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Crimes and impeachable offenses: Preet Bharara lays out distinctions

Preet Bharara
REUTERS/Mike Segar
Preet Bharara: "There are things that the president has the power to do that would be eminently impeachable."

Of course, I think about impeachment a lot these days, from many perspectives. There’s a historical approach, a legalistic approach, a political approach and more. When I was offered a chance to interview Preet Bharara I wanted ask him about the approach of an experienced prosecutor as well a news analyst, who has become a regular talking head on the shows, and who was looking to promote his upcoming Minneapolis appearance.

So let’s get the promotion out of the way. Bharara now produces a weekly podcast called “Stay Tuned with Preet,” featuring interviews with famous guests. He’ll be taping one of those on stage at the Pantages Theatre on Nov. 5 with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey as his guest. (Frey, you may recall, tried to get Donald Trump to pay for the city’s extra security costs needed for Trump’s recent Minneapolis rally, which did wonders for the following of Frey’s Twitter account.)

I don’t know what Bharara and Frey will talk about, but I wanted to get Bharara’s perspective as a former Capitol Hill staffer who worked on congressional investigations and a former federal prosecutor in New York who made his name prosecuting political corruption and Wall Street crime, on the developing charges of corruption against a certain incumbent president of the United States.

Impeachment ‘more a political than a legal event’

Differentiating those criminal investigations from an impeachment investigation, Bharara said the latter is “more a political than a legal event,” even though it revolves around the famous constitutional phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors.” He said:


“There are things that a prosecutor might deem to be criminal that might be too trivial to rise to a high crime or misdemeanor. And there are things that might not be criminal, in the technical criminal sense, that members of Congress may view as abuses of power sufficient to invoke impeachment.”

As Bharara noted, Trump and his defenders “will often say, in terms of what Trump does, that the president has the constitutional power to do these things. For example, the power to fire (FBI Director) Jim Comey. Yes, he has that power. But there are things that the president has the power to do that would be eminently impeachable.

“For example, the president has the authority and power to fire everyone who has been politically appointed who has an IQ over 75. It’s true. He breaks no law by firing everyone above that intellectual threshold. Likewise, I don’t believe he would violate any law if, tomorrow, he ordered the invasion of Canada. Or a nuclear strike on London.

“The law allows the president tremendous authority to make certain decisions, including with respect to war, and with respect to personnel. So yes, you can imagine lots of things that scholars would say are technically within the president’s power to do, but are things that members of Congress and their constituents would find so beyond the pale and so outside the bounds of normalcy, and such dramatic abuses of power that they would invoke the impeachment authority.”

The charge of ‘obstruction’

Bharara noted that in the Nixon impeachment process, the impeachable offenses alleged included various acts of “obstruction,” for example, that aren’t in the criminal code but that can become impeachable offenses if a president commits them in order to prevent Congress from finding out what he has been doing.

“I don’t know whether what Trump has done constitutes ‘obstruction’ as a strict criminal matter,” Bharara said. “In a criminal prosecution, you think of criminal obstruction as destroying documents or hiding documents or coaching witnesses or something like that. As opposed to, ‘We’re gonna fight everything, and not comply with the process.’ I don’t know if all the court fights over that have been completed. But I think it’s an abuse of power … [and actions like that] even if they might not rise to the level of the crime of obstruction can still be obstruction for purposes of impeachment.”

“At the end of the day, those terms [high crimes and misdemeanors] mean what a majority of the House thinks they mean and what two-thirds of the Senate thinks it means. I think of it very much in terms of abuse of power.

“If a sufficient number of members of Congress decide that some action by the president arises to that level, then the impeachment power applies,” even if it doesn’t violate a criminal statute that applies to non-presidents, he said.

“It seems that the president’s lawyers are taking the opposite position — because it’s useful to them – or would be if they were right, but they’re not. I keep seeing [Trump personal lawyer and media personality] Jay Sekulow and others go on television and say, ‘Identify the crime that has been committed.’

‘The terms are vague’

“But that is not the standard. It’s a political process. The terms are vague. If a majority of the House say he’s impeached, he’s impeached. If two-thirds of the Senate say he’s convicted and removed, he’s removed.

“But it is certainly my view, for example, that in the matter of Ukraine, it is totally reasonable, if the president of the United States asks a foreign power to investigate a political rival like Joe Biden, that that, on its face, is impeachable and you can remove him for that alone. It is an abuse of power, and reasonable members of Congress can vote on that basis,” said Bharara.

“But of course it’s also true that, if some action can be proven to actually be a crime, the path to impeachment becomes that much easier and more authoritative if you can prove as a matter of law there was a quid pro quo, and there was an exchange of things of value to get the government of Ukraine to do that — releasing foreign aid, for example, to get something of value to you, such that it would violate campaign finance laws, then yes, the case for impeachment and removal strengthens considerably.

“But it certainly helps if you can point to something and say: ‘You know what folks. This is a straight-ahead crime. This conduct actually violates the law and ordinary people would be charged.’ That would certainly help bring public sentiment along.”

If it seems unfair that a president can be “convicted” of something that isn’t a specific crime, Bharara suggests you recall that an impeached president doesn’t get sentenced to prison. “We can’t send someone to jail without showing a crime. But the consequence of this is that the president just gets fired. There are lots of circumstances where a person who has a position of public trust betrays that trust, and they don’t go to jail. They just get fired.”

The political clock

I asked Bharara about the argument that the choice of a president should be up to the electorate and, especially since we are only a year away from the next election, impeaching and removing Trump would remove the question of his fitness for office from the place where it should be decided. He replied:

“In traditional prosecutorial thinking, such as I was involved in as a U.S. attorney, you want to be aware of the political clock. You don’t want to be interfering in an election. You don’t want to be substituting prosecutorial action for democratic action. That’s a good and deeply held principle.

“But that logic is less applicable when you’re talking about Congress holding the president accountable through a process that is explicitly provided for in the Constitution, as opposed to ordinary criminal process. That’s a different question. I don’t think the timing matters as much.

Impeachment history also doesn’t support the argument, Bharara said. Twice in U.S. history the House has impeached a president: The Bill Clinton case and the Andrew Johnson case. “And one of them, he said, “the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, occurred in 1868, which was an election year. So 50 percent of the cases occurred in an election year.”


Bharara took one more shot at the “let the voters decide” argument, which almost turned it on its head. Those saying ‘let the voters decide’ ignore the fact that the impeachment inquiry, which is not the same thing as a vote to impeach and remove Trump, is bringing to light a great deal of information – revelations that have filled the news in recent days with evidence of possible corruption by Trump in pressuring Ukraine to manufacture dirt beneficial to Trump politically, for example. That’s information that voters have every right to know about him, but wouldn’t know without the impeachment inquiry.”

