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How would you feel if Trump had apologized for his behavior toward Ukraine?

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, President Donald Trump
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy listening during a bilateral meeting with President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on September 25.

David Brooks, the smart, decent, humble, moderately conservative New York Times columnist, speaking about the impeachment trial in the Senate on the weekly (Mark) “Shields and Brooks” segment of the “PBS NewsHour,” captured (for me at least) one of the things that drives me nuts about the current Oval Office incumbent — namely his insistence on his own perfection in the face of constant evidence of his imperfection.

President Donald Trump, in case you haven’t heard, held up military aid to a struggling U.S. ally, Ukraine, to pressure Ukraine into announcing a bogus investigation of Joe Biden. (Yeah, I know, you’ve heard about it.)

This extortion scheme was bad. Very bad. Perhaps worth impeaching and removing Trump. I would vote to convict Trump for this abuse of his office, and for the contempt of Congress he has shown by the additional coverup activities and assorted lies and his insistence that every Republican elected official toe the line — on pain of political execution and at the cost of their dignity, their honor and their soul — that Trump did absolutely nothing wrong and that the phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was “perfect.”

But here’s what Brooks said on PBS:

This is an interesting counterfactual. Suppose they (Senate Republicans) had a president who was a reasonable human being who could say: “I messed up. I apologize. I’ll make it up to Ukraine. But it’s not worth removing me over.”

That was sort of the Clinton approach during his impeachment process.

But Trump has laid down the law, that it’s going to be all or nothing, and that requires a massive denial of reality on the part of all Republicans.

I agree with Brooks. I have shocked some of my liberal friends by saying that if Trump had admitted that he had improperly pressured Zelenskiy, apologized and asked to be forgiven, I might be on the side of censuring Trump but not removing him from office.

Perhaps not, but I would at least see that as a reasonable alternative to the extreme option of removing a president less than a year before the electorate has the option of removing him.

If Trump had done that somewhat less of a dangerous megalo- and ego-maniac thing, acknowledged that he had made a mistake and apologized for it, the idea of leaving his fate up to the voters in 2020 would seem more reasonable.

Brooks didn’t specify this, but, to me, Trump’s refusal to acknowledge that he abused his power, coupled with his (almost completely successful) insistence that all Republicans repeat the ridiculous claim of “perfection,” is more frightening than the original act itself.

The phone call was not “perfect.” It was, in fact, an abuse of the leverage he held over a small, embattled, struggling new democracy and its very admirable young president.

I suppose most politicians lie a bit, or at least dissemble and posture and shave the truth around the edges. That’s not great; it’s a minor disgrace, but it’s normal and survivable for a democracy.

But lying more often than you tell the truth is not normal, and then insisting (successfully!) that every member of one of America’s two major political parties support your lie, repeat your lies, agree that your lies were truths and that your utterances were “perfect” is much, much worse, and much, much more dangerous.

Comments (100)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/27/2020 - 09:09 am.

    “President Donald Trump, in case you haven’t heard, held up military aid to a struggling U.S. ally, Ukraine, to pressure Ukraine into announcing a bogus investigation of Joe Biden.”

    There’s nothing in evidence that says that is true, so no, an apology would be meaningless. See this afternoon’s defense arguments.

    • Submitted by Mike Chrun on 01/27/2020 - 09:46 am.

      Yes, I have heard and it is actually a big deal. And there is all sorts of evidence that it was done even though your great leader has insulated himself with his usual mob boss tactics of intimidation and lying. Some of the evidence is in Trump’s own words so lack of evidence isn’t what is lacking. It’s the absolute lack of any honesty or moral conscience by Republican senators. There was “Profiles in Courage” written about politicians who had some; there could also be “Profiles in Cowardice” written about this episode.

      • Submitted by Bob Petersen on 01/27/2020 - 10:35 am.

        Yes – all sorts of evidence. Where the heck is it? Oh, yeah. There is none. Why do you think they want more digging. The witnesses the House presented all said they presumed or heard. Sondland even testified that Trump told him he wanted nothing and specifically ‘no quid, quo, pro.’

        Trump has his way and ruffles people. But even the Ukrainian President said he felt no pressure on anything and has said things were good. So where is the need to apologize? If anything, former VP Biden was the one who made previous quid pro quo demands to stop foreign investigations…and has bragged about it several times.

        • Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/27/2020 - 11:33 am.

