so that a 2/3 vote to convict would be likely. But that seems nearly impossible: 20 of the 53 Republican senators would have to change their minds, and all of the 45 Democrats and 2 Independents would have to vote to convict.

Now I’m not as convinced as is Buskirk that House impeachment proceedings would help Trump by turning him into a martyr. Nor do I think that, given Trump’s behavior, he stands a big chance of re-election even now. And I’m also a fan of doing what is right, which, in this case, is to at least try to remove a dangerous and incompetent leader. The only thing that worries me is that impeachment will distract the country and the Democrats, hurting a solid drive to get a Democratic President elected next year.

Reading Buskirk’s argument, although I don’t agree with him, did make me nervous. The way ahead, if we try to impeach, is not as clear as I’d like it to be. The evidence against Trump is nowhere near as strong as what they had on Nixon, and the Mueller report and even the phone call to the Ukraine have been sloughed off by Republicans. There is no way the Senate will vote to convict unless there are documents with even more damning evidence. Should we then hold off doing the right thing for a greater good: the removal of Trump via a vigorous Democratic campaign?

I still feel that impeachment is the right thing to do, but my feeling about this is not strong because of the possible backlash.

What say you? I won’t run a poll this time (the question would have been “Should we impeach Trump taking these counterarguments into consideration?”), but will ask for your opinion rather than a simple “yes” or “no”.

__________

Update: Reader Pliny the in Between gives his vote on the site The Far Corner Cafe:

236 Comments

  1. Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    I agree with him. While it feels good to finally have a ‘gotcha’ opportunity, I think it will backfire. I will be furious is we have to endure another term because no one had the sense to let the man doom himself and get voted out. Democrats need to focus on finding a viable candidate to challenge him. So far not one, including Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, is a serious contender in my opinion. The right person is out there.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      The president is accused of trying to get a foreign country to take down his political opponent in the 2020 election.

      How can anyone justify letting that slide? How can the Democrats continue with the campaign for the 2020 election knowing that Trump is going after their most popular candidate?
      And what signal does that send to Trump?

      …But mainly I’d like to ask those who oppose impeachment whether there is ANY circumstance under which Trump would warrant impeachment?

      Because from their arguments it sounds like the delicate sentiments of Trump’s supporters take precedence over everything else, and there simply is nothing that the man could do that would warrant impeachment in their eyes.

      • Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        Win the battle, lose the war. He won’t be removed from office, so he’ll be smug and triumphant. Also, we can’t assume that just because the Bidens are Democrats they didn’t engage in unethical activities. So Trump will be a shoo-in and that to me is far more dangerous. Of course impeachment seems like the only moral option. Few are blind to this. But at what cost. This is why Pelosi has been so hesitant to pursue it. She knows the election is likely lost if they impeach. Geraldo Rivera just this week cried that Trump has been surrounded by “snitches, rats and backstabbers” throughout his presidency. Just wait until they start to question Hunter Biden’s compensation and his father’s influence. We’re screwed.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

          Again, what would Trump have to do for impeachment to be justified?

          Because what you’re effectively saying is ‘don’t impeach Trump, ever’.

          • Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

            I don’t know. This is uncharted territory. All I know is that Trump has to go. His second term will be worse. If these actions guarantee his reelection, everyone will regret it.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:32 am | Permalink

              So…nothing then. He can do whatever he wants. Shoots someone in the street…’don’t impeach him, his base will get cross’.

              That just doesn’t seem like the way an opposition party should behave. That’s the way a rabbit, or a tortoise, or a little mouse, would behave. Don’t make too much noise or the bigger animals will be mean to us.

              Why would anyone vote for a party that spineless and terrified of its own shadow? In that sense impeachment is an electorally necessary move, just to demonstrate that the Dems actually have some fight in them.

              • Filippo
                Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

                How high is your confidence, and on what basis, that the Senate would convict Trump?

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

                Not high at this point. Once it goes on and if evidence comes to light, who knows?

                Either way, let’s say that Trump, after demonstrable evidence of his criminality and corruption, is let off by a bunch of unpopular and partisan Republicans who are famously terrified of him – they refuse to convict as you say.

                …I don’t see how that would be some kind of election-winning, checkmate vindication for him.

                Of course he’ll spin it that way, like he did with the Mueller report. But the Mueller report was carried out by as politically neutral a group as it’s possible to find, all of whom were respected by both conservatives and liberals(at least at the outset). His claims of vindication in that instance carried some weight.

                However, I doubt it will smell quite as good if it’s his own, famously acquiescent and dishonest party who are claiming he’s cleared of charges.

            • Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

              I’m with you, Watsonburch. Focus on winning the war, not the battle. Formally censure the president, make your moral case to the public, vote the bastard out next year.

        • Mike Anderson
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

          This is why Pelosi has been so hesitant to pursue it. She knows the election is likely lost if they impeach.

          Pelosi was reluctant to pursue impeachment (before UkraineGate) on advice from of vulnerable Dem congresspersons in purple districts. One of Pelosi’s main objectives is to maintain Dem majority in the House. But those vulnerable Dems in purple districts coming out in favor of impeachment early last week served as the green light Pelosi needed to go forward.

          https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-the-democratic-groundswell-for-impeachment-happened/

  2. Stephen Barnard
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    The magnitude of the blatant crime revealed by the memo (not a “transcript”)and the whistle-blower complaint gives the House no choice but to impeach, regardless of political considerations. That the Trump administration would release such damning information makes one wonder how much worse stuff is being hidden. I agree that conviction in the Senate is very unlikely unless even more damaging information is uncovered, and unless people who know what’s going on speak up, which is possible.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      And how incompetent they are if they thought that wasn’t bad.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        Some people on Trump’s team knew it was bad – that’s why they tried to hide it away on a very restricted server.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

          Yes, there are still some people who know what’s bad there but there are also those that seemed to think that what was released was okay – unless Trump forced them too do so and they were sychophantically complying, which is also bad.

    • Blue
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      We USA citizens m u s t, as Mr Barnard
      indicates, do as Ms MacPherson also explains
      below … … in re justice.

      OR, if there comes, instead, from impeachment
      proceedings’ end, … … NO justice.

      We must:
      i) Do the Right Thing and
      ii) Find Ourselves Upon
      the Righteous Side of History.

      We have to do this. We are, fortunately,
      inside a country with a Constitution and
      the Rule of Law.

      I for One Wee Citizen – Litigant ‘ld
      WELL know of … … this stance.

      Blue

      • Blue
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        TO Ms Margaret Brennan, Mr Giuliani just pulled
        a Kavanaugh. He Kavanaughed her:

        ” You’re not doing your job. You’re not talking
        to the correct prosecutor. You’re not doing
        your job. ”

        I have other words for this.
        For this hatefulness.

        I shall not use them.

        Blue

    • rickflick
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      I believe tRump was the one who insisted on releasing the memo, against the advice of his lawyers. If so, the only reason he’d do it is simply to enjoy to show. He’s a reality TV star and wants to be on everyone’s mind every day. Releasing the memo guarantees that.

      • Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        I suspect Trump also actually thought his actions were reasonable in this case. I get the feeling that the cover-up was something his minions did as they knew what he was doing was not reasonable.

        • Mike Anderson
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

          I suspect Trump also actually thought his actions were reasonable in this case.

          The inevitable Seinfeld reference:

          Mr. Lippman: It’s come to my attention that you and the cleaning woman have engaged in sexual intercourse on the desk in your office.

          George: Was that wrong?

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

            Ha ha I too made a Costanza reference in this thread. Good ol’ George.

          • Posted September 30, 2019 at 1:01 am | Permalink

            Yes. Good one.

    • max blancke
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Did you know that Treaty Doc 106-16 of 1999 specifically allows authorities from the US to request assistance on criminal matters which relate to Ukraine?
      https://www.congress.gov/106/cdoc/tdoc16/CDOC-106tdoc16.pdf

      In fact, if I read the treaty correctly, any joint investigation should start with a request from the “central authority” of one country to the other.

      It does not say anything about such requests being invalid if the person under investigation is related to a member of the democratic elite. Hunter Biden should not be untouchable, if it can be proven that he broke the law again.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        I bet the Treaty Doc doesn’t say you can reopen a closed case for no other reason than to embarrass your chief political rival.

        • max blancke
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

          Well, Senators Leahy, Menendez and Durbin sent an official letter to the Ukrainian Inspector General on 4/5/18, complaining that the Ukrainians had closed their investigations relating to the Mueller probe, and wanted answers lest the Ukrainians send “a worrying signal to… the international community about your country’s commitment more broadly to justice and the rule of law”.

          Also- Schiff is compromised:

          https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5355713/Adam-Schiff-spoofed-Russian-claim-nude-Trump-pic.html

          • rickflick
            Posted September 29, 2019 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

            An official letter sounds pretty transparent. Nothing worrisome about that that I can see. I’ll wait for the NYT or WSJ to pick up the story on Adam Schiff before spending time with a bit of yellow journalism.

          • Mike Anderson
            Posted September 29, 2019 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

            Also- Schiff is compromised:

            https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5355713/Adam-Schiff-spoofed-Russian-claim-nude-Trump-pic.html

            How do you come up with such nonsense? Getting pranked doesn’t make one compromised.

            • GBJames
              Posted September 29, 2019 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

              That’s easy. Just use The Daily Mail as your authoritative source!

              • max blancke
                Posted September 29, 2019 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

                A recording of the prank call.

                Of course, being a victim of a prank is not in itself a problem. The problem arises with the pranked person’s reaction to what they perceive is a genuine offer of foreign intelligence, including nude photos of the opponent.

                Especially as Schiff himself has said that the Trump campaign was potentially breaking the law by allegedly being willing to accept compromising documents on Clinton.

              • Mike Anderson
                Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

                The problem arises with the pranked person’s reaction to what they perceive is a genuine offer of foreign intelligence, including nude photos of the opponent.

                Schiff is explicit in stating the FBI will be involved in processing the offered “kompromat”. Your claim that this hoax compromises Schiff is, again, utter nonsense.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

                Schiff expressly says the materials are to be “provided to the FBI.”

                What he doesn’t say is “if it’s what you say, I love it,” like a common Donald J. Trump, Jr. And he hasn’t concocted a lie, as did the father, our United States president, by claiming the prank call was merely about adopting bouncy Russian babies.

                This is naught but crap, unadulterated.

            • rickflick
              Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

              This is naught but crap!

              Succinctly put.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, well, the law gives every citizen the right to travel between states, too, but that’s no impediment to a federal Travel Act prosecution.

        The law similarly gives every citizen the right to use the US Postal Service, but that’s no bar to a prosecution for mail fraud, either.

        As with Trump’s multifarious obstructions of justice detailed in Section II of the special counsel’s report, it’s Trump’s “corrupt intent” that counts.