Some elements of the case against Trump were known before the official opening of the House impeachment inquiry and, in fact, caused that inquiry to begin, Bharara said, “but all this other stuff — the testimony of the former ambassador to Ukraine, the acting ambassador, the ambassador to the European Union, that’s valuable, important information that the public needs to know. It’s important for the purpose of deciding whether the investigation needs to be continued, and also for the purpose of informing the public as to the fitness of this president for office when they get a chance to at the ballot box.

“So, at some point, although this isn’t discussed in the Constitution itself, if you try block an inquiry and an investigation, without which the people wouldn’t get important information that they should have in advance of an election, and justify it by saying there’s an election coming let the people decide, I don’t think makes much sense.”

The website of the “Stay Tuned with Preet” podcast is here.

Comments (84)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 10/29/2019 - 10:45 am.

    Public officials have the authority to do anything within the scope of their office, but they can’t do the wrong thing. A president who has the authority to send millions of people to war, doesn’t have the authority to order a soldier to kill one of his political opponents.

  2. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/29/2019 - 10:48 am.

    “Bharara took one more shot at the “let the voters decide” argument, which almost turned it on its head. ….. That’s information that voters have every right to know about him, but wouldn’t know without the impeachment inquiry.”

    Exactly!

    Pelosi is right in meeting the Rs demand for a pre-impeachment vote this week: give them everything they want to the point of saying:

    “We won’t even have a final vote if there are not 5 R co-sponsors”

    In the mean time give us day after day of public testimony from folks like Hill, Yovanovitch and Vindman. Let the Rs make fools of themselves as they try to paint these witnesses as “deep state agents”. Let Trump dig his own grave as he refuses to let McGahn and others testify and withholds documentary evidence.

    And when it comes to that final vote in the house, imagine the pressure on swing district R Representatives who must decide do they follow the overwhelming evidence of Trump’s wrong doing and vote for the need for a Senate trial or just be a loyal Trump soldier in defiance of the obvious. There would be a revolt: self preservation is their ultimate motivation.

    If they do not impeach they answer to the voters. If they do impeach, we move forward to the Senate with an already bi-partisan impeachment effort, offering cover to the Senators wishing he were gone.

    Heard an interesting interview with former Senator Jeff Flake recently. He said make the Senate vote anonymous and it would be 85/15 to remove right now.,

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/29/2019 - 11:02 am.

    Trump and his campaign have a documented history of not paying bills, and I confess I’m not that interested in the fact that he stiffed Minneapolis for the costs of his rally. The people responsible knew, going in, that Trump has failed to pay numerous bills from contractors and others who’ve done work for him, including other cities where he’s held rallies. It’s an interesting habit – criminal if you or I try the same thing – and a tight budget doesn’t work as an excuse, given that his campaign has raised hundreds of millions of dollars. If you know the (potential) customer is a scofflaw, should you sign a rental contract with that customer anyway? Are you required to?

    More interesting – to me – is the question of whether or not the city could have legally denied him and his campaign the use of the venue without also legally denying the same venue’s use to other candidates in the upcoming campaign. I’m guessing the answer is “no,” but I’m not a lawyer.

    Be that as it may, I enjoy Bharara’s commentary on CNN from time to time. The network has plenty of talking heads to choose from, but he stands out a bit from most. He occasionally displays a sly sense of humor, for one thing, and humor is singularly lacking from most political commentary. This administration, particularly, almost begs for ridicule, which late-night TV sometimes provides, but I’m too old to stay up late enough to see it first-hand.

    • Submitted by Bob Petersen on 10/29/2019 - 11:40 am.

      You are forgetting the point of why payment was withheld. How does a similar event cost well over $500,000 this year with the demand of pre-payment compared to Obama’s campaign only being charged about $20,000 that could be paid later?

      Drug companies don’t even gouge at that level.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/29/2019 - 12:30 pm.

        I don’t know what the thinking was, but it is possible that the higher fee for Trumpapalooza was based on the experience of law enforcement in other cities. Prepayment was demanded because who would be foolish enough to think Trump would ever pay a bill?

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/29/2019 - 02:16 pm.

        “Target Center opened in October 1990. The facility is owned by the City of Minneapolis and managed privately by ASM Global. ”

        What I am not getting is that the Target Center use by Trump is a private transaction between the Trump Campaign and ASM Global. Security within the bounds of the property should be the responsibility of ASM Global and billed back to the campaign.

        Outside of the venue I can agree that billing Trump is a funny dodge; but not reality. I’ll bet the city got stiffed by the “Occupy Wall Street” encampment too.

  4. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 10/29/2019 - 11:09 am.

    Seems the real question, accountability, is addressed below, a clip[ from a WSJ article. A good question for the Trumpies, do you prefer a King?

    “If he can’t be held accountable via executive-branch law enforcement and he can’t be held accountable via congressional impeachment, then we really do have a king,” said Ms. Newland, now counsel at the bipartisan legal advocacy group Protect Democracy.

  5. Submitted by Bob Petersen on 10/29/2019 - 11:50 am.

    The article is right that this is a political process. The part that those that seemingly want blood is resetting the standard that presidents need to behave at. Everything the mob is shouting about has never shown one proof of evidence against the current president. Now we have closed door meetings about Ukraine about a whistle blower that is now in hiding after being tied at the hip with Rep Schiff, who is only calling witnesses that fit the narrative he desires. Fair enough to investigate but do the country credit and be transparent, not to mention what part of this country is founded on – due process.
    Still this being a political process, the voters remember. What comes around, goes around. Is the hatred for this president so bad that the level of impeachment ‘crimes’ gets so low? Impeach Trump if you feel the need. He will win the trial in the Senate. And then the voters get their turn. And when it happens a Democrat wins the White House, people will remember and hold that person to the same low standards people have now.
    After all, we could have impeached every president up to now with the standards that the current pro-impeachment followers cry out for.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/29/2019 - 02:04 pm.

      You must be one happy guy today as Pelosi will have acceded to your requests by the end of the week.

      I am confused how you can say there are any closed door meetings when the Rs are in every meeting and the whole process just follows the guidelines laid out by the Rs in the Benghazi investigations.

      Seems to me the process is fair and balanced:

      1. Meetings out of the public eye where if it is determined if there is sufficient evidence to go forward. Confidentiality insures proper respect if the process does not go forward.