          Yep, no evidence, except:

          1. The House testimony of three witnesses (Col. Vinman, Morrison and Williams, all NSC staff) to the “perfect” July 25th call, all of whom stated that their view was that Trump directly tied the aid to Ukraine opening political investigations. Also, 2 of the 3 immediately reported their concerns about the call to WH lawyers.

          2. The call log Trump himself released. (He has also wrongfully refused to release the actual transcript of the call, which was improperly placed onto a highly-classified server as a part of the ongoing WH cover-up).

          3. The complaint of the whiste-blower, which was judged by (Trump’s!) WH lawyers as having sufficient basis in fact to force them to submit it to the Congress, per federal statute.

          4. There are thousands of State, OMB, NSC and Pentagon documents that the House subpoenaed relating to Trump and Giuliani’s shakedown scheme and which Trump has (illegally) withheld–all documents which you (as an American) apparently think you and the rest of the American government have no right to see).

          5. The incontestable fact that the aid was withheld “on the order of the president”, with no reason given to the agencies responsible for disbursing the funds.

          6. And now there is the leaked manuscript of Bolton’s book which (by report) says that Trump told him he was withholding the aid in order to pressure Ukraine into opening the bogus investigations to aid Trump’s “re-election”. But again, this is a witness that you (as an American citizen) seem to have no interest hearing, for some unfathomable reason.

          But other than that, no evidence!

        • Submitted by Mike Chrun on 01/27/2020 - 12:48 pm.

          Seriously? “Where the heck is it?” Might start by looking at Sondland’s and Volker’s emails between themselves and with Yermak, a Zelinsky aide. Then look at all of the emails and statements that show Rudy’s role in orchestrating. Oh, and then there’s Parnas. Might be okay to call him a “scumbag,” but he’s a scumbag who kept pretty good records. Then you’ve got Taylor’s testimony that corroborates the narrative and those are just for starters.

          Sondland even testified that Trump wanted “no quid, pro, quo.” Oh, wow, you really nailed it there. What was presented in the hearings wasn’t evidence, but this was? That exchange was virtually hours after it was known there was a whistleblower. Again, the main genius of Trump is to run things like a mob boss through lies and intimidation. Then he’s got his state propaganda machine, Fox, sending out the message to the followers.

          • Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/27/2020 - 01:12 pm.

            And I forgot to mention all this State Dept/Rudy G evidence, which Mike has ably recounted.

            But other than that, no evidence, Bob!

        • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 01/27/2020 - 01:26 pm.

          I must have missed the part where Biden withheld aid in order to try and damage one of his political adversaries in the upcoming Presidential election . . . . . . . . . . .

          • Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/27/2020 - 01:43 pm.

            Or where Biden worked at cross purposes from the stated national policy of the State Department. Not to mention the policies coordinated with our European allies.

            It just shows how much we “miss” by not having Fox News on 24/7….

        • Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 01/29/2020 - 09:32 am.

          The old republican mantra “Head in Sand” rings true once again for trump’s enablers.

    • Submitted by Kevin Schumacher on 01/27/2020 - 12:22 pm.

      Hummm….apparentlt Mr. Bolton disagrees.

    • Submitted by James Miller on 01/27/2020 - 01:55 pm.

      No Dennis, you are wrong, there is ample evidence that this did occur. I appreciate your dissenting opinion, but it’s not based on facts. Please stop wasting our time with spew.

    • Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 01/27/2020 - 07:01 pm.

      All these comments claiming no evidence – despite loads of evidence – remind me of the Chico Marx comment:

      “Well, who ya gonna believe me or your own eyes?”

  2. Submitted by Brent Stahl on 01/27/2020 - 09:11 am.

    How would I feel if Trump apologized about anything, let alone his Ukraine escapade? Much as I would if our dog verbally apologized for leaving a deposit on the living room floor: I would sit in stunned wonderment. I am not counting on either zero-probability event happening.

    • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 01/27/2020 - 11:20 am.

      Thanks Brent. For some reason, Eric feels compelled with some regularity to write these profoundly silly “how would you feel about Trump if he weren’t Trump” pieces. Aside from the fact that we don’t hire a president for his(/her) capacity for remorse, we do so for his/her judgment in the most serious matters of steering the nation. An apology wouldn’t alter the fact that Trump can’t even understand the notion of national interest, let alone act in it.

      • Submitted by Linda Hildebrant on 01/28/2020 - 12:59 pm.