  3. Roo
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    At this point I doubt it matters much in terms of public sentiment. I think the vast majority of people see headlines in passing and don’t follow stories all the way through (you always see staggering polls about even the most basic of stories, like how many Americans thought we went to war in Iraq because they were responsible for 911, for example). The news has been saturated with stories regarding Russia and then impeachment for literally years now, I actually don’t think most people would notice if there was an actual impeachment vote vs. simply hearing the term in the news all the time. At this point people have made up their minds about where they stand on the issue.

  4. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Yes because the goal shouldn’t be to remove Trump but to uphold the law and to hold him accountable. Weighing likelihood’s if conviction is distracting. Do what’s right because if you don’t your tacitly accepting it as ok.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Oops. Galore typos and homophone errors. I blame my distraction of having to log in to WordPress on my iPhone.

      • Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        Very courageous to even attempt typing an admission to “homophone errors” when you’re feeling prone to typos!

        • EdwardM
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

          Ha! I lol’d

          Diana is spot on, precarious typos and all.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

          Yes I did feel brave when I typed that. I think it’s more laissez-faire than brave which is probably why I make typos in the first place.

    • Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      There is another option, which is to vote to censure the president. The House can do this on their own, and I think Trump would be only the 2nd president to be censured. It would take less time, and get it behind us for the main election show-down.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        Good idea.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        Censure is appropriate for more minor transgressions, I think. It would’ve provided a condign punishment for Bill Clinton’s having lied about a blow job.

        Plus, even more crucially, censure only works if the person being censured gives a shit. (Censure by the senate would’ve been devastating to either of the Bushes or to Obama.) It would mean nothing to Donald Trump, who has lived his entire life steeped in the disapprobation of other people.

        • Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

          Yes, after all the talk of impeachment, censure would be accepted as failure.

          • Posted September 29, 2019 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

            Though it could be effective with Republican buy-in.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted September 29, 2019 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

              Certainly, without Republican buy-in (and perhaps even with it), Trump would wear mere censure as a badge of (dis)honor.

              • Posted September 29, 2019 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

                I agree. Without Republicans, fuhgeddaboudit.

                But if it could get Republicans to stand up and finally say “Enough!” it would be worth it. Not likely though, they see their existence depending on following Trump over the cliff, like lemmings.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        The Rubicon has been crossed; impeachment inevitable.

  5. mikeb
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Politics is a disease.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      It’s no use saying that, because politics is the name for civil co-operation. Even dictatorships have politics, even if restricted to a few.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      You can ignore a disease; doesn’t mean the disease is gonna ignore you.

      • Filippo
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        Another chiasm, by Ralph Nader (IIRC): “If you don’t turn on to politics, politics will turn on you.”

  6. Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I think it’s very important to demonstrate that there are still rules of conduct in governance, and that nobody is above the law. If the Republicans ignore solid evidence of criminal behavior by Trump, I think that will work to their own destruction; Americans are tribal, yes, but there is surely a limit, and cracks are already showing. It’s also important to note that the Republican Party stood by Nixon for a very long time – but in the end, they were forced to recognize the weight of the evidence. There have already been some very visible rifts within Fox News, with some of their core personalities saying “No, actually, there is a real story here, and this is important; it is not just Democrats making up lies about nothing” (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/27/business/media/fox-news-sean-hannity.html). I think those rifts will grow over time and will become impossible for the Republicans to ignore – unless, of course, something about the Ukraine imbroglio turns out to be false/fabricated and the whole thing falls apart, which would of course be a huge victory for Trump.

    • Rita Prangle
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      I agree with everything you said.

    • clarkia
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Of course even if there is something to the imbroglio it does not affect the lawlessness of his actions in pursuing it. Whether or not one of the Bidens did something wrong is a separate matter.

  7. Peter Nonacs
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I am of two minds. If there is no Congressional response to what Trump has done, then impeachment becomes an imaginary concept. There will be no constraints on any future president’s actions because it is hard to imagine they will be worse than this one’s. However, if the likely happens – impeachment but no conviction in the Senate – Trump will of course claim he was innocent and a victim of another witch hunt. If he does somehow also win reelection, then he will obviously think (correctly!) that there are no bounds or limits to what he can do or get away with. A truly terrifying scenario! The only winning Democratic scenario is that what comes out in the trial is so obvious and bad that when the Republicans fail to convict, both they and Trump will go down to catastrophic defeat in the elections. It’s a role of the dice and a truly scary one. But we are at the point where I think it is the risk we need to take.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Yes and if no action is taken at all Trump still could win the election and still feel emboldened so it’s better to send a message that this is not ok and people don’t accept it. At least then perhaps some people are persuaded.

  8. Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Any moral obligation to impeach Trump is outweighed by a moral obligation to defeat him in 2020. Though hard to predict, it’s better than 50/50 impeachment will help Trump get re-elected. Odds of getting 20 Repub senators to cross over and vote him out are somewhere below 1%. Besides mobilizing his base, this means he goes into the election able to say that Dems have wasted the past few years ignoring issues that impact average Americans to attack him personally and the Senate has once again proven him not guilty of anything. The witch hunt is finally exposed as such. Meanwhile, he gets to keep the focus where he likes it — on personal fights rather than policy. And if the economy/stock market tanks, he now has an ace in the hole — those numbers were great until Dems threw in the impeachment monkey wrench. Impeachment is the golden goose narrative Trump needs for 2020. Sure, there’s a chance something unforeseen could get those 20 Repub Senators (which is the only way impeachment helps the Dems electorally), but I think no serious gambler would take those odds. Impeachment is feel-good red meat for the progressive base that reneges on the moral obligation to get Trump out in 2020.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      “Impeachment is feel-good red meat for the progressive base that reneges on the moral obligation to get Trump out in 2020.”

      It’s odd to talk about reneging on a ‘moral obligation’ when you’re suggesting that Democrats simply ignore Trump’s criminality altogether.
      Is there no moral obligation to step in when a president is accused of suborning a foreign government in the service of taking down his biggest rival?

      And since when was it impossible to walk and chew gum? Can’t they impeach him and also run an election campaign? How does the former automatically make them incapable of the latter?

      • Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        Agreed – impeachment is both the right thing to do as well as possibly being a bad campaign tactic.

  9. Historian
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    To put it bluntly, Buskirk is full of crap and nothing more than a ploy that he and his fellow conservatives (such as David Brooks at the NYT) are undertaking to prevent the extent of Trump’s crimes to becoming more widely known among the American public. Let’s consider the three reasons presented against impeachment.

    First, it is true that conviction in the Senate is impossible. Trump will not be removed from office. But, failure to convict may not help Trump or the Republican Party in general. If the American public is educated as to the extent of Trump’s many perfidies and yet the Senate did not act, then the Republican Party could be blamed for allowing a criminal to remain in office. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s goal is, I believe, to keep any Senate trial as low key and as short as possible so that the House managers (those from the House of Representatives who will present the argument for the articles of impeachment to the Senate) will have as little time as possible to present the case.

    Second, I think that impeachment will not create more sympathy for Trump, not less. At this point we cannot tell, but for the moment, at least, the right wing claim is based on nothing.

    Third, the evidence is that Pelosi wants to wrap up the impeachment inquiry in the House in a few months, not drag it on indefinitely. Moreover, it is another scare tactic to suggest that Democrats cannot wrap up impeachment and have plenty of time to develop a platform for the general election.

    Most importantly, and regardless of the politics, impeachment is the right thing to do constitutionally by the House to remedy Trump’s crimes. If the Senate doesn’t act, the onus will be on the Republicans. Without impeachment a very dangerous precedent will be established – that a president can do whatever he/she wants until the next election. Moreover, if the president performs impeachable acts in a second term, there would be no fear a pending election to deter high crimes and misdemeanors.

    Of course, Buskirk’s statement that the Democrats have no candidate that could defeat Trump because of certain stands he has taken reveals that he is not serious or just a right-wing flack. Assuming Trump is the Republican candidate in 2020, there are many candidates that can beat Trump as current polls indicate. This doesn’t mean that Trump will be defeated, but it does mean that Buskirk’s statement is absurd. Impeachment as desperation? Ridiculous.

    Impeachment by the House, regardless of what the Senate does, is correct – constitutionally, morally, and probably politically. In contrast to Nixon and Clinton, the fate of democracy could hang in the balance.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      I just don’t think never-Trumpers care about Trump’s crimes as much. I admire their principles, and it takes real guts to come out against him considering how totally their side of the aisle has been infested by Trumpism…but four more years of this president is not going to impact them that much.
      And their stance is more about principles than actual politics: Trump’s political accomplishments in office, in terms of pushing the conservative agenda, are probably rather pleasing to many never-Trumpers.

      So of course they don’t see this in as existential a light as liberals like myself do.

      My question is what _would_ warrant impeachment?

      If trying to get a foreign government to take down your direct political opponent in the run up to an election isn’t serious enough then what is?

    • EdwardM
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Another thing I think Buskirk gets wrong is the effect of impeachment on the voting public. Nothing will keep Trump’s cult from voting for him anyway. But will the rest of the public find sympathy for Trump as they did for Clinton?

      I don’t believe so. If you ask the average America why Clinton was impeached almost all will say because he got a blow job. He was impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction but most people think he was impeached because he fooled around with an intern and many people thought though it was salacious and a moral failing Clinton was just a run-of-the-mill stupid middle age man who couldn’t keep it in his pants. A banal and common failure of men.

      That is very different than the case against Trump – although most people likely won’t understand the entirety of the charges against him, they’ll get it that it’s much more serious than an extra-marital affair.

      So I agree with you that Buskirk is wrong on most points. His warning about the Democrat’s political abilities is my chief concern. I have zero confidence that they will do this right. They will come off as “angry and hysterical” but I am not convinced it will matter so much.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        I also think the target of Trump’s attempted hatchet job is important. People LIKE Biden.

        This isn’t like Trump going after some gay black guy, or four minority Dem women who are already unpopular: this is Trump going after an old white guy who’s got a history of putting his foot in it. That’s basically Trump’s demographic.

        Let’s see how easy he finds it when it’s not some black or brown person who he’s siccing his supporters on, but instead someone who looks and talks much like them, and who a lot of them probably rather like.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

          I think it’s true that”people like Biden.” But I say there’s more to it. So far, Biden is the Democratic front-runner, though he’s slipping and Warren is rising, and because of Biden’s political problems and the increasing evidence that he’s in cognitive decline, I think he’s on his way down and out, and that would happen with or without Trump’s latest dirty trick.

          Trump has to destroy the front-runner first, then go after the others.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted September 29, 2019 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

            “he’s slipping and Warren is rising, and because of Biden’s political problems and the increasing evidence that he’s in cognitive decline, I think he’s on his way down and out”

            Agreed, but seems to me that all of that makes Biden even more sympathetic.

            People don’t like it when a decent, vulnerable old man is picked on – and there’s a risk for Trump that that’s how his smear efforts against Biden will appear, even to(some of) his own supporters.