      2. A vote by the entire house to begin a full, public investigation and debate.

      3. A final vote to impeach or not.

      And your problem is????

    • Submitted by Don Wallen on 10/29/2019 - 02:18 pm.

      I don’t understand. Your guys made the rules and the Dems are following them. What’s your beef?

    • Submitted by Mike Chrun on 10/29/2019 - 04:15 pm.

      So, in the same paragraph you’re railing against the secret inquiry you’re claiming that there has not been “one proof of evidence” against your great leader. And you know this how since we have all this secrecy? Of course, as has been noted, over 45 Republicans have sat in on the hearings and have access to the testimonies and they know there has been damaging evidence; thus, all the distractions.

      Doesn’t matter where the whistleblower is. He or she did what they thought was right and the ball was put in play. You do realize there is a law that allows the identity to remain secret? The fact that a decorated army lieutenant colonel is being accused of treason today by your obviously favorite news source is a pretty good example of why a whistleblower’s identity is kept secret.

      You’ll have your wish soon enough about transparency. I have a feeling Yovanovitch, Hill, Taylor, Vidman, and possibly others, are going to present a pretty good narrative of what this is all about. It’s not just politics as usual. It’s about abuse of power followed by obstruction.

      Ukraine has been under the Russian’s heel for much of its existence. Being an independent country didn’t stop Putin from using militia forces to grab Crimea from Ukraine several years ago. He is still at it and Ukraine looked to the United States for help. Congress allocated about 400 million dollars of aid, some of it military. Trump, with the wise guidance of Rudy, decided to tie it to getting dirt on the political rival he feared most in the next election. It’s in our national interest that Ukraine is an independent nation as it tries to fend off Russian aggression. Yet Trump felt it was more important to watch out for his political interest. You even have one of his stooges admitting it despite trying to walk it back.

      That’s what this is about despite all the whining, lying, and other distractions being thrown out there. It’s not some little matter the Democrats made up; and when the impeachment process goes public, hopefully, all but the willfully stupid will see what a danger your great leader is to our country. Like his stooge said, “Get over it. Elections have consequences.” 2018 House elections enabled this to happen. You seem to think it’s going to swing back in 2020 as your aggrieved great leader will get his revenge. The Senate most likely will acquit, but the testimony we’re going to be hearing will seal your great leader’s fate with the voters despite all the game playing by the Republicans and Fox.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/30/2019 - 10:25 am.

      We have literal avalanche of evidence. The problem is narrowing the scope given the mountain of evidence, not looking for enough evidence to impeach.

      • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 11/01/2019 - 03:41 pm.

        ” We have literal avalanche of evidence. The problem is narrowing the scope given the mountain of evidence, not looking for enough evidence to impeach. ”

        Exactly right Paul… I think the mistake the democrats are making perhaps is that I have heard they are planning to make the impeachment primarily only about the Ukraine affair.

        Since the president is not going to actually be impeached by the senate, I think they should present to the American people the COMPLETE list of reasons why the president should be impeached – otherwise I’m afraid the implication is that he only committed ONE impeachable offense, one that many unfortunately are apparently willing to let slide.

        No, this should be about ALL the valid reasons, not just this one “icing on the cake” reason that has been recently uncovered regarding bribing the Ukrainian president with a public investigation of the Biden’s in exchange for military aid.

        It is disheartening to me that we are hearing Trump supporters claiming the president has done absolutely nothing wrong, and apparently sincerely believing it, after the long list of actions he has taken that many impartial attorneys/judges would indicate would most likely result in criminal convictions, were he not the president and therefore, according to questionable guidelines say a sitting president can’t be charged with a crime.

        Those guidelines ought to have been challenged, but tired, pathetic old Mueller didn’t have the fight in him to do that, so although he presented strong evidence of obstruction of justice, 10 cases of it in fact, he wasn’t willing to come out with the obvious conclusion the facts demanded.

        He wimped out badly IMO – he may have been a steely-eyed patriot for decades and deserves credit for that, but he let his country down badly by being too tired and weak to defend the constitution in his refusing to come out and state the obvious, namely something to the effect that “If it were not for the guidelines against indicting a sitting president, we would recommend that the president be indicted for obstruction of justice, 10 cases of obstruction in fact”.

        Instead, he came out with a weak, wishy-washy summary that ” “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state”

        Gee thanks Bob, you can’t say he’s innocent, that’s real helpful.

        He also never indicted or even questioned Trump jr. for conspiracy to solicit foreign aid to influence a presidential election with the Trump tower meeting, and that’s a crime, not just an example of unpatriotic behavior.

        Also never insisted on interviewing the president himself to get him on record as to whether or not he actually was ignorant of the swirl of Russian cooperation and contacts going on all around him, with his campaign manager Manafort, with Michael Flynn, and half a dozen others including his own son for Pete’s sake.

        Right – the ultimate hand’s-on president who has an opinion and gets involved in everything, including whether NFL players kneel during football games, had NO IDEA his own son, campaign manager and son-in-law were meeting to hopefully get dirt on Hillary Clinton, something which directly was tied to his election efforts.

        I’d be very surprised if he didn’t know all about the meeting, which is probably why he gave a press conference shortly after the meeting was setup, teasing the reporters that probably next week he would have new information on Hilary Clinton that they would find “very, very interesting”.

        https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-clinton-don-jr-russia_n_596562fee4b09b587d633d10

        The Mueller team gathered a lot of strong evidence, but left a lot of areas like the the Trump tower meeting untouched, never even interviewed Don Jr or the president, and then refused to draw the logical conclusions that the strong evidence his team did gather called for!

        He clearly just wanted to get the report over and go retire and sit in a rocking chair and be left alone, a tired old man, and therefore was only willing to make a wishy-washy, vague summary of the investigation, instead of actually calling a spade a space, and a crime a crime.

        He’s been demonized by Trump many times in recent months, but in reality, he let him off easy, for the reasons mentioned.

        In fact, I remember when the report was first released to the public, that the Trump team admitted that they were surprised that it wasn’t stronger against them, and Don Jr. at one point had said during the investigation that he expected to be indicted.

        Mueller’s summary was so weak and wishy-washy that at first the president was very pleased (and probably surprised) and called Mueller “an honorable man” –
        https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2019/may/30/mueller-spoke-trump-reacted-we-fact-checked/

        It was only when people started to dig into the very damning evidence his team had uncovered that the president started blasting him and the report.

        The Mueller team actually did a pretty good job, at least in areas they were allowed to pursue, but their leader, Mueller himself, was a real failure at his job IMO.