        Hate to jump on the bandwagon that sometimes Eric takes a “silly” hypothetical position… but have to profoundly agree with Charles on voting for a president based on her/his ability to exercise clear judgement and also to seek and listen to wise council when making decisions or taking action. Versus voting for a candidate on their ability to apologize after any rash (not to mention ILLEGAL and unethical decisions that completely flout their oath of office). Love you Eric, but this piece was a real stretch.

  3. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/27/2020 - 09:25 am.

    He is the ultimate “I did it my way” guy. Which may be fine for a mobbed-up singer with no real way of affecting the country or world, but becomes a threat to the constitution as a mobbed-up President who has never admitted to any mistakes.

    Popes have infallibility also–we all know how well that has turned out…

  4. Submitted by scott gibson on 01/27/2020 - 09:26 am.

    Donald Trump’s mantra is ‘never apologize.’ Even for the most minuscule of faux pas. That and his lack of anything resembling empathy are, for me, his biggest flaws. The idea that this is becoming a norm for political parties and for folks, in general, is one of the most troubling results of his presidency.

  5. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/27/2020 - 09:40 am.

    Well Eric, history suggests an apology from Trump when “pigs fly”.
    The last paragraph says it all. How dictatorships are born and weaned!
    And we see lots of folks out here continuing to support the weaning of the Trump dictatorship. And now we have his latest understudy Pompeo! You can’t get a dictator unless you have folks that support dictatorships, It continues to surprise me how many Americans hate truth, honesty, and integrity. When they quit enabling the behavior it will change, until then, their battle cry, down with democracy. Reminds me of those good Friday words. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” Seems quite apropos.

  6. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 01/27/2020 - 09:43 am.

    It’s an interesting argument, but not – at least at my house – especially persuasive.

    1. I’d have a hard time believing in the sincerity of the apology, since it would fly in the face of public Trumpian behavior over the past several decades. There’s no history of regret or remorse in his universe. He has boasted of being able to murder someone on 5th avenue and still get public support, not to mention grabbing women by their genitals and getting away with it because he’s a “star.” An apology would also be an admission of wrongdoing on Mr. Trump’s part, and in public, at least, that has never happened that I can recall.

    2. How, exactly, would the President “make up” to Ukraine the harm he’s done to their efforts to defend themselves against the Russians, or to Ukraine’s international credibility (not to mention our own)? If two dozen Ukrainians died as a result of the holdup in military aid, is that simply collateral damage – regrettable, but worthy of only a shrug of the shoulders and a downcast look? This is the same guy who characterized brain injuries among U.S. servicemen as a result of Iranian missiles striking near our Iraqi air base as “headaches.”

    3. In the end, given the current frayed state of politics, it might be a mitigating factor, but I’d argue it’s a minor one. Will the FBI and the Treasury Department drop the charges, or lower the charge to “making a public nuisance” if I apologize for robbing my neighborhood branch bank? I think not.

    • Submitted by Bob Petersen on 01/27/2020 - 10:42 am.

      Not sure on your point of #2 since the Obama administration only gave money…which was threatened to be held up by Biden – a fact we know to be true.
      Russia invaded the Ukraine and Obama did basically nothing except waddle. The Trump administration sent in military arms so they can defend themselves.
      Hard to point a specific amount of lives ‘saved’ from this, not to mention the Malaysian Air plane that was shot down by Russians/Ukrainian rebels when Obama was in charge and hundreds of innocent souls were murdered.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/27/2020 - 11:54 am.

        “Not sure on your point of #2 since the Obama administration only gave money…which was threatened to be held up by Biden – a fact we know to be true.”

        Not sure what, if anything, that has to do with Trump’s actions. Deflection seems to be his only defense right now.

      • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 01/27/2020 - 01:00 pm.

        Bob, the Republicans did not attempt to impeach Mr. Obama for his actions.

        We are not talking about a former administration. We are talking about the current administration.

        Mr. Trump is a known liar with more money that any other president. I believe, but may be wrong, that Mr. Trump is holding his cash over the Republican Members of Congress as both a carrot and as a threat to send it elsewhere to buy other people who will stand in if the currents Members of Congress on “his team” do not do as he desires. Again, I may be wrong.

        Several writers in commentary for MinnPost have done as you have done: relate back to Mr. Obama’s administration. If the Republicans wanted to impeach the previous president, they could have done this.

        Alas, it is now likely that we will be seeing a “dosie-doe” if ongoing impeachment attempts given the juvenile nature of many Democratic and Republican Members of Congress.

        This in-fighting is disastrous to our nation. Congress is supposed to provide checks and balances against the other two branches of government, not act as partisans or toadies of the other branches of government.