            • Jenny Haniver
              Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

              One can have sympathy for “a decent, vulnerable old man” but I don’t think that will ultimately translate into votes for Biden because I don’t think Democrats want a “vulnerable old man” as president, and to me he comes across as extremely vulnerable. I also think that his stance on a number of issues won’t stand up to scrutiny. Further, he doesn’t respond well to legitimate criticism. I’ve also heard that his African American base (mostly older voters) is going soft on him and looking to Warren. Personally, I never understood why so many African Americans were sold on Biden. Just because he was Obama’s VP? I hope not. H’e’s not malicious but his record vis-à-vis black Americans and women, among other matters, is pretty squirrelly, and I don’t think he understands what the matter is.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted September 30, 2019 at 4:33 am | Permalink

                No, I’m assuming he WON’T be the Dem’s candidate. I’m not talking about a boost to his campaign because I don’t think he’ll have one since I think Warren will probably get the nomination.

                I’m talking specifically about impeachment proceedings and the public reaction to Trump’s attempts to smear him. I’m saying the public will be less likely to take Trump’s side in this argument when he explicitly tried to hobble Biden, who is popular, and kind of a sympathetic figure.

                If the Ukraine call had been about, say, Hillary, that would play a lot better for Trump, because everybody(for some completely unfathomable reason) seems to despise her. Biden’s different.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      +1

  10. Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Finally be impeached for some/any of his actons and wanton disregard for the rule of law was long overdue.

    Determinism dictates that this should happen, and I’m all for it.

  11. Charles Sawicki
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Not impeaching would be an awful precedent. Trumps own release about his Ukrainian phone call is strong grounds for impeachment, since he admits that he tried to involve a foreign government in the 2020 US election.
    The proper course would be to quickly vote for impeachment and send it to the Senate. Then keep investigating his many other crimes. Don’t unnecessarily drag out the impeachment process! Let Republicans go on the record if they think Trump’s behavior is acceptable for a president. This will be useful when they whine about the “failures” Democratic presidents in the future.

    • Blue
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      +1.
      Stated, Mr Sawicki, as succinctly t r u e.

      Blue

  12. Bruce Cochrane
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    In my opinion, the revelations regarding Ukraine are so serious that the House really has no option but to proceed with an inquiry. The challenge will be to proceed in such a way that makes the case as strong as possible. That means (as was done during the Nixon impeachment)that skilled council lead the public hearings as opposed to having committee members (of both parties) grandstand away. Furthermore, whatever articles that emerge need to be clearly focused on explicit violations that have occurred while Trump is in office (in other words, forget Stormy Daniels). Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic and Ben Wittes wrote an excellent column addressing this on Lawfare (https://www.lawfareblog.com/so-you-want-impeach-president); I recommend it highly.

    • Historian
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the link. The Lawfare post provides excellent guidelines for how the Democrats should proceed. It was written before the Ukraine story fully exploded. Thus, there are even more reasons for impeachment.

  13. A C Harper
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    As a UK citizen I can only look on… there are certainly opposing arguments available to the Trump team on the nature and source of the allegations against him. They don’t even have to be overwhelming, just enough to inject reasonable doubt, so political considerations can engage.

    Plus there is a whiff of desperation in the procedural warfare (or lawfare) use by the Democrats to make the case for impeachment – a win will be so so, but a lose will be catastrophic.

    The Brexit psychodrama appears to be coming to a head in the UK but the personal accusations and resort to lawfare are polarising and poisoning debate, and at the moment the more restrained side (the pro-Leave Conservatives, particularly Boris Johnson) are picking up public support because of it.

    An impeachment attempt seen as ‘tricksy’ could work in favour of Trump.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Trouble is, from the U.K. you are doing more than just looking on. What are these opposing arguments you speak of? Also, where is this whiff of desperation used by the democrats? I think you are confusing this with something going on in the U.K.

      • A C Harper
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        What will the delayed IG Horowitz report reveal? How will the Hunter Biden allegations unfold? The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security has finally finished sifting through millions of emails from Hillary Clinton’s controversial ‘basement server’ – how will this unfold? Is the Ukraine phone call ‘whistleblower’ report just heresay?

        In *political* terms you could spin the Democratic urge to impeach as a diversion from their own dirty deeds. True or not it could be effective.

        • Mike Anderson
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

          In *political* terms you could spin the Democratic urge to impeach as a diversion from their own dirty deeds.

          Only the poorly educated would buy that spin.

          • A C Harper
            Posted September 29, 2019 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

            Poorly educated folk vote too.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

          I did not know the Trump cult made it to the U.K. You must be lonely over there but maybe you pipe in Fox news. The Biden thing is dead and I don’t see how you get Clinton email into this discussion. The server in Ukraine is complete delusion. Have you been talking to Rudy?

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      “at the moment the more restrained side (the pro-Leave Conservatives, particularly Boris Johnson).”

      This is one of the most silly things I’ve ever read at WEIT. You previous arguments re. Brexit were debatable, but this is just flat-out rancid.

      Boris Johnson, who over the last few days has refused to apologise for referencing the murdered Jo Cox, has dismissed death threats against opposition MPs as ‘humbug’, and just this morning said he will not tone down his language, despite pleas from a variety of people, including _in his own party_…is the more ‘restrained’?

      You embarrass yourself with stuff like that. I’d be embarrassed to come out with such shamelessly dishonest drivel.

      • A C Harper
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        I suggest you watch the videos of events for yourself (if they are available where you live), rather than trust partisan reporting. I watched the heated debate in Parliament directly and noted how it was reported later – with some MPs and journalists just making stuff up.

        Boris has made it clear (interview with Andrew Marr this morning) that he was calling humbug on people criticising his word ‘surrender’. Conflating ‘humbug’ with death threats is, I’m afraid, a political and media invention.

        Some people love to jump to conclusions about people or parties they dislike… and look at what they say or do in the worst light possible. And, bluntly, rival parties are using disreputable tactics to try and gain advantage.

        Now you may not like Trump very much but there may be some truth in his calling things ‘fake news’. Even though I expect he also tries to use it to his own advantage. How will any impeachment process proceed if some of documentation is found to be unreliable?

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

          I watched the Marr interview – it was the usual smirking drivel from Johnson. Of course he denied its intent.

          Re. the ‘humbug’ remark:

          A female MP gets up and tells the PM of this country of the death threats she and many of her pro-remain colleagues receive every day, and the fact that the people sending them often use the same extreme language Johnson uses.
          His response is ‘I’ve never heard such humbug in all my life’.

          At no point does he say that he was disputing her point in the way he later claimed. It’s just Trumpian trolling. He’s smirking throughout the Marr interview.

          – Add to that, saying that the best way to honour Jo Cox, killed by a ‘Britain first’ nut who literally said those words as he murdered her, is to get on with Brexit.

          – And add to that members of his own party coming out to beg him to tone things down.

          – And add to that Dominic Cummings saying the only way to stop far-right violence and extremism is to push through Brexit.

          – And add to that Brendan O’Neill literally calling for riots on the streets because the supreme court made a decision he didn’t like.

          Christ, I’d be too embarrassed to try and spin that as the actions of ‘the more restrained side’.

          This is exactly why American politics is so important. I dearly do not want the kind of shameless, careless Trumpian dishonesty you’ve displayed in your comments to become the norm in the UK too.

          • A C Harper
            Posted September 29, 2019 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

            The person who killed Jo Cox was mentally disturbed and didn’t testify in his own trial so we don’t know why he did what he did. He did have far right stuff though.

            People in the Conservative Party criticising Boris Johnson over language are either Remainers who have been expelled from the Parliamentary Party, or chancers (Rudd) who think they might be in with a chance of stepping forward as a Remain Prime Minister if Boris Johnson resigns.

            Resolving Brexit would probably settle things down. Dragging it out further or Revocation would not.

            Brendan O’Neill is actually a Marxist, so not Right Wing.

            Look at the faces, listen to the words of the Remainer MPs in the debate. Read my responses on this web site and in other places. Think of the epithets thrown at people who voted Leave. Look at the videos again, and see what is there without including your preconceptions.

            If you still feel the same way, then I can’t help you.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted September 29, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

              Nor I you. You have simply left planet earth and this latest post confirms it.

    • wetherjeff
      Posted September 30, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      “at the moment the more restrained side (the pro-Leave Conservatives, particularly Boris Johnson) are picking up public support because of it”
      To borrow a quote from Wolfgang Pauli: This isn’t right, it isn’t even wrong.
      I assume you refer to the Boris Johnson that lied to the queen in order to unlawfully suspend Parliament? The guy who the Supreme Court unanimously decided had broken the law. He was found to have prorogued parliament in order to prevent our elected representatives from scrutinizing his government’s reckless behaviour and prevent MPs passing legislation to prevent a catastrophically stupid and damaging no deal Brexit. That guy? The Boris Johnson who has repeatedly refused to promise he will comply with the law to save the country from a no deal? The Boris that keeps insisting we will leave no matter what on the 31st October without explaining how, leaving much of the country frightened for their futures. e.g. rural business owners: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/27/quarter-of-rural-businesses-could-be-bankrupted-by-no-deal-brexit

      The Boris Johnson that has called the withdrawal act ‘The Surrender Bill’? Or Cummings, his chief advisor who, a few days ago said: “We are enjoying this. We are going to leave and we are going to win.” Many people (me included) are terrified that they will lose access to the medication they need – I take anti-epileptic drugs several times a day, these are critical for my health, but are on the at risk list in a no-deal scenario. But, these Brexit-fetishist ideologues don’t give a flying f**k about us – it’s just a game to win for them.
      On the subject of medicines, we have the egregious Jacob Rees-Mogg, accusing a neurologist (who actually wrote the govt plans for mitigation of risk on neurological drugs) on live radio, of spreading fear and misinformation:
      Rees-Mogg: “I think it’s typical of remainer campaigners and you should be quite ashamed, I’m afraid.”
      Nicholl asked Rees-Mogg: “Having been involved in writing the plans for mitigation and having whistleblown because I felt they were unsafe, what level of mortality rate are you willing to accept in the light of a no-deal Brexit?”
      Rees-Mogg told Nicholl: “I don’t think there’s any reason to suppose that a no-deal Brexit should lead to a mortality rate.
      “I think this is the worst excess of ‘project fear’ and I’m surprised that a doctor in your position would be fear-mongering in this way on public radio.”
      Nicholl told the prominent Brexiter: “Can I remind you I wrote the plans of mitigation?”
      Rees-Mogg replied: “Well, you didn’t write very good plans if you hadn’t worked out how to mitigate, had you?
      “It’s fortunate they are being written by other people now who are serious about mitigating, rather than remoaners.”
      This was the same Rees-Mogg who later compared this eminent doctor to the anti-vax quack Andrew Wakefield. In parliament, of course, in order to avoid being sued for libel. The same Rees-Mogg who was later forced to apologise for these outrageous Goebels-esque statements?
      The odious, but restrained, Rees-Mogg who claimed the SC judgement was a ‘Constitutional Coup’, and who had to be put right about his ‘restrained’ language by the attorney general in parliament?
      This is the same AG who said at the dispatch box: “This parliament is dead, it has no legitimacy”, and: “This Parliament should have the courage to face the electorate but it won’t, it won’t, because so many of them are really all about preventing us leaving the European Union. But the time is coming when even these turkeys won’t be able to prevent Christmas.” Restrained?
      And worst of all, the PM that said ‘the best way of honouring the memory of Jo Cox is to get Brexit done’. Tastelessly and shamelessly hijacking a family’s tragedy, causing distress to her young children. Taking them back to the darkest days of their lives, all to make an incredibly offensive and abjectly false claim that would get him in the news. He later refused the family’s request for an apology.
      For those unaware – Jo Cox was the anti-Brexit labour MP who was murdered by a far-right nut case, fuelled by the populist rhetoric of the Brexit fetishists. She was killed 2 weeks before the referendum in her constituency, only about 8 miles from where I am now, at home.
      To claim that this behaviour can be described of as restrained is beyond belief. I hope and I firmly believe, that when this sorry episode is over, many of the characters lying, bluffing and cheating their way round parliament and public life will be locked up as criminals. Misconduct in a public office is only the tip of the iceberg.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 30, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        Thankyou for that. I too thought AC Harper’s post was truly pathetic.