        He reminds me of a police chief who hires a crack team of detectives to investigate a high profile burglary case for 2 years, and the team finds fingerprints of the accused at the scene, safe cracking tools in his home, communications among the criminals planning the burglary, etc., etc.

        But then instead of charging the accused with burglary, the police chief only issues a vague report whose summary is that he isn’t able to say the accused is innocent of committing the burglary. What???

        That refusal to call a crime a crime allowed the Trump-publicans to claim that the report vindicated him (which it didn’t), and left the democrats with a weaker hand in pursing impeachment as a result.

        The fact that Mueller dropped the ball in writing his report summary doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a TON of evidence found to justify impeachment gathered by his competent team, or that areas they weren’t even allowed to touch, like the Trump tower meeting, weren’t part of an impeachable pattern of offenses as well.

        Now we have evidence from multiple witnesses that the president withheld badly needed military aid to combat our most dangerous foreign adversary Russia, unless the Ukraine agreed to provide dirt on the political opponent with the highest poll numbers.

        That’s bribery and soliciting help from a foreign national for personal political gain, and that’s a straight-out crime.

        And yet in spite of this mountain of evidence as you’ve correctly described it, we have Trump supporters sincerely I think believing he’s “done nothing wrong”. Wow.

        I guess I’m wondering if Hillary Clinton had won the election, and she had done all the things Trump has done to date, including all the fishy Russia connections and Russian trolls helping her win the election, if they’d say that she “did nothing wrong”.

        No!, I don’t think so!

        I’m quite sure that they would have been very rightly screaming Treason! and impeachment! at the top of their lungs long, long, long before now! (and I would have been right there with them).

        There’s a huge double standard at work here I think – Trump can simply do no wrong, as he himself quipped in 2016 when he said he could walk down 5th avenue and shoot someone, and he wouldn’t lose any supporters.

        That seems like a cult situation, where the cult leader is simply considered beyond fault in the eyes of the members, not matter what he does.

        Not good for a democracy, since by definition, a cult implies a totalitarian leader and everyone else as being followers.

        And that’s what is going on in the Trump-publican party, the republican senators and congressmen with rare exceptions just obediently do what he tells them to do (including his instructions that they should ‘get tougher’ in fighting the impeachment proceedings), and are desperately afraid of displeasing him for fear of losing their next primary, so they have effectively ceded the supposedly equal power of the congress to the cult leader and are acting as subordinate yes-men.

        The founding fathers setup a system in the constitution which was designed to limit any one person from having too much power, but the president has been systematically working to violate that principle and make the presidency equivalent to being a king or an emperor.

        Congress in under his thumb thru fear and intimidation (a number of people have said that if a secret ballot were held, he would be easily impeached by republicans in the senate), and with Barr as AG, the department of justice is effectively under his control as well.

        And that consolidation and grabbing of power from the other two branches of government, in my opinion anyway, is in itself very much “doing something wrong” since it’s 180 degrees opposite from democracy as laid out in the constitution.

        It’s ironic that apparently that Ivanka Trump apparently recently quoted Thomas Jefferson in defense of her father.

        I’m pretty sure Jefferson, were he alive today, would be a HUGE, huge critic of Donald Trump and his abuses of the office, especially since among the founding fathers, he was perhaps the one most strongly opposed of all of them to power being over-consolidated into the hands of one person, as we have with the current presidency.

  6. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/30/2019 - 08:01 am.

    It will interesting to compare the transcript of Vindman’s closed door testimony with his public testimony.

    10 Hours of closed door testimony, no doubt with plenty of Rs doing the questioning.

    The public R questioning will consist of:

    “Thank you for your service, I have no further questions”

    Poor Kevin McCarthy has to ask his folks:

    “OK, who is going to attack the patriotism of the decorated, career military office in full uniform with the Purple Heart?”

    Buhler.
    Buhler..
    Buhler…

    Even Liz Cheney, who threw her own gay sister under the bus to further her political goals, has already indicated she wants no part of questioning Vindman’s motives.

    And the rest of them will silently ask themselves:

    “I’m going to throw my reputation away for Donald Trump?”

  7. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 10/30/2019 - 08:28 am.

    “Manufacture dirt”, “get Ukraine to investigate his political opponent”…

    I think what Trump asked was, will you assist us in OUR investigation into Crowdstrike, and the origins of the Russiagate, perpetual smoking gun non-scandal that preoccupied Dems the last three years.

    See, there are ways to phrase it that make it sound like a blatant criminal act, or it can be treated it like an actual legal process. But if one is desperate to get rid of Trump after wasting so much political capital trying to usurp him, and one is secretly afraid that all of this incessant, mostly empty shrillness makes you look as bad as Trump or worse, and that one could lose to him in 2020 because of it, then I guess one is willing to phrase it as just as disingenuously as was the rest of the Russiagate attempted coup.

    So many problems in America to address. So much theatre to distract.

    • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 10/30/2019 - 08:37 am.

      JH Kunstlef said it most distinctly: “To set the record straight I’m forced to repeat something that these New Age Jacobins seem unable to process: you don’t have to be a Trump cheerleader to be revolted by the behavior of his antagonists, which is a stunning spectacle of bad faith, dishonesty, incompetence, and malice — and is surely way more toxic to the American project than anything the president has done.”

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/30/2019 - 10:08 am.

        “the behavior of his antagonists, which is a stunning spectacle of bad faith, dishonesty, incompetence, and malice — and is surely way more toxic to the American project than anything the president has done.”

        And you believe this?

        Ask Trump who his primary antagonists are and you get a list of deep state agents like James Comey and Andrew McCabe who have worked behind the scenes to destroy his Presidency.

        And now we see new antagonists like Taylor, Voyanovitch and Vindman.

        Who are also deep state agents out to get the President.

        And, William, you are agreeing that these people, all who entered government service without a political agenda and served admirably for years are:

        “surely way more toxic to the American project than anything the president has done.”

        William, you want toxic to the American project?

        Just look at the reaction to Col. Vindman from the Trumpian right.

        • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 10/31/2019 - 08:39 am.

          Comey illegally leaked info and McCabe lied to Congress, so holding them up as exemplars of service seems a bit like Kunstler’s description of things. Looking at it another way, they and others took it upon themselves to perpetrate regime change against an elected President of the United States, which is also the description of a coup, which by orders of magnitude is worse than Trump’s ham-fisted self aggrandizement.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/31/2019 - 10:03 am.

            Impeachment of a President is a legal, constitutional procedure. It is beyond my comprehension how anyone who purports to believe in representative democracy could call that a “coup.”

            Unless, of course, it is outrageous to think that anyone should dare criticize Our Beloved Leader.

            • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 10/31/2019 - 11:42 am.

              It is most curious that after three years, Dems finally get around to impeachment, yet the 10,000 smoking guns of Russiagate Dems have been obsessed about most of that time warrant nary a mention. This is pure politics, not a real legal proceeding.

              Now, if one cares to take a real look at those so-called smoking guns that amounted to one giant powderpuff, that evidence begins to look like a coordinated coup attempt by the Hillary campaign, DNC, Corporate Media and the Deep State. In fact, one is entirely capable of thinking Trump a crass megalomaniac degenerate, while also seeing clearly the coup conspiracy against him.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/31/2019 - 02:56 pm.

                “It is most curious that after three years, Dems finally get around to impeachment . . .”

                You mean, it is curious that Democrats waited until their were clearly articulable grounds, and not just policy differences?

                ” . . . yet the 10,000 smoking guns of Russiagate Dems have been obsessed about most of that time warrant nary a mention.”

                I have no idea what you mean by that , and I am somewhat afraid that you will tell us.

                “This is pure politics, not a real legal proceeding.”

                Yes! You’re catching on! Impeachment, as Alexander Hamilton pointed out, is by its nature political. It is not a criminal proceeding. I’m glad you figured that out.

                “Now, if one cares to take a real look at those so-called smoking guns that amounted to one giant powderpuff, that evidence begins to look like a coordinated coup attempt by the Hillary campaign . . .”

                Once again, a female politician is referred to by her first name only. Just for the record: even “the gals” are entitled to be addressed according to protocol. She is Senator Clinton.

                ” . . .DNC, Corporate Media and the Deep State.”

                Not to mention George Soros, the Bilderburg Group, and, for all I know, the June Taylor Dancers. This runs deep.

                “In fact, one is entirely capable of thinking Trump a crass megalomaniac degenerate”

                Just as one is entirely capable of thinking the ocean is wet.

                ” . . . while also seeing clearly the coup conspiracy against him.”

                Mercy sakes! It’s so unfair! It’s as if a corrupt President can’t use our foreign policy for his own political ends and weaponize law enforcement to silence his critics without everyone getting all up in his business about it!

            • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/31/2019 - 07:35 pm.

              An example of a coup would be Trump refusing to relinquish the Presidency when he loses the 2020 election.

              • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 11/01/2019 - 09:59 am.

                Which to some degree is what the Clintonites/centrists have done since 2016, refusing to accept Ms Clinton’s loss, blaming anything but Ms Clinton, the DNC or Dem policy, working with the Intelligence Community and corporate media in the ways of regime change, to end if possible and otherwise undermine the Trump administration.

                I would not assume Trump will lose 2020. That is what the Left and Centrists did in 2016.

          • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/31/2019 - 10:20 am.

            “they and others took it upon themselves to perpetrate regime change against an elected President of the United States”

            And your reasons for this?

            1. Comey illegally leaked info

            2. McCabe lied to Congress

            You will need to advance on from just what the Trump campaign gives you as your talking points:

            1. Comey, after being fired and after being accused by Trump of “he better hope I don’t have tapes of our conversations” released his notes of the conversations that Trump suggested he may have tapes of. This was investigated an no charges brought. Hard for Comey to perpetrate regime change from the inside when he is outside and a private citizen.

            2. McCabe, in a questionable effort to cover his rear, authorized another FBI employee to leak a story about pre-election investigations. Trump was not President at the time of McCabe’s offense so it is hard to describe it as “regime change” when the regime had not even yet started. And again, no charges were brought.

            So they both committed potential offenses that were investigated and no charges brought. Both have essentially spotless records of public service prior to the times of Donald Trump. While you condemn them for those recent activities would you like to praise them for tens of thousands of hours after 911 trying to insure our safety?

            Or maybe you would like to move on and tell us the regime change crimes of Col. Vindman, Ambassador Voyanovitch and life State Department professionals like Hill and Taylor?

            The most significant offense against “The American Project” in the age of Trump is how these career professionals have been treated.

            Col. Vindman as Exhibit 1A: Everything that is good about the “American Project” is exemplified in his life story and let him get cross ways with your guy Trump and he is now a “Soviet Plant”.

            We all know who the “Plant” is…

            • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 10/31/2019 - 12:09 pm.

              Calling McCabes actions part of a coup is not entirely accurate, I admit, though I do see it as part of a general sentiment in government that Trump was/is not fit to lead the American Imperium/Washington Consensus, and actions were taken by many that were not about innocent government service but about preventing then undetmining a Trump presidency.

              Russiagate in the particulars looks like a coordinated conspiracy by many people in and out of government, to remove Donald Trump outside of normal democratic procedures, ie regime change/coup. And again, I am capable of seeing Trump as a monster, while also seeing monstrous behavior in his antagonists.

              • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/31/2019 - 05:13 pm.

                “Russiagate in the particulars looks like a coordinated conspiracy by many people”

                OK, again, let’s unpack this with actual facts:

                1. Comey is investigating a plausible scenario where Russia attempted to influence the 2016 Presidential election.

                2. Trump asked Comey to express his loyalty to him.

                3. Comey weasel worded around this, getting to: “honest loyalty”.

                4. That was not good enough. Kushner agreed that firing Comey was the best course of action, Bannon said it would be a disaster.

                5. Trump agreed with political savant Kushner and fired Comey.

                6. The Russia investigation leadership is thrown into turmoil.

                7. Since Sessions is recused Asst. Atty General Rosenstein must unravel this.

                8. He wants this mess off his plate and selects the best person, based on the facts at that time, Robt. Mueller to take responsibility.

                9.And with that, a lifelong Republican with an impeccable reputation goes to work.

                So; your “many people” would seem to be Trump and Kushner coordinating there mutual ability to make bad decisions.

                If you are going to throw “many people” anonymously under the bus, maybe name some names…

                • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 11/01/2019 - 10:10 am.

                  In point of fact, the Mueller Report has been dropped like a bag of rocks. None of the conclusions of Russiagate even appear in the impeachment proceedings, because it was always a cooked up narrative more than reality/fact.

                  Russiagate as regime change failed, so now the left is using Ukrainegate, except they don’t seem to get the Ukraine during the Obama Admin was covert regime change, and their tactics are mirrored in it. It is unbecoming and undemocratic, but the left can’t seem to be bothered with the principles of democracy, since Trump.

                  Which I will repeat again and again, this is not a defense of Trump.

                  • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/01/2019 - 11:00 am.