        I called the Republican National Committee two weeks ago to say that the Republican community has many very fine and credible people they can place as candidates, but they are supporting Mr. Trump as the only Republican candidate they will field in the November 2020 election.

        Mr. Trump is never likely to admit to his own errors in judgment. This said, I do find a few redeeming qualities to the president, but not enough to forgive him as a president for his many abuses of power.

        • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 01/27/2020 - 04:00 pm.

          Just out of interest, what’s one of the redeeming qualities? Seriously, I’m curious. As far as I can tell, he embodies each of the seven deadly sins as completely as anyone else who walks the earth, and otherwise is empty in heart, soul and head. There’s the old joke about the eulogy where the speaker was reduced to “he took a good haircut,” but clearly not even that can be said about Trump.

          • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 01/27/2020 - 09:04 pm.

            The redeeming quality is that he attempted to balance our economy’s imports with exports. I am a Democrat who has voted Democrat for forty years. However, I give credit where credit is due. This is not “going over to the other side” but sharing an awareness that not all of what Mr. Trump has done has been bad for our nation.

            That said, I believe he violated the Constitution of the United States of America with impeachable actions, and I am concerned by his many lies and his self-interested manner, which flies in the face of what we need as a president of this very diverse population. He has made himself a mockery of foreign leaders and brought down the reputation of the United States of America by flaunting his self-interest and highly racist tendencies.

  7. Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 01/27/2020 - 09:51 am.

    Puts one in mind of 1984’s Ministry of Truth . . . . . .

  8. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/27/2020 - 09:58 am.

    If Trump had done anything less dangerously megalo- and ego-maniacal, he wouldn’t be Trump.

  9. Submitted by Joe Smith on 01/27/2020 - 10:30 am.

    Apologize for what? Ukraine got their money and missiles. I’m not impressed with anything the House Dems have brought to light regarding this “hold” on aid to Ukraine. As a matter of fact, the Ukrainian Government has thanked Trump for sending lethal aid (missiles and weapons), something Obama would not do.

    • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 01/27/2020 - 01:05 pm.

      Joe,

      The money was withheld for several months. The money was needed to defend against Russian incursion and military assaults.

      People died as a result of not having enough money for their defenses.

      While the president did eventually free up the money, it was only after he was caught in his sin and crime of withholding hundreds of millions of dollars from the Ukrainians for their war effort.

      How would you feel if members of your family had been killed as a result of another nation’s withholding promised money?

      He let the money go, less about $14 Million,, only after he was caught.

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/27/2020 - 01:37 pm.

      It’s not too surprising that you aren’t “impressed” with the irrefutable evidence submitted, Joe, but Trump and (personal lawyer) Giuliani’s scheme was to force Zelensky to announce the two bogus investigations as a personal benefit to Trump, or else lose the aid entirely since the federal fiscal year was ending and hence the appropriation.

      And Trump’s coercive scheme basically came within a hairsbreadth of succeeding, as by September Zelensky had scheduled an interview with CNN wherein he planned to make the announcement of the bogus investigations, as demanded by Trump. He had to have the aid—and so much for Trump’s (disgustingly stupid) argument of “no pressure”!

      Either way, this was a great deal of unnecessary stress wrongfully (and illegally) placed upon an allied government, soldiery and people directly fighting an aggressive power unhappy with the status quo geographical borders. But I suspect you don’t really care too much about this, right?

    • Submitted by Leon Webster on 01/27/2020 - 03:21 pm.

      Ukraine got their money and missiles only after DJT became aware that there was a whistleblower complaint and folks in Congress were looking into the matter. In other words, after Trump’s hand was caught in the cookie jar.

      • Submitted by Joe Smith on 01/28/2020 - 06:14 am.

        As I stated, apologize for what?

        • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 01/28/2020 - 01:55 pm.

          Joe,

          You appear to be suppressing reality in your mind. Our president asked the president of a client government to investigate his political foe. This was wrong and violated both ethical boundaries and created an environment in which the Ukrainian government was led into a political circus on behalf of private citizen Donald Trump, who sought to run for president during the 2020 election cycle.

          In the Donald Trump’s effort to cover his tracks, he obstructed Congress in their attempt to call witnesses and seek data which may or may not have led to his being found not guilty of the charges against him. That he placed a call into a top secret category that was typically used for covert operations, he led many to believe that he was attempting to cover for his unwarranted and illegal actions.