  14. Trumpkin
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Yes impeachment is a blunder. Look at Slick Willy’s numbers during his impeachment. It will also inevitably lead to the left most congressional Democrats getting the biggest headlines.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Wait a minute…you DON’T want your idol impeached? I am shocked, shocked I tell you.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        I’d be equally astonished if he opposed the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

    • Mark R.
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Clinton impeachment vs. Trump impeachment.

      Apples vs. Oranges

  15. GBJames
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Framing this issue in terms of whether or not it is a good tactic is, IMO, entirely the wrong way to look at this issue. If Trump’s behavior isn’t worthy of impeachment, no behavior would be. If the Senate fails to remove him it will not be because impeachment wasn’t appropriate, it will simply demonstrate the level of political corruption that exists in the Republican Party.

    Seeing all of this as simple politics is why we are in this mess in the first place. The “just politics” view is all about power, and power at any cost. Principles are abandoned. It is not a government system I want to live under.

    • Historian
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      You have succinctly and correctly analyzed the situation. I reject the argument that impeachment would help Trump. The anti-impeachers mention frequently the Clinton impeachment in which he was supposedly helped by impeachment. The analogy is flawed because Clinton was impeached on grounds of lying about a sexual encounter. Trump will be impeached because of his attempt to destroy the laws and norms of a democratic society. So, yes, the moral thing to do is impeach. We would then just have to see what is far from obvious now – the political fallout.

      • yazikus
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        Comments like this might just give me hope. Which feels dangerous right now.
        I’m, as ever with this election, reminded of that fateful date in October of 2016. The Malheur Occupation trial was coming to a close. I’d watched, listened or read everything I could as the trial went on. I, along with others sharing my minor obsession, were confident and sure it was a slam dunk case. To start, the criminals had gleefully documented and broadcast their crimes as they committed them. AUSA Knight brought in literal buckets of evidence. It was in the bag! And then they were all acquitted. Jury shenanigans notwithstanding, they got off. And that day I knew that Trump would win.

      • Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        Also the main thesis above against impeachment is pretty weak. Just because it failed against Clinton & wound up helping him does not mean that history would essentially repeat itself here. The situation is different, and a single result in politics hardly predicts that the same result will happen again.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

          Yes, the statistical significance of any patterns you find in…what is it? three previous presidential impeachments? two? …is not exactly going to be high.

          I remember there was some guy who was doing the talk show rounds as a political expert last year; his claim to fame was that he’d predicted _every American election winner THIS CENTURY!_ Except for in 2000.

          People were hanging on this vaguely crankish guy’s every word, as though he was some kind of oracle. All because he got four election results right in a row, three of which went to the favourite.

          People latch onto patterns like they’re lifeboats.

          • Mike Anderson
            Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

            I’ve correctly predicted every presidential election this millenium except for 2.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

              I got them all right, except I got the wrong years. I thought Trump would win in 2004, Dubya in 2016, Obama in 2000 etc. So infuriating because I was spot on otherwise.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

                Reminds me of the contest between Harding and McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to see which one was the mental ward’s “bull-goose loony.”

                Harding offers up that he voted for Eisenhower. McMurphy tops him when he says he voted for Eisenhower twice — and the second time Ike wasn’t even on the ballot. 🙂

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

                You callin’ me a loon Ken? Well? 🤨

                Because if I hear one more person call me a nutter I’m going to lose my mind.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      +1

  16. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I did not read much of Buskirk’s article because he gets it wrong even in the title. Act of Desperation he says? Where does he get this. Who is desperate? Trump put his foot in it for all to see and then called it a beautiful phone call. And Pence had some beautiful phone calls as well. Buskirk is just paying politics without thinking or paying attention to what actually has happened. Ignorance is what I call that. Trump sends his personal lawyer over to talk to Ukraine and find dirt on Biden’s kid?

    The only thing the Democrats must do to finish this thing is hire good prosecutors and do not let the politicians handle the hearings. Think back about Watergate. Bring in all the good witnesses to this even and ask the right questions and watch it grow. To it this way and it makes no difference what the Senate does and no one will care.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      I know the whole article almost seems like it originated in Russia. Stay the course everyone. We’re in the messy middle. Keep your eyes on the goal which is delivering justice.

  17. Charles Sawicki
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    The present gulf between Reps and Dems make comparisons to the Nixon impeachment a joke.
    Stop the cowardly whinging and do what’s right under the constitution. If the American people can’t understand why the idiot needs to be impeached, democracy is already mostly down the tubes, so just do what is right!

  18. DrBrydon
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Yes, bad. I think the Dems have gone off half-cocked. They thought there was more to this Ukraine thing than there is (look at Schiff’s speech, which was clearly written before the transcript was released). I will wait to see what the committee comes out with as Articles of Impeachment. At this point, though, they have to move forward, or lose face. If there is a trial in the house, Trump will make it all about Biden and Cloudstrike, which will fire up his base, and not help Democrats. Unless something new comes up, the Senate will not vote him guilty. Other than the waste of time, I don’t recall Clinton being damaged by the process as much as Republicans were.

    Ultimately, the Impeachment process is political, and you can’t evaluate the merit of an impeachment without considering the political ramifications. To a lot of people this will look like a cheap shot to avoid facing Trump in the general election, and he will tell that story to his benefit.

    • Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      clearly written before the transcript was released

      It’s not a transcript!

      • DrBrydon
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I know, but that’s what everyone is calling it.

    • Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Well said, DrBrydon.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Let’s consider this memorandum of telephone conversation between Trump and the president of the Ukraine in context:

      Trump calls the new, young, pro-Western, pro-US reformist president of the Ukraine (who at that moment has a big Russian bear gnawing on his eastern flank) shortly after the Ukraine parliamentary election.

      Every other American president ever — Republican OR Democrat — immediately after congratulating Zelensky on his parliamentary win, would have said, “We have nearly $400 million in military aid on its way to help you” and “let me know what else you need” and “I look forward to meeting with you someday soon in Crimea, under a Ukrainian flag.”

      What does Donald Trump do? He goes on for a while about how great the US has been to Ukraine. Then, when Zelensky makes his “ask,” for Javelin missiles, Trump immediately pivots to, well, that’s enough about what I can do for you, let’s talk about what you can do for me.

      And what’s the first thing out of the mouth of Donald Trump (who a week earlier put a freeze on the military aid to Ukraine, for no goddamn good reason that’s gonna hold up to scrutiny)? An absolutely insane inquiry about the “Crowdstrike … server.” (This is based on a cockamamie theory, begun by some clowns on 4Chan — maybe as a joke — that got picked up by Russian propaganda outlets, then passed on to the right-wing fever-swamp, and, eventually, to Fox News that the DNC computer wasn’t hacked by the Russians in 2016 at all, that it was an inside job, probably by a young DNC staffer named Seth Rich, who Hillary Clinton had murdered for his betrayal. According to this theory, the company that the DNC called in to examine its hacked server — one “Crowdstrike” — then turned the server over to anti-Russian forces in Ukraine so they could jury-rig the thing to make it look like the Russians had hacked it, so as to frame Vladimir Putin and hurt Trump’s 2016 election prospects.)

      Zelensky, who has a former stand-up comic’s knack for cutting through a heckler’s bullshit, tells Trump he knows what Trump is looking for because his people have heard from Rudy Giuliani.

      The moment Zelensky mentions Giuliani, Trump is on the Bidens, père en fils, like white on rice, telling Selensky he wants to see a “corruption” investigation opened (so as to turn up dirt to help Trump’s 2020 election chances).

      If this isn’t crystal clear already — as it should be to anyone who knows the background — it will be once the impeachment hearings begin adducing testimony from the players with firsthand knowledge of the underlying circumstances.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        Nice summary. I didn’t know the details of that crowdstrike affair. When hearings commence, I’ll trust Adam Schiff to lay this sad tale out as you’ve stated it here. He’s good at summarizing too.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

          One question (and a scary one at that) is whether Trump himself actually believes this febrile “Crowdstrike” conspiracy theory, or whether he’s tossing it out there as some type of camouflage. The answer is probably that he doesn’t know and doesn’t care.

          Trump understands that there are various memes and tropes out and about in the marketplace of public discourse, but he can’t be arsed to learn anything about them beyond that they exist. The only question for him is whether they are good for Trump or bad for his enemies. If the answer to either is “yes,” then they are perforce true, and Trump feels licensed to spread them, spin them, distort them, and make up additional details at will.

          • GBJames
            Posted September 29, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

            Correct. Trump is a classic bullshitter. Bullshitters have little interest in whether something is true or false. What matters is if it is useful in the moment.

            • rickflick
              Posted September 29, 2019 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

              I suppose that could be considered a talent of sorts.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

                That, and the $400 million he inherited from his daddy, are what’ve insulated Donald Trump from the consequences of his unlawful, unethical, and swinish conduct his entire life. He’s always been able to bullshit — or, as a last resort, to buy — his way out of whatever jam he’s gotten himself into.

                But he’s never before had the scrutiny on him that comes with being US president. He’s so ignorant regarding the operation of our federal government, he simply assumed he could continue with the same unseemly behavior.

                Those noises we’re hearing now are Trump’s chickens coming home to roost.

              • rickflick
                Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

                I hear the wing-beats apace with my racing heart.
                😉

  19. tomh
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I’ve never understood the argument that Democrats shouldn’t impeach because the Senate won’t convict. Democrats have passed dozens of bills (gun control, etc) that don’t have a prayer of passing the Senate, or even coming up for a vote. McConnell has even cast himself as the”Grim Reaper” of legislation. Should the House just never pass legislation and just become an “expensive lunch club” like the Senate?

    I’m also not so sure the Democrats should be taking advice from the guy whose “American Greatness” site runs articles (in the last few weeks) like, The American Left Is Racist, Not President Trump and one that begins, “It is now clearer than ever that the whole Trump-Russia collusion argument, as many of us have been loudly proclaiming since it began, is a monstrous hoax, “a conspiracy so immense…” Does anyone really think he’s against impeachment out of concern for the Democratic party’s chances in 2020?

    • Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      This would be different. If Trump is acquitted (which he will be), he will use that to push the message that he was innocent all along and the impeachment was just a Democratic witch hunt.

      The only real question is whether the evidence is damning enough so that Trump’s message actually worked against him, or at least doesn’t for in favour of him.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Of course. Mainly I like never-Trumpers and respect them, particularly the moderate, almost-liberals like Sullivan. b

      But some of them seem to want to have their cake and eat it: they want to be seen as critics of Trump and not part of the deplorable herd…but at the same time they bridle at any criticism of Trump’s voters, applaud his legislative victories, rant about the ‘totalitarian left'(as though political correctness is a bigger threat than the far-right), drag every Dem candidate through the mud and vow they would never vote for a Democrat, no matter how bad Trump gets.

      I’d say their commitment to the anti-Trump cause is questionable.

  20. Mike Anderson
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    64% see Trump’s contact with Ukraine as problematic (43% “very serious”, 21% “somewhat serious”).

    https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463530-over-60-percent-of-americans-say-trumps-interactions-with-ukraine

    And we’re just getting started – more bad stuff about Trump will undoubtedly be revealed.

    The whole “impeachment will help Trump” narrative is crumbling quickly.

    In a sense it’s a chess game between Nancy Pelosi and Trump, and Pelosi is much better at this than Trump.

    Trump will be battling the House, and the Dem presidential candidates are free to choose the level of engagement they desire (except for Biden – he’s roped into this fight).

    • Mike Anderson
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      More polling: 55% approve of impeachment inquiry (35 percent strongly approving, 20 percent somewhat approving).

      https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463553-poll-majority-of-americans-approve-of-trump-impeachment-inquiry

      The public is responding to the revelations.

      A key difference between UkraineGate and the Mueller report is that UkraineGate is much easier to understand: “did or didn’t Trump solicit political help from Ukraine?”

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Yes, definitely. It’s much more clear-cut. The idiocy of releasing the Trump notes(not transcript) on the Ukraine conversation is becoming more and mor clear.

        And I still maintain that one of the invisible factors operating in the background is Biden’s popularity. People might’ve seen the Mueller probe as picking on Trump(incredibly but apparently some did) but I think they see Trump trying to rake up muck on Biden and it just doesn’t look good.

        Trump should’ve stuck with picking on unpopular ethnic minorities. Trying to smear Biden doesn’t play as well.

        • Mike Anderson
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

          One argument the Dems need to make:

          The Biden/Ukraine issue has been known for 5 years and Republicans never considered it scandalous until Biden became a political threat to Trump.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

            Good point. If they do impeach I hope the Democrats start matching the Republicans for clarity of messaging. Or at least improve.

            That might be one of the secondary effects: an improvement in party cohesion and general spirit/fight. It’s an intangible quality but it’s crucial.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

          Yeah and those that tend to answer criticisms of Trump with “what about Biden” aren’t going to be swayed by reason anyway.

  21. mfdempsey1946
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    If the USA must go down once and for all as a result of having done the right thing in impeaching the leader of the Trump crime family…

    …then better for it to go down with honor rather than staggering onward as a zombie parody of itself.

  22. Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    The impeachment inquiry will almost certainly lead to impeachment. That train has left the station. What is needed now is to manage the information on his wrong-doings, that which is there and that which is yet to be revealed, in a way that makes it convincingly clear to the voters that Trump HAD to be impeached, regardless of what the spineless Republican Senate decides. Hopefully, the inquiry will provide an opportunity to reveal the depth of Trump’s political depravity to those voters who are currently not sure that impeachment is wise so that they will go to the polls to oust Trump and the Republicans who have enabled him.

    Of course, it will be difficult because the voters are cynical and inured to Trump’s shenanigans.

  23. Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    The evidence against Trump is nowhere near as strong as what they had on Nixon, and the Mueller report and even the phone call to the Ukraine have been sloughed off by Republicans.

    The evidence that did for Nixon (i.e. the Watergate tapes) did not turn up until after the impeachment enquiry had started. In fact, it is possible they would never have turned up without the impeachment enquiry.

    Whilst Trump has sloughed off the Mueller report, I do not think he has managed to do the same with the Ukraine phone call, especially as there is also a whistleblower report which alleges a cover up and also lots of witnesses who can be called to testify.

    Having said that, FiveThirtyEight has Trump’s approval rating on an upward trend at 42.8%

    • Mike Anderson
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      Having said that, FiveThirtyEight has Trump’s approval rating on an upward trend at 42.8%

      That’s not an upward trend. It was higher earlier this week. 538’s aggregate has been between 41% and 43% for over a year. The variation is just noise.

  24. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Big disparities in the opinions here. A lot of people saying impeachment’s doomed and will inevitably seal his reelection, and a lot of people pointing out that if this isn’t a cause for impeachment…well what the hell is?

    I don’t know. I’m not American. But given the toxic impact the current president is having on UK politics, the extent to which our Prime Minister is aping Trump’s rhetorical approach, aping his lying and threats and dog-whistling towards extremism, his contempt for due process…

    …Well, the sooner this drop of political polonium is gone the better.

    I’d personally rather he was voted out of office, but how exactly is the opposition party in a functioning democracy meant to react when the president is accused of trying to get foreign governments to take down THEIR leading candidate? Send him a strongly-worded letter?

    • EdwardM
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      The risks ARE high, but for the sake of our Republic he MUST be held accountable, even if it is domed to fail because of the situation in the Senate. If we don’t draw a line in the sand here and now, where will we draw it?

      It may result in another term for Trump, which would spell the end of our democracy as we know it. We do have to rely on the Democrats, a group of people manifestly unfit for competence, but they deserve credit for doing what must be done. And who knows, they might find within their ranks some who can do this right. I believe that irrespective of the outcome in the Senate, the American people won’t be fooled at the voting booth. At least that is my hope. It must be done.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Very good point that last paragraph because it gets to the heart of the matter. Until this Ukraine element came in, with a whistleblower report as well, the democrats were stuck in neutral over the whole Mueller report. Trump had everything stuck with refusal to cooperate. Imagine and crook who refuses to cooperate.

      I see on the news today, it looks like the whistleblower will be testifying as soon as his or her lawyers are clearance cleared. This is just one of many who will be testifying and I can only hope the democrats will get solid, professional prosecutors to do the questioning throughout this process. If they do not, and attempt to handle it with congressmen and women, it will be a circus. I think they would be nuts to call Rudy and should just wait for him to explode. If the democrats do this the smart way, the Senate does not matter.

  25. Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Not proceeding with impeachment will only embolden Trump to more boorish and illegal behavior to sway the election in 2020 towards him. We already have reports that in 2017 he openly admitted that he’s okay with more Russia interference. Something must be done and by implementing proceedings, Congress will have much more power to reveal his misdeeds, look at his taxes and muster an impeachment docket that, if not conviction in the Senate, will surely lead to election defeat. I still worry that he will do something rash to deflect attention from the proceedings, like Clinton did in wagging the dog and attacking Iraq in 1998.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, he’ll go full-bore on various tactics of voter suppression and voter fraud but that’s already happening. If he lasts and runs for election, he could win only by gaming the system every way he can.

      Meanwhile, he’ll consider that because he wasn’t impeached, he has free reign to continue his destructive policies across the board. That’s got to be stopped, too, and pronto.

  26. nay
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    YES. I fully agree with the analyses of 9-Historian and 12-Bruce Cochran and others: Do it quickly and professionally, and without the Republicans. Wrangle 100% of the Democrats and Independents to impeach, then let Republicans vote as they will in both the House and Senate with months to answer their constituents before the next election.

  27. Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Looking from Europe it’s an open & shut case — of course he should be impeached, and basically anything the Dems will backfire according to some measure.

    But not impeaching the most crooked and clueless president ever would invite the question, Well if what he’s done is so wrong, why didn’t you impeach him?

  28. Steve Gerrard
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Regardless, we should be doing a full on house inquiry into impeachment, with investigations into all avenues that open up.

    An actual vote on articles of impeachment in the house is a way off yet. First let’s get there, with the full story laid bare.

    Then and only then will it make sense to consider whether or not to go through with the vote in the house. Speculating on it now is just getting ahead of ourselves – typical for the current media, but not beneficial.

    There are lots of benefits of conducting the inquiry, even if the final decision is not to vote on impeachment. It provides a serious check on the actions of the executive branch in the mean time.

  29. Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    There’s a huge risk in having an impeachment trial in the Senate. Although it is supposed to be judged by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, its rules are set by Mitch McConnell. According to this WaPo article, he can even make himself judge. And it gets worse …

    Do Democrats realize McConnell would call the shots in a Senate impeachment trial?
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/09/25/democrats-beware-republicans-would-make-rules-senate-impeachment-trial/

    Assuming this take is accurate, even if the Dems are able to bring a bunch of GOP senators over to their side, they better get McConnell onboard before sending impeachment to the Senate.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Excuse me sir, but do you recall Watergate. What part did the Senate play in that result? If the house does this correctly Moscow Mitch simply is not in play here. And here you are giving up because of something that probably does not exist.

      • Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        So you really think Trump will resign like Nixon did? I don’t think it is in Trump’s character. He and his minions will spin and spin this until his dying day. Even if he loses the election, he won’t go away. He’ll continue to insist it was all stolen from him by his enemies.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

          If the democrats conduct the hearings correctly, with professional prosecutors I think there is a chance that Trump will take the helicopter ride. However, even if he does not the damage will be there for all to see. If the Senate then elects not to impeach I think the political pain will be on them. The republicans are not as smart as you think, otherwise would they have been so easy for this crooked bastard to consume.

          • Steve Gerrard
            Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

            If it came down to revealing his tax returns or resigning, he might well resign. There might even be one or two other things he would really rather not be made public.

            One possibility would be to gin up a medical reason for resigning, with some doctor to verify it.

    • tomh
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      It’s amazing how many of these ultra-conservative columnists are so concerned that the Democrats might harm their chances if they go forward with impeachment. Such concern. Could they possibly have a hidden agenda?

      Re McConnell. Of course the Democrats know he makes the rules, only an idiot would think otherwise. He can simply declare the evidence weak and never even bring it to the floor. Or hold an immediate vote without any trial and dismiss it. So what? The purpose of the exercise is to bring the widespread corruption to light and let the American people see it in its full glory. That will be enough.

      • Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        I think Trump followers just see a President willing to fight dirty to beat his (and their) enemies. It is not hard to imagine them buying into the “Biden is dirty” scenario. As some news talking head said recently, “What is it with politicians’ sons?”

    • Mike Anderson
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      McConnell ignoring a compelling impeachment case carries political risk for him. It will all depend on public perception of the case the House Dems put forward. If they do it right, McConnell won’t be able to summarily dismiss it.