                    “None of the conclusions of Russiagate even appear in the impeachment proceedings, because” the impeachment proceedings have not concluded; in fact, they have just officially gotten underway.

                    “Which I will repeat again and again, this is not a defense of Trump.”

                    When you refer to Constitutionally authorized impeachment proceedings as “regime change” or a “coup,” I would say you are defending Trump.

              • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/31/2019 - 07:22 pm.

                At least in the eye of the beholder.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/31/2019 - 01:56 pm.

            To be a regime change, both Trump and Pence would have to be impeached and convicted (Making Pelosi President). Otherwise, you’re just replacing one regime member with another.

            • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 10/31/2019 - 02:39 pm.

              Yes. But Pence is a creature of Washington, a known quantity, perfectly OK with the American Imperium, perfectly in line with the Washington Consensus, so acceptable generally to the “Deep State”, and establishment Dems and Republicans. As long as his economics and foreign policy don’t upset the apple cart, his theology is just a sideshow.

              • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/01/2019 - 10:12 am.

                Help me out here:

                In criticizing Trump detractors you cited their damage to the “American Project”. Which I assume you meant to imply was something good and of value and something we should protect from damage.

                And now, you criticize the “American Imperium” which I assume has some equivalence to the “American Project” and your not too fond of that.

                Imperium Bad?

                Project Good?

                Can you point to a country or system of government in the world today that you admire and see as something we should emulate?

                • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 11/01/2019 - 11:21 am.

                  The “American Project” as cited by JH Kunstler, is losely this long ongoing experiment called a democratic republic. The “American Imperium” is the undemocratic power of Banks, Corporations, Billionaires, Corporate Media and war profiteers desiring as most powerful people always have, to rule the world. The former is an ideal, the latter more of a global hegemonic infrastructure. The goal of the former is a resilient society of empowered citizens, the latter is a system where governments and citizens are disempowered with a quasi-corporatist state ruling over all. The Imperium requires that you submit to this central banking, corporatist system or it is sanctions and regime change. A principal effect of the Imperium is epic income inequalty, the primacy of corporations, banks and billionaires, and rot within, epic corruption, rampant ill health, epidemics of drug addiction, homelessness and suicide, with collapsing compensation and benefits for the majority of people.

                  I think my description of the Imperium is a good deal more accurate than the usual “we are the exceptional, indispensable nation, the beacon for freedom and justice for all the world,” assorted propaganda floated by apologists for the Imperium.

                  Otherwise, I know of no other nation I would prefer to model America after. I would rather work on realizing the potential of a democratic republic, right here.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/30/2019 - 10:46 am.

      “I think what Trump asked was, will you assist us in OUR investigation into Crowdstrike, and the origins of the Russiagate, perpetual smoking gun non-scandal that preoccupied Dems the last three years.”

      No. We know for a fact because this has been confirmed by Trump himself, his chief of staff, the transcript, AND multiple testimonies that what Trump did was withhold $400 million in aid and threaten to keep it on hold unless the Ukrainians investigated Joe Biden’s son. If you think that request is about some kind of deep state conspiracy instead of Trump’s political campaign and interests, I’ve a beautiful bridge for sale… call me.

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 10/31/2019 - 08:48 am.

        The investigation led by the Attorney General is about Crowdstrike, which is a Ukranian led company, and the origins of Russiagate, that failed attempted coup that was also about regime change in Russia/risking war against Russia in the name of spiting Trump. Trump can’t really stop money appropriated by Congress, so Trump’s attempt to get Ukraine to assist in an ongoing investigation by mentioning the Biden’s is Trump being an idiot, but being an idiot is not an impeachable offense.

        The fact that Biden was point man in Ukraine in that undemocratic attempt at regime change, is entirely relevant to an investigation into Russiagate.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 10/30/2019 - 12:05 pm.

      You know WHD, the easy answer is turn over the Ukraine transcripts, and plaything that was in the Muller investigation. If you have nothing to hide and everything was perfect, why are you hiding so much? In standard legal practice they have discovery, and you are required to turn over documents etc. etc. Are you against being fair?

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 10/31/2019 - 08:57 am.

        The general practice in Washington, no matter the Administration, is to not turn over documents until you are compelled to by a court of law. Obama stonewalled Republicans because Republicans were out to get him about every little thing. It is the same with Trump, and his antagonists in the Dem party and the “deep state”.

        The thing about those antagonists of Trump, every little thing is billed as a smoking gun going to bring down the president, yet all those hundreds of smoking guns haven’t added up to a powder puff. Meanwhile the Dems continue to bill themselves as the not-Trump party, without any discernable policy foundation, which is a losing strategy going into 2020.

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/31/2019 - 11:03 am.

          “without any discernable policy foundation, which is a losing strategy going into 2020.”

          The policy foundation is 20 candidates seeking the nomination. The policy foundation is guided by the person who comes out on top.

          Telling Bernie he must run on Biden’s policy foundation or vice versa would be a little nutso.

          • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 10/31/2019 - 02:44 pm.

            Bernie, you might recall, was the subject of a not so subtle conspiracy to shut him out, by the DNC, Hillary campaign and corporate media. They hated him, and still do, more than they hate Trump.

            As for the rest of them, saving Tulsi Gabbard, they are basically Clintonite in their economics and foreign policy.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/31/2019 - 12:08 pm.

          I’m beginning to think you don’t know what the word “coup” means.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/31/2019 - 02:01 pm.

            Native American term (‘counting coup’).
            Refers to showing your courage by poking your enemy with a stock and risking your own life in the process. The meaning seems to have drifted a bit.

            • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 10/31/2019 - 02:49 pm.

              That is a cute way of distracting from my argument. Someone might call that a misuse of cultural appropriation.

              A coup in the modern sense is a conspiracy of a political faction to usurp a leader by any means necessary, outside the scope of free elections. See, so many in our government are so accustomed to the many styles of regime change in foreign countries, they simply transfered them here. For those of us well versed in the tactics of regime change, the signs are quite obvious.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/31/2019 - 04:41 pm.

                For those of us well – or even somewhat – versed in the US Constitution, the comparison is laughable, at best.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/31/2019 - 02:57 pm.

              I thought the reference was to a “coup d’etat,” an unlawful seizure of political power, usually by force. The operative word, of course, being “unlawful.”

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/01/2019 - 09:35 am.

          If it was perfect: Why wouldn’t the great deal maker want to prove the witch hunt with the perfect recording? There seems to be conspiracy explanation for everything else! To say because someone else did it is about a childish as it gets, we were taught that cheap excuse wouldn’t work back n the 50’s, and you are trying to use it 60-70 years later, that is the meat of the argument? As the lady would say “where’s the beef”!