      • tomh
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        McConnell doesn’t care. Holding up a SC appointment for a year carried political risk too, but he didn’t hesitate. And there are many parliamentary tricks he can use to derail the whole thing.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

          I read that former Republican senator Jeff Flake says that 35 Republican senators would vote to impeach — but only if the vote is private. I want to call them craven but time will tell. And two Republican governors support the impeachment inquiry. I also read that there are divisions behind the scenes, and Giuliani seems bent on throwing anybody he can under the bus, while at the same time revealing information that is both self-incriminating and damaging to Trump’s case. I have the feeling that other dirt’s going to be revealed and more Republicans will jump ship, though I could be engaging in wishful thinking.

      • Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        Does anything carry a political risk if the party is willing to fabricate conspiracy theories, Fox News is willing to broadcast them, and many voters are willing to believe them? Once it is cast as a battle between us and them, the truth loses its force.

        I may be exaggerating a little here but it still scares me.

  30. Steve Kern
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Although I have not heard this argument, I believe the most compelling argument in favor of conducting an impeachment investigation is this…
    If Democrats do not conduct an investigation, they set a precedent that it is perfectly OK for a president to request foreign governments to interfere in our elections. Do we really want to go there?

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Absolutely. And this idea that the Democrats should avoid starting impeachment proceedings so that they can get a clean run at winning in 2020…when this impeachment process is _specifically about_ reining in Trump’s attempts to cheat his way to victory in 2020…. Explain the logic of that argument if you can.

      Who knows if there’ll be a credibly legitimate election in 2020 if Trump keeps getting away with more and more outrageously dictatorial actions?
      You don’t get clean, fair elections by letting the president and the government continue rigging the game in their favour.

      I’m not at all confident about impeachment but it should be pointed out that there ARE pragmatic reasons for it. The idea that it’s just political theatre, or ‘red meat for the progressive base’ as another commenter put it, is deeply tendentious.

  31. Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    The Cult of Trump is mind boggling, but .. thorough investigation will save the day. There is so much that is not yet revealed. Trump is a master liar and manipulator, who believes he can outsmart everyone, and as such, might well hang himself. With enough evidence, the cult may dissolve itself. A lot must be done before and actual motion to proceed is voted on. I’m amazed at how Nancy has controlled the situation until now, and will no doubt continue.

  32. Jonathan Gallant
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Surely the key question needing inquiry is: How come the military aid to Ukraine was delayed? Any evidence that the Trump White House intervened to block or delay the transfer of these funds to Ukraine—already authorized by Congress—would reveal a transparent device to extort the “favor” Trump mentions in his telephone call to President Zelensky of Ukraine, and therefore an inarguable abuse of executive power. Trump’s lackeys would be left claiming that the aid’s delay was a mysterious coincidence; and that the phone conversation was OK because the Don did not emphasize the importance he attached to the “favor” by leaving a horse’s head in Zelensky’s bed.

  33. max blancke
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    If Trump has committed serious crimes, which can be proven beyond any reasonable doubt, then go for it.
    But impeachment is an extraordinary step to take, with serious national consequences, so you need extraordinary evidence.

    If all you have is Trump asking an allied leader to continue an investigation that was underway before a previous administration intervened, then you don’t have enough. Especially since many of the elected officials on the democrat side have been openly calling for foreign governments (including Ukraine) to investigate Trump for years. Asking that crimes be investigated is a far cry from asking that evidence of crimes be falsified.

    It is not enough to know that Trump is guilty of something, or even to be able to convince the legislative branch of such. You need to present clear proof that any reasonable person would clearly see as serious criminal behavior. Otherwise, a large proportion of citizens are going to believe that you are attempting to overthrow the legitimate government and subvert the will of the electorate. Peaceful transition of power is one of the things that define us. This is bigger than Trump or any of the parties or individuals involved.

    We discussed civics education in an earlier post. Civics is still taught out here in District 9, so people know what “consent of the governed” means.

    It also presents bad optics that many of the people clamoring for impeachment in the house have been talking about impeachment for years, with claims of crimes the proof of which never seems to appear.

    • Mike Anderson
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      But impeachment is an extraordinary step to take, with serious national consequences, so you need extraordinary evidence.

      We have a confession.

      • max blancke
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        Confessed to what crime, exactly?

        • Mike Anderson
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

          Asking Ukraine for political help.

    • Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Good effort, Max Blancke, to look at things from outside the progressive silo. Things that my progressive friends sometimes find so “obvious” that only an irrational or evil person could disagree — e.g. the damning nature ot the 3-page notes from the Ukraine call — turn out to be not so obvious to those viewing things from outside of the progressive echo chamber. I am on their side, but they could proceed more sure-footedly if they could see things from outside the silo as well as inside. I am all for getting rid of Trump the best way we can (which I believe is via the vote), but I fear we have become a banana republic, where each party focuses less on policy and more on efforts to criminalize the opposition and jail its individual leaders. The Repubs wanted to personally destroy and criminalize Bill Clinton, the Dems wanted to do it to Bush and Cheney for war crimes, Repubs then thought Obama should be ousted as illegitimate, now half the country thinks Hillary and half thinks Trump should be jailed. Geo H. W. Bush was the last president where the opposition did not devote most of its energy to criminalizing the other side’s leaders. If you can take Trump down with criminal charges, do so; otherwise, focus on policy and vote the bum out.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        Things that my progressive friends sometimes find so “obvious” that only an irrational or evil person could disagree — e.g. the damning nature ot the 3-page notes from the Ukraine call — turn out to be not so obvious to those viewing things from outside of the progressive echo chamber.

        The fact that Trump or someone in his circle broke procedure and tried to hide this info on the codeword server suggests that people outside the “progressive echo chamber” realized its damning nature.

        • max blancke
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

          Did it “break procedure”? What I had read is that classifying conversations between POTUS and foreign leaders has been more routine since several such conversations were leaked to the media, including those with the leaders of Mexico and Australia.
          https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49865774

          There are many things I know little about, and some things I have had to learn a great deal about. Handling classified material is in the latter category. POTUS has sweeping authority to classify or declassify documents. It would be very hard to prove that he classified the transcript illegally.

          We are not talking about whether Trump is crooked. I assume he is. What we are talking about is whether it can be proven to the satisfaction of the vast majority of Americans that he has committed crimes worthy of deposing the current administration.

          It is extremely interesting to me how different groups of rational, educated people can read the subject transcript and come back with opposite conclusions about what they read.

          I am up here in deep red country, and do not agree with much of the rhetoric I hear at the dinner table. Even so, I have trouble reading the transcript and background material and seeing prosecutable evidence of any crime. The best I can do is assume that people believe that the Bidens are innocent in the Burisma scandal, and that Trump is asking that false evidence be fabricated. But I don’t know. I am not a Trump fan, did not and will not vote for him. But I am just not seeing what seems to be obvious to most commenters here. Or you are not seeing what is obvious to me. At any rate, it is troubling.

          • Posted September 30, 2019 at 1:25 am | Permalink

            I feel somewhat the same way, though somewhat less so as I live in Blue country. I know Trump is guilty. He has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt how he thinks and operates. The Ukraine-Biden affair is 100% consistent with that. The problem is that he and his henchmen have no shame and are willing to invent any theory or explanation and keep a straight face while telling them. The Dems only chance is if they can do the impeachment before they get the chance to muddy the waters.

            On the other hand, I really do think that more people now see Trump for what he is and don’t like it. And Trump’s behavior is not going to change any opinions to his side. I think the Dems are going to win in 2020 barring a complete screw up.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Civics is still taught out here in District 9, so people know what “consent of the governed” means.

      Civics is still taught in these parts, too, or at least was when I was a schoolboy. The president elected to govern the consenting takes an oath to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and [to] preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

      Donald John Trump has been forfeit to that oath from the moment he took it. (He was already neck-deep in a cover-up of Michael Flynn’s unlawful December 2016 telephone conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak regarding the lifting of US sanctions). And it’s gotten worse ever since.

  34. Posted September 29, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Tom Friedman on Fareed Zakaria’s show today suggested that the Dems would be wise to get it out of House committees’ hands as soon as possible by appointing a special prosecutor. I’m assuming that such a prosecutor would be able to make their investigations public as they go, unlike with Mueller, but I will admit that I don’t know how this works. The important thing, according to Friedman, is to avoid the kind of hearings where both Republicans and Democrats give 5-minute speeches. This allows Trump and his followers to spin this into us vs them that much easier. They realize that the more the public sees this as just partisan politics, the better their chances in 2020.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      I think what he was saying was to hire professionals (real prosecutors to do the questioning at the hearing). Thereby removing all that silly 5 minute political stuff that is just a loser. I don’t think he was meaning get a special prosecutor and do a whole new investigation. There is no time for that.

  35. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Is impeaching Trump a bad tactic?

    Not just “no,” but “hell no.”

    As for Mr. Buskirk’s tripartite argument, to lift the punchline from Sidney Harris’s cartoon, I think he should be more explicit here in Step Two: How in the world will laying out the evidence of Donald Trump’s manifest perfidy during congressional hearings broadcast to a national audience create sympathy for him? The only people capable of feeling sympathy for a lout like Trump are those already deep within his cult of personality, and they are beyond persuasion anyway.

    At every step in the investigations against him, Donald Trump has latched on to the slightest shard of fact that didn’t inculpate him completely and declaimed his absolute exoneration. If he is acquitted at an impeachment trial, he will declaim his “exoneration” once again — but he will shout it even louder if the House of Representatives fails to impeach in the first place. Before he does so, let the American people see the evidence against him set out in a persuasive, professional manner.

    Buskirk also fails to consider the obverse side of his own coin — if the House doesn’t impeach, and Trump is reelected, what possible constraint will there be on him in a second term now that they’ve knuckled under? What manner of depredation will be beyond this corrupt, mendacious president with a demonstrated proclivity for employing his office for personal gain?

    Buskirk is like the right-wing pundits who wrung their hands over the impeachment of Richard Nixon until the hammer finally fell and the Supreme Court made Nixon cough up his damning White-House tapes. The hammer is still dropping on Donald Trump. The whistleblower’s complaint fingers many people inside the White House and elsewhere in the Trump administration. There are leaks pouring forth already from inside Trump’s White House, and, before all is said and done, many more rats will scramble off Trump’s sinking ship by providing testimony against him.

    Trump has no real support among Republicans in the US senate; all he can count on is their abject fear of retaliation from his die-hard base (which has captured the Republican Party). There is not one sitting Republican senator who endorsed Trump during the 2016 primaries or who actually wanted him to become US president. (The only one who did was Jeff Sessions, and the sitting senators have seen the ignominy with which Trump repaid him as attorney general for his efforts.) The vast majority of Republican senators would vote to remove Trump if they felt they could do so without jeopardizing their own political futures. If they’re unwilling to vote their conscience, make them stand before the American people and demonstrate their cowardice.

    Donald Trump will not go gentle from the Oval Office, whether it is by impeachment or by loss in the 2020 election. It may be inevitable that, in his ugly exit, he will burn the Republican Party to the ground. So be it. Then, maybe the disreputable elements the Party has accumulated can be purged, and, like the mythological bird Phoenix, a new center-right American party can arise from its ashes.