  8. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/30/2019 - 10:40 am.

    Elsewhere we’re talking about unconstitutional law making, i.e. the practice of passing unconstitutional laws and enforcing them until they’re struck down by the courts.

    I’ll raise the same question here that I raise in that conversation: Given the fact that all of these elected officials take an oath of office that requires them to uphold and defend the constitution; why aren’t egregious violations of that oath in-and-of themselves impeachable offenses?

    Trump for instance has signed multiple executive directives that have been ruled unconstitutional. He has openly disregarded laws and attacked those who enforce the laws. He has repeatedly denounced the US Constitution, when for instance he claims that the emoluments clause is “phony” and congress has no right or responsibility to oversee the executive and he has no obligation to follow the law or recognize congressional authority.

    I’m not saying the House should forget about the Ukraine but why do we give elected officials a pass when they violate their oaths of office and betray their constituents in severely egregious ways?

  9. Submitted by cory johnson on 10/31/2019 - 08:47 am.

    This whole process does have the benefit of distracting from the extreme left-wing field of candidates the Dems are fielding this time around. Not sure what their plan is once Trump gets cleared in the Senate. They can only drag out this farce for so long in the House. At some point they will have to find a candidate swing state voters will actually want to support.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 10/31/2019 - 11:54 am.

      I sir, for one, decline to call the Constitution of the United States of America a “farce”.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/01/2019 - 09:29 am.

        To be fair, Trump supporters do not regard the entire Constitution as a farce. There’s the Second Amendment, and the Electoral College (allowing the installation of Our Beloved Leader despite his loss of the popular vote). Beyond that, it’s phony.

      • Submitted by cory johnson on 11/02/2019 - 08:40 am.

        The Constitution also gives the President power over the Executive Branch, which includes foreign policy. So far the Deep State testimony is nothing more than policy differences with Trump and that they think he is icky. He said on the call he wanted Ukraine’s interference in the 2016 election investigated. Hardly impeachment material to those not afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/31/2019 - 02:03 pm.

      A failure to convict in the Senate after impeachment is not ‘clearing’, particularly since conviction requires a super-majority. 60% of the Senate could vote to convict and he’d walk, but hardly proven innocent.

      • Submitted by cory johnson on 10/31/2019 - 03:19 pm.

        yep- still doesn’t answer Dems strategy after that. I love his chances against Bernie and fake Bernie (Warren). No chance the far left let’s Joe get the nomination.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 10/31/2019 - 05:34 pm.

      So CJ in your opinion, soliciting help from a foreign government against a political opponent, and using taxpayer money to do it, for personal political gain, is A-OK? And there should be no oversight? Kind of like being a Russian agent, all A-OK as long as my guy wins. As the wizard said, “so crooked he could hide in the shadow of a cork screw” all A-OK?

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/01/2019 - 09:40 am.

        Yes, with only a single restriction:

        It must be a Republican President.

        The amazing thing about all of this is, that if this allowed to stand, it is now OK for the next D President to do this too. Let’s say President Biden is facing Nikki Haley in 2024. It is now OK for Biden to go to the Indian government and say:

        “OK, I’ll give you that favorable trade deal; but, I need the dirt on Haley and her family ”

        As we know the President has discretion over billions of dollars of US aid, trade, defense between nations. Their opponent does not have that.

        Is giving the incumbent a billion dollar lever to insure re-election a path we really want to go down?

        Dennis, One more time:

        Is giving the incumbent a billion dollar lever to insure re-election a path we really want to go down?

        Trump ALLEGEDLY used 400 million dollars of US aid $$ to assist his campaign. Should we not at least investigate this as a possible cause for impeachment?

  10. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 11/01/2019 - 10:59 am.

    It turns out, the Whistleblower is a partisan former employee of Biden.

    https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2019/10/30/whistleblower_exposed_close_to_biden_brennan_dnc_oppo_researcher_120996.html

    “Federal documents reveal that the 33-year-old Ciaramella, a registered Democrat held over from the Obama White House, previously worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan, a vocal critic of Trump who helped initiate the Russia “collusion” investigation of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

    “Further, Ciaramella (pronounced char-a-MEL-ah) left his National Security Council posting in the White House’s West Wing in mid-2017 amid concerns about negative leaks to the media. He has since returned to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia”

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/01/2019 - 04:30 pm.

      OK, now we get it, this is the not a dyed in the wool Trumpie has to be partisan! But then when that is corroborated by what 10-12 Trumpie appointments, now the defense is they are all low life’s. So your point is what, we can never work with anyone other than what ever party you affiliate with? The new defense, its the “Baathist principle” imported from Sadam, if you aren’t pure you are automatically guilty, and you are whining about the congress not being fair to Trump, how quickly that moral ethic goes down the sewer when the opportunity presents itself. And of course your source “Right Center” is not biased. Could you please give us a break with all the conspiracy BS? The perfect example: Fearing their witness the democrats. WHD, it is not “their witness” it is our witness, we the people, Kind of like the guys in Syria, are they “your heroes” or “Trumps heroes” because he is the president? Or are they Americas heroes?

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/01/2019 - 04:47 pm.

        PS: “Real Clear Media manages a Facebook page called “Conservative Country” which “boasts nearly 800,000 followers for its mix of Donald Trump hagiography and ultra-conservative memes” Yep this source is really non-partisan, like water isn’t wet!

        • Submitted by cory johnson on 11/02/2019 - 08:41 am.

          It’s been reported by multiple sources outside of the Democrats’ stenographers at Wapo and NYT.

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/04/2019 - 11:15 am.

            Fair enough, its also been reported from many sources, including the Presidents own lips that he basically tried to do a Quid Pro Quo with the Ukraine President. So there you have it, you should be happy now, we have agreement.

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 11/02/2019 - 11:26 am.

        All throughout these pages on this topic, the whistleblower has been held up like some selfless, nonpartisan public servant, just doing the ethical, moral work of the CIA. That he was likely part of the covert regime change shenanigans in Ukraine, working directly with Biden and Brennan, is the opposite of that.

        Did you know the term conspiracy theory was cooked up by the CIA to paint anyone who criticized the CIA as crazy? Have you ever heard the term more than the last few weeks, used by our corporate media repeating whatever they are told by the “intelligence community”?

        Conspiring is what elite power people do to maintain their power. A theory is in fact a science based, fact based hypothesis tested repeatedly, found to be true. Pointing that out might be inconvenient in this hyper-partisan environment where this side is good and true and pure, but the other side is atrocious. But really, truly, I am not any good at believing the unbelievable.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/03/2019 - 08:11 am.