    • EdwardM
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      +1e^9

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Put nicely. The key remains using real prosecutors to question the witnesses and keep the congress people on the sideline. Nixon was pretty sure he could slide through and stay in office and he didn’t even face reelection being in his second term. Trump will explode I think, if the democrats do this correctly and stay out of the weeds.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        I really hope that if he explodes, someone is there to keep his hands off the nukes & disobey a launch order, risking jail. Please please please I hope there are people with integrity in those positions. Just like the Russians who saved our asses when people got itchy trigger figures in Moscow with some false data during the Cold War.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

          There used to be — primarily the military generals like John Mattis and HR McMaster (and even John Kelly, as well as civilians like Rex Tillerson and Don McGahn).

          But they’ve now been replaced, for the most part by lackeys and suck-ups — like chief-of-staff Mick Mulvaney and AG William Barr and SecState Mike Pompeo and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — many of whom Trump keeps in temporary, “acting” positions, the better to ensure they’re responsiveness to his capricious whims.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

            This is what scares me. Let’s hope someone in the chain of command has good sense.

          • rickflick
            Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

            I hope the dirty dozen he has now are keeping half an eye on tRump’s trigger finger. After all, they may be willing lackeys, but they can’t all be total fools.

          • Posted September 29, 2019 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

            If Trump controls the guns, we’re screwed.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted September 30, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

          I think you refer to the unsung, cool-headed hero, lieutenant-colonel Stanislas Petrov?
          Now that is a guy who would have deserved a Nobel Peace Prize. Singlehandedly prevented a nuclear war. Few, if any, figure higher in my pantheon of action (or in case non-action) heroes. Sadly it can’t be done anymore, since he died in 2017.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted September 30, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

            There is that guy and recently a guy in a nuclear sub during the Cuban Missile crisis. The last orders from Moscow were if communications were lost to the sub, they were to launch their nuclear missiles. They had gone deep under water and the US ships knew they were there so they were sending fake depth charges to menace them into resurfacing. They therefore couldn’t get in contact with Moscow. They figured there had been a nuclear attack but they held off launching their missiles…..thank goodness. I wasn’t even born yet.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Reading your counter arguments to this article’s arguments makes me think that the Trump years have so messed with us that we think the whole world is upside down & logic no longer applies. It’s like when George Costanza did everything opposite because he decided he made bad decisions in his life.

  36. Bruce Lilly
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    There are two issues:
    1. The claim of an effect on the 2020 election
    2. Carrying out the oversight responsibilities in the Constitution, including impeachment

    The first is nonsense: the 2020 election will be determined by the votes cast by the 538 votes in the Electoral College, and a recent court ruling affirms that the electors may vote as they please, with no accountability. The Federal Election Commission, which is supposed to enforce campaign finance laws, no longer has enough members for a quorum. The 2020 election, therefore, will be determined by the party which can most effectively use extortion, blackmail, bribery, and other dirty tricks to swing a majority of those few votes that actually count. Worrying about the popular vote is a distraction (which is of course exactly what one particular party would like).

    Which naturally leads into the second issue: it is necessary to follow up on the issues in the whistle-blower’s report (including the “lock-down” of transcripts of telephone conversations other than the July 25 one with the Ukrainian president), the ongoing investigations into Trump’s financial dealings (and violations of the emoluments clause), and the obstruction of justice issues raised in Mueller’s report. The two ongoing investigations may well lead to evidence of additional violations.

    ITMFA. And at the same time, try to put in place a replacement and/or supplement for the hamstrung Federal Election Commission (with commissioners NOT appointed by the corrupt executive or Senate); somebody needs to be closely watching what happens with the electors. Long term, get rid of the Electoral College.

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

    Here is Robert De Niro on CNN [this morning I assume] having a right old go at the “crazy” Soviet Agent Orange 45ski. Some choice language near the end NSFW:

  38. rickflick
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    A compromise might be to delay a vote on impeachment, simply play out the preliminary hearings until the election. That way tRump doesn’t get his “win” in the Senate, but the public gets a terrific earful of the corruption.

    • Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      I agree. However, it is a bit too long before the elections. Sometimes I wonder if the timing is something Trump cooked up. Stephen Miller and Rush Limbaugh are now saying “Trump is the whistleblower.” I doubt they mean this literally but it does make me wonder.

      • GBJames
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Trump has no discipline. The suggestion that he’s the whistleblower is beyond absurd. But that’s par for the course for Miller and Limbaugh, of course.

        • Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          I agree. And, of course, Limbaugh and Miller really mean that Trump is blowing the whistle on Biden which is just ridiculous.

  39. Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I think the cost of not impeaching Trump would be greater than the cost of doing so at this point.

    By impeaching him, the Dems at least show that they are more than just talk on these issues.

    Sure they probably will rally Tramp’s base, but the Dems have a base too, and I don’t think that base will accept the Dems strategically conceding on this after three years of them beating the impeachment drum.

    In real terms the next election is probably not winnable. The economy currently just doesn’t support it, and in all likelihood the Dems will end up running Biden, who has absolutely nothing to offer the youth vote and who will not win the older vote because they’re already voting Republican.

    So setting aside the election, if they don’t they lose seats because why would you vote for a party that is that timid in the face of clear presidential abuse of power?

    • Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      I don’t agree. Did you see today’s Doonesbury comic: https://www.gocomics.com/doonesbury. There are no new Trump voters, only voters who once voted for him and are now going to vote against him.

      • Trumpkin
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        This is untrue. I voted against him last time. I don’t much like him but I will vote for him next time because I am disgusted by “the resistance “ and put off by Biden and Warren and Bernie.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

          Did you check out the cartoon at the link Paul provided? I guess you make two (though the fella Trump once called “my African-American” recently renounced him, so I suppose, between him leaving and you coming, it’s a wash).

          Doin’ a great job of “growing the base,” Donald.

        • Posted September 30, 2019 at 1:15 am | Permalink

          Yes, but you’re a bot.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted September 30, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

          “I voted against him last time.”

          Sure you did.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted September 30, 2019 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          You are ‘put off’ by Biden, Warren and Bernie, but you were not by Hillary then, and are not by Mr Trump now.
          You will need to come with a lot more credible explanations before I believe you voted ‘against him’ (ie. voted for Ms Clinton) in 2016.
          I share Paul’s & Saul’s (how NT!) suspicions.

  40. Karen Welsh
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    I created this video weeks ago, and thought it now out-of-date. But after reading many of the comments above and with my own concern that impeaching the president will back fire on the Democrats, I think this still could be true.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Bloody kids! Don’t know what they’ve got ’til they lose it. 🙂

  41. Historian
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Once again, as so often in the past, we are witnessing people who profess to be moderates or liberals falling for the right wing narrative. In this case the “friendly” advice is that the Democrats don’t have enough evidence, or that Trump will benefit from a Senate acquittal, or that the Democrats should retreat into their shells and just wait until the next election to get rid of Trump, which by that time the right wing will be united in supporting Trump.

    The reason that the right wing is so often successful in having their narrative accepted by those who should know better is that they are relentless in preaching their arguments. They never give up and never stop. Liberals and Democrats don’t do this. They have not in the past, at least, countered the right wing noise machine. Perhaps they have now learned that you can’t take a knife to a gun fight. The Democrats need to talk about Trump and his crimes over and over again. Continuous repetition is what it takes to get this message across. I hope they have learned this basic lesson of American politics.

    By the way, when the right wing warns against impeachment, this means to me that they are scared stiff what it will do to them politically.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Like they said in somebody’s class – the truth will set you free. Nothing will destroy the crooked like the light of day. The cult and far right have been watching this nut for a long time now so they should know this clown for some of what he is. He has been working for Putin for several years now and eventually that will be known as well. I saw something the other day that said the wall street boys, those in the democratic party are really mad and upset about the rise of Warren. Said they would vote for Trump if it came to that. I did not think there were many democrats on wall street?

    • Posted September 29, 2019 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      “Perhaps they have now learned that you can’t take a knife to a gun fight.”

      Or as the most astute liberal political commentator in the US, Bill Maher said, “Forget taking a knife to a gun fight — the Democrats are taking a covered lunch.”

      If for no other reason, impeachment would at least demonstrate to the rest of the sensible world that at least some in the US are struggling to regain at least a little credibility on the world stage.

      My impression is that the European media is still prepared to distinguish between what Trump does and what “the US” does (though part of that is just knowing that Trump often announces things he can’t follow through on). But at some point they’ll give up and just report everything Trump says and does as “The US today decided to…”

      • GBJames
        Posted September 29, 2019 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        I hear this “knife to a gun fight” metaphor when describing Democrats. Nobody ever gives an example of what the “gun” they prefer would be used is.

        Just wondering.

        • Historian
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

          I take the metaphor to mean that when there is a political dispute, which is about all the time, Republicans go for the kill in that they don’t brook compromise and are relentless in pursuit of their goals. Democrats try the sweetness and light approach, working under the delusion that Republicans are reasonable and can be persuaded to compromise for the common good. Obama believed this, never seeming to learn that Republicans had a different concept of government to his and would never accommodate him in the slightest. The Republicans’ many attempts to repeal Obamacare is a classic example.

          • rickflick
            Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

            Obama was condemned to play nice guy because he said he would be when he campaigned. Maybe the next Democratic president should only commit to basing his approach to the behavior on the other side of the isle.

          • GBJames
            Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

            The difference to me seems to be whether one operates in good faith or not. By “good faith” I mean desire to govern in the interests of everyone, as much as possible, as opposed to just your immediate base supporters.

            I am not convinced that bringing a gun, if it means acting like Republicans, is what I want the Party to be like.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          I hear this “knife to a gun fight” metaphor …

          Credit due Messrs. Connery and De Palma:

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted September 29, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

          An AK47 of course.

        • Posted September 30, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

          Fair question.

          For my part I’d say they have a tendency to try to win political battles by waging a culture war (i.e. occupying ethical moral high ground while investing a great deal of emotion & energy in unwinnable political fights — eg., Kavanaugh, Mueller).

          (I know these points could be contested, but that’s the best short answer I can give as an example.)

          • Posted September 30, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

            I should add, by impeaching trump they’re bringing a knife to a gun fight, but as long as they know they’re doing it and making sure everyone knows it’s all they’ve got and they have to stand and fight this now.

            I hope the left doesn’t get all carried away with themselves like they did celebrating the 2016 election before it was over, and Mueller’s supposedly imminent prosecution of Trump. I just hope they don’t wind up too exhausted to vote when the time comes.

            • Nicolaas Stempels
              Posted September 30, 2019 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

              Chuck Norris would pull that off easily, but then I would not be surprised if he were Trumpista.
              And slightly less unrealistic: Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter would have the ability too.
              Heck, even David McCallum as Dr Donald Mallard (NCIS) sneakily cut the brachial artery of his gun-equipped kidnapper, forcing the latter to put down his gun lest the Dr would let him bleed to death.
              But I digress, don’t bring honesty, good arguments and good intentions to a discussion where your opponents bring misrepresentations, lies, conspiracies and deceit.