          As always, the conspiracy BS always omits a key fact. The acting director of national intelligence, (Trump Appointee) testified that the whistle blowers complaint had been investigated and was credible. Thus everything else from there on out is BS conspiracy theory crapola and smoke screen to confuse the facts, and protect a dictator want to be. Trumpie folks evidently hate that part of the constitution that gives the congress the right to investigate presidents that commit high crimes and misdemeanors, they want their dictator/King at any cost! .

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/01/2019 - 10:17 pm.

      And I am certain that you are relieved that the whistleblower process insures that a partisan, biased whistleblower complaint would not result in further action on it based on the opinion of the Inspector General of the National Intelligence Agency.

      And I am even more certain that you are relieved that given Col. Vindman’s testimony, we now have a named witness who actually did listen in on the call and substantiates the whistleblower’s complaint. And Vindman simultaneously reported his concerns to the NSC’s legal counsel. All of which renders the whistle blowers identity and complaint meaningless.

      You complain endlessly about the corrupt American system and when that system appears to actually be working in a correct and admirable manner with courageous citizens, risking their careers by pointing out a suspected wrong you complain about that too.

      Progress to the ideals of “The American Project” as you have described and endorsed come in small steps and this is one of them: Be happy…

      • Submitted by cory johnson on 11/02/2019 - 08:46 am.

        He whistleblower status is quite suspect as he conspired with Schiff before hiding behind the whistleblower process. He also has a long history of leaking to the press. Vindman’s testimony expressed policy disagreements. Others have testified that they had no problem with the conversation, except for how Democrats could twist it into something like they have done since Trump announced his candidacy. Even Fredo Cuomo is concerned Schiff can’t point to an actual crime.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/03/2019 - 08:21 am.

          The easy part is: if you don’t know who the whistle blower is how do you know they leaked? And even if they did, that doesn’t change the easier part, The acting director of national intelligence, (Trump Appointee) testified that the whistle blowers complaint had been investigated and was credible. Dah, reread (Trump appointee, verified), this has zero to do with a whistle blower. This is like saying folks that witness murders are biased against murders and their testimony is suspect, But then again it is hard to have rationale discussions with irrational people!.

      • Submitted by cory johnson on 11/02/2019 - 08:53 am.

        The hypocrisy of Vindman is quite stunning. I assume the interagency consensus regarding Ukraine aid was the same when Obama was President and we were only providing food and blankets rather than military aid. Why no attempt at impeachment then? I assume he wasequally concerned to hear of that administration’s threat to withhold aid?

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/03/2019 - 08:29 am.

          Conspiracy, how comes etc. etc. How come folks still support a President that is trying to make himself King/dictator, total immunity from all laws? Do those folks hate this countries constitution and democracy that much, they are willing to demonize and discredit our servicemen (20+ year patriots) while crediting a draft dodger? There appear to be no depths the Trumpies won’t go in order to overthrow our constitution and democracy in favor of establishing Emperor Trump.

          • Submitted by cory johnson on 11/03/2019 - 04:56 pm.

            Which law did he break? As I said, Schiff couldn’t cite a statute when asked by Cuomo. And screaming “Emperor Trump” every time someone asks for evidence is just silly.

            • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/03/2019 - 07:58 pm.

              Evidently you missed the part about The acting director of national intelligence, (Trump Appointee) testified that the whistle blowers complaint had been investigated and was credible. That is called high crimes and misdemeanors, they are now investigating, Perhaps some folks don’t/can’t/won’t understand the difference between an investigation and a judgement. There is a difference, the RW propaganda machine, suggests Emperor Trump is beyond reproach, what look like opinions in this column, appear to support that notion, As always, folks can feel free to be silly and prove that opinion wrong.

            • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/05/2019 - 04:36 pm.

              If just finding a law that he broke we just need to look at his tax returns and see how the $400,000 paid out to bribe strippers was treated.

              But, he will not show them to us, and claims to be above the law.

              Please tell us how you would have calmly reacted to this if Hillary had won.

              Just know that all the indefensible acts that you are eager to excuse now could one day flow the other way and you will have a 180 degree outlook from present I guarantee:

              Can you honestly tell me that if in 2023 President Warren see’s Nikki Haley rising in the polls and uses the State Department to offer a trade deal with billions of dollars that favor India in exchange for dirt on the Haley family you would not see a problem with that?

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/03/2019 - 12:17 pm.

          I am sure you are relived that as we move into public hearings we will all get to evaluate the credibility of these witnesses as they are questioned by fair and balanced Republican committee members. Isn’t the Constitution great?

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/04/2019 - 08:00 am.

          “The hypocrisy of Vindman is quite stunning”

          I guess being actually involved is a little more difficult:

          Kevin McCarthy, likely to his caucus:

          “OK Team, we have the public hearings coming up and we need to really step up our game. First, Col. Vindman, the 20 year military officer, war hero, purple heart winner, in full dress uniform with a chest full of medals.

          Who is going to call him out for the hypocrite he is?

          Anyone?

          Anyone?”

  11. Submitted by Joe Musich on 11/04/2019 - 07:29 pm.

    Holding the aid back for a political demand is akin to giving someone money under the table for a service or act. That has been verified. That is bribery. Bribery is a high crime and misdemeanor. I expect the term will getting more exercise shortly without capitulation by resignation.

  12. Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/05/2019 - 04:27 pm.

    Read the transcript.

    *mic drop*

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/05/2019 - 05:09 pm.

      Quoting a t-shirt is ever so persuasive, Mr. O’Keefe.

      Of course, there is no “:transcript” yet. The document in your taunt we’re supposed to “read” says it is not a transcript, and one of the participants in the conversation it allegedly records said there are parts left out.

      If we did read it, we would learn that the Goniff-in-Chief said that he needed “favor” as soon as Zelensky brought up military aid. The words “quid pro quo” may not have been used – do you think Trump really knew that phrase before his minions told him to repeat it? – but the implication is clear to anyone who doesn’t repeat everything they hear on Fox News.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/06/2019 - 08:45 am.

      Yes, Trump’s man read the transcript and immediately locked it down in a secure server reserved for national security secrets and told everyone involved:

      “Don’t discuss this with anyone”

      Are you folks really sincere in allowing this to stand without challenge, knowing it sets the standard for future Presidential behavior?

      Given the R Benghazi reaction, I can’t believe the Rs have undergone a transformation of biblical proportions in allowing questionable Executive branch actions. The only other explanation I can come up with is hypocrisy to a scale previously unknown…

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