          • GBJames
            Posted September 30, 2019 at 8:02 am | Permalink

            You don’t give an example of what a “gun” would look like. That’s my complaint.

            • Nicolaas Stempels
              Posted September 30, 2019 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

              The guns would be misrepresentations, lies, conspiracies and deceit. Deceit mainly about a willingness to compromise and to cooperste (totally absent), a complete lack of good faith, that is the AK 47.

              • GBJames
                Posted September 30, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

                I think that’s why the metaphor doesn’t appeal to me.

  42. Joe Hahn
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I vote for impeachment.

    I think it is time to do what is right, not what is easy.

  43. KD
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    While the partisan reaction is clear, it should be pointed out that one of these two sides is going to turn out to be correct.

    Impeachment will have political consequences, and those consequences will not in all likelihood be distributed equally, and the first casualty is likely Biden’s candidacy (IMHO he was always an MBNA-funded hack, but he was also the most “normal” and “moderate” of the candidates which might have been reassuring to middle-of-the-road voters).

  44. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always preferred the JJ Cale original to the Eric Clapton cover, but, gotta admit, I’m now rather fond of this true-to-the-feel-of-the-original parody version:

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Oh my. When did that come out, day before yesterday?

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted September 30, 2019 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Brilliant!

  45. Jim Danielson
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Republicans will go at Democrats with every dirty trick they can imagine and they have gotten very good at dirty tricks.

    An impeachment investigation isn’t a liability for Democrats, it’s an arrow in their quiver.

    Republicans will complain (DO complain and long have complained) that Democrats are after Trump. They will continue to do so no matter what happens, and will do so at the top of their lungs. Democrats should expect it and at least have evidence to support their position, even if a sizable number of electorate either won’t hear it or won’t believe it.
    No matter what Democrats find I doubt many Trump supporters will change their mind. This election is going to be about getting the most people out to vote.
    Impeaching Trump is unlikely to change Republican’s efforts to drum up voters. We know from past elections if they don’t have a valid reason they will make up ten.

    The election is going to be the same no matter how this investigation turns out, which means at least the Democrats need to try to uphold the rule of law and the constitution, especially if they are the only party willing to do so.

  46. Posted September 29, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Trump swim’s in shit, I see the reluctance to get in the pool… on the other hand someone has to clean it even if it’s is only the filters and a warning for now, Do NOT to put your head under the water!
    I come from a land downunder (the Islands not the continents) and the odour is permeating everywhere.

  47. Robert Van Orden
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    The die has been cast. Impeachment is coming.

    I’m confident that the time is right and impeachment, tactically, will benefit the Democrats. Trump’s behavior is deplorable and illegal. Now, it will be the Republicans forced to answer tough questions defending Trump’s behavior.

    It’s already working. Stephan Miller was taken to task by Chris Wallace. Ditto, Jim Jordan by Jake Tapper. As more information comes out, the harder time they will have.

    The more information that comes out, the more the polls will move. The more the polls move, the more disincentive Senate Republicans have to support this guy.

    Lastly, I think a lot of Senate Republicans hate Trump. This buffoon holds over them because he’s popular with their base. But that popularity can erode. The CBS news poll that came out today has 23% of Republicans supporting the impeachment inquiry. If things get bad enough, they’ll dump Trump and reclaim their party.

    Even if he survives conviction in the senate, it’s a huge scandal. It’s Trump’s scandal not the Democrats. He is in fact guilty, BTW. The public record shows that.

    Lastly, he’s run afoul of the Intelligence Community.

    Asha Rangappa, John Sipher, Walter Schaub, Andrew Bakaj, Bradley Moss, Emily Brandwin, Susan Hennessey, Tom Nichols and Pope Hat. These are the people I have been following on Twitter that I highly recommend. They have relevant expertise regarding the law and National Security.

    • rickflick
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the encouraging news. If you are right, tTrump is in for a sharp decline in support. That would spell his end.

  48. David Jorling
    Posted September 29, 2019 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    I think we have to impeach now, as unlikely a Senate conviction may be. If not, there may never be another whistleblower in the government that will come forward. My sense is that there are others in government who are itching to whistleblow.

    That said, I think the Dems are already screwing it up. They need to appoint a bipartisan panel of investigators and lawyers to investigate this, and provide findings and make recommendations to the Committee. If this proceeds on a strictly partisan basis by House Democratic elected representatives, its DOA. This is not the Republican Party of the Nixon era. As Trump implied in the past, the Dems could find that he murdered someone in Times square (or was it 5th Ave?) and the GOP would still support him. So yes even if they do an independent investigation, it may still be DOA. But it may have a better chance.

    The statements that the Dems have made that they are doing this regrettably, that the decision to proceed is non-partisan, and are sad to have to take this route, just aren’t credible.

  49. Posted September 29, 2019 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    “You can always find good reasons for anything you want to do.” –Albert Camus

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 29, 2019 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      “Hell is other people[‘s comments].” — Jean-Paul Sartre. 🙂

  50. Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    It’s righteous to impeach this prez.
    Follow the money … it’ll be a win simply to get Trump’s tax returns.

  51. Philip
    Posted September 30, 2019 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    I come to this site for the interesting nature/evolution, etc; the fairly mainstream liberal stuff, not. Although not American – i live in Africa – I am amazed at how what I take to be fairly normal Americans (Jerry is one) seem to be driven to craziness by Trump. What he has done seems,from a distance of many thousands of miles, not outside the bounds of what Clinton, Obama, Bush the younger did. Yet, this Ukraine phone call is spun into an impeachable offence – taking out his potential challenger, Biden.The way I see this, is, he is merely encouraging (legally) the Ukrainian authorities to investigate (a) Hunter Biden; and (b)Joe Biden’s boasted – by himself – the at the VERY LEAST fishy leaning on Ukraine to remove the prosecutor investigating alleged corruption, and Hunter’s activities. From this distance, that looks far more serious than Trump’s behaviour over this matter. An the Russia circus – again, it looked very vindictive to try to whip up obstruction charges. Hell, I would be mad if the panoply of the state was ranged against me in that fashion. And, as chief executive, it looked – again, that Trump did nothing illegal. The red mist of anger certainly clouds judgements.

    • Posted September 30, 2019 at 4:37 am | Permalink

      Biden may come off poorly in this investigation, in which case he’s dead as a candidate. But a President, and this is a first, should not be asking a foreign government to help him win the election by investigating a political opponent, nor imply that that is somehow connected with military aid.

      As for me being “driven to craziness” by Trump, that’s bogus; I have been judicious about Trump (many have said “not nearly critical enough” and finally got fed up. NOBODY who reads this site would say that I’ve been driven to craziness, and I’ve called out people who have what I see as “Trump Derangement Syndrome”. You will apologize for the mischaracterization and insult, or you will never post here again.

      And you’re not the determinant of whether the President committed impeachable offenses: that is up to Congress. So how things “look” to you may be very misleading.

    • Historian
      Posted September 30, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      Trump’s actions may very well have been illegal and even if it were not could still be impeachable. Breaking a criminal statute is not necessary to meet the bar for impeachment.

      https://time.com/5686104/trump-ukraine-call-impeachment-offense/

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 30, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        “Abuse of power” was one of the draft articles of impeachment voted out of the House judiciary committee against both Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted September 30, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      I live in Africa too, and to me, an outsider, Mr Trump’s actions appear completely outrageous and criminal, if not treasonous.
      This latest mob-like talk “I’ve been good to you, now you owe me a favour” would be a caricature if it weren’t so real. From a president in office, and actually blocking aid approved by Congress, for his own personal benefit, is there anything more impeachable?
      So speak for yourself, not for outsiders.

      The ones that are driven to craziness by Mr Trump are his cultists, not his critics.
      But then that is a well tried and established tactic of Mr Trump (which he learned from the squeaky clean Mr Cohn): accuse your opponent of what you are guilty of yourself, and keep hammering on that..

  52. Posted September 30, 2019 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    I honestly do not know. My worries is that this might cost us the House in 2020.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted September 30, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Not impeaching might also cost the House.
      The fact that a Trump apologist like Mr Buskirk advises the Democrats not to impeach, should in itself be reason enough to pursue, after all, as a Trumpist he knows a bit better than ordinary humans what’s going on in the Trump laager.

  53. Posted September 30, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I always find it incredible in times like this (“interesting”, in the Chinese curse sense) people are so confident about predicting the behaviours of others. I have no such confidence, so I say, do the moral thing – impeach.

  54. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted September 30, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    It appears the time for impeachment has come, I only expected it by the end of the year, but Mr Trump’s outrageous recent exploits forced the issue.
    If the Democrats stick to the articles as proposed by ‘Lawfare’ (see Bruce Cochrane’s post at 12) and employ professional prosecutors they may gain a lot.

  55. Posted September 30, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Now there’s a similar Australian phone call:

    This guy just doesn’t stop. He has to go!

  56. Brian Jones
    Posted October 1, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    A couple of thoughts:
    1. Impeachment is a tactic, not a principle. We should not impeach simply because Trump has done something impeachable, rather that it increases the probability of getting rid of him.

    2. If we look at the Nixon and Clinton impeachment’s, the key question is which one the Trump impeachment more closely resembles. For me, the most important element in this is the flow of public opinion prior to and during the impeachment process. Where public opinion goes, the politicians will follow. Nixon’s approval ratings, 67% at Inauguration, sank rapidly during impeachment, while Clinton’ ratings barely dropped below 60%. I suspect that this is due to the differing perceptions in Americans’ minds of the crimes of each president. Not too many people objected to Clinton’s affair with Lewinski and his subsequent coverup lies enough to support his impeachment, but people did object to Nixon’s dirty tricks to win the election. And as more information emerged during the impeachment, his support drained away to the point there senior Republicans told him he was dragging them down and had to go.

    I submit that the Trump impeachment is more like Nixon’s than Clinton’s. Trump has never had approval ratings over 50%, and support is already slipping even amongst Republicans. His crimes are similar to those of Nixon. This makes impeachment a valid tactic in Trump’s case.

    3. Trump is already highly stressed and lashing out at all perceived opposition. I suspect that he will not be able to cope with months more of this in the context of an impeachment trial, and will become even more wild eyed and irrational. This may energize his base but lose him the support of moderate Republicans and Independents, with Republican congressmen watching and wondering when they should start thinking about dumping him.

    4. A minor point, this, but I believe that the stonewalling of the White House over provision of documents and testimony may be harder to do in the context of an impeachment trial.

    My conclusion is that impeachment is a good tactic now, even if the Senate acquits, because it will damage Trump’s approval ratings and weaken his hold on Republican politicians.

    • Posted October 1, 2019 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      I think the key in moving this forward will be putting some teeth into the requests for documents and testimony. My understanding is that if they ignore subpoenas then the next step is to hold them in contempt of Congress which can potentially result in jail time. If so, the Dems need to do this asap. It would signal to the voters that the rule of law still holds … assuming it does.


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