          Sir, you are either so set in your mind that this individual is a saint, or you are not thinking straight. I cannot claim to know what is on your mind, but this is my response to your last statement, above.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/27/2020 - 09:00 pm.

      Maybe apologize for breaking the law. Can you even imagine the venom to be unleashed by Meadows and Jordan if this was a D President doing the exact same thing?

      Decision
      Matter of: Office of Management and Budget—Withholding of Ukraine Security Assistance
      File: B-331564
      Date: January 16, 2020
      DIGEST
      In the summer of 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) withheld from obligation funds appropriated to the Department of Defense (DOD) for security assistance to Ukraine. In order to withhold the funds, OMB issued a series of nine apportionment schedules with footnotes that made all unobligated balances unavailable for obligation. Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law. OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA). The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA.”

      • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 01/28/2020 - 04:00 pm.

        It further should be pointed out that the GAO finding concerns a scenario in which Trump, without authority, obstructs a congressional disbursement to pursue a public end. In the case at hand, Trump held up the public funds to force Ukraine to contribute to a fabricated narrative of Biden family wrongdoing – a benefit purely personal to Trump. So in addition to violating the Impoundment Control Act and committing extortion, it seems clear that Trump also violated 18 USC 641. This statute prohibits knowingly appropriating federal funds to one’s own use (a form of the common law crime of conversion). Its violation is a felony punishable by ten years in prison. Strangely, Mr. Dershowitz didn’t cover this in his PowerPoint.

  10. Submitted by Vonnie Phillips on 01/27/2020 - 11:47 am.

    The question to ask, if President Obama has done the same thing, and after it was disclosed, Obama went to great lengths to cover it up, would an apology be good enough from President Obama? We all know the answer, an apology would not have been good enough. 95% of white folk in the country would want him removed, irrespective of political party. No culture on the face of this earth has a monopoly on hypocrisy as does the Anglo culture, particularly in US.

    • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 01/27/2020 - 03:33 pm.

      Vonnie,

      I question your assertion that “95% of whit folk” would do anything.

      I don’t know if you have racist tendencies and would have acted with regard to race — not illegal action. However, I believe most people in the United States act on principle before race.

      What this says about people who tend to idolize a billionaire president, I cannot say. Most people don’t follow the nitty-gritty of politics to know anything about Mr. Trump other than he wore nice suits on television during his reality show, and got rid of people he didn’t like by thrusting his arm forward and stating, “You’re fired” in an authoritative manner.

      None of which is telling of whether a person will make a fine leader of a nation, or not.

  11. Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/27/2020 - 11:48 am.

    Well, I think you can see from the reactions here how America’s conservatives would have reacted to such an apology! And of course it is the supreme counterfactual, along the lines of what if Napoleon had had machine guns at Waterloo, ha-ha.

    For my part an apology here would have been rather meaningless, since Trump has engaged in so much impeachable behavior prior to the incident for which he was impeached.

    The brave Bavarian journalists who covered the rise of Herr Hitler before 1933 called him a “political criminal”–meaning a criminal who was operating in the political world. This is what Trump is as well, and that fact wouldn’t change even if he “apologized” up and down for his Ukraine Shakedown scheme. He is a serial lawbreaker and pathological liar and should be impeached on a dozen counts, including his simple inability to do anything other than lie. And this doesn’t take into account his severe personality disorder(s).

    But of course you are correct as a political matter that an apology would have made the lives of his complicit Repub defenders, especially that of the Gravedigger of Democracy McConnell, much, much easier. Indeed, it probably would have been enough to head off the impeachment entirely, given that Pelosi had rejected impeachment on ANY of the other dozen grounds that we are aware of (such as collusion with Russia in 2016 and obstruction of Mueller’s investigation of it).

    But the political lives of Congressional Repubs are the last thing this megalomaniac cares about.

  12. Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/27/2020 - 12:03 pm.

    You lost me at calling David Brooks smart, decent and humble. His piece – like every single thing he has ever written – was utter nonsense.

    I used to think you were better than this, Eric. Ugh.

  13. Submitted by William Duncan on 01/27/2020 - 12:06 pm.

    Well, I for one am rather grateful for what Mr Trump did, insofar as Joe Biden is running for President, and somehow I think our corporate media would not have otherwise allowed a discussion about his son taking an $83,000 per month do-nothing job he was in no way qualified for, in a foreign country where his father was America’s point-man for rooting out corruption.

    I was hoping too, this focus on Ukraine might shed light on how the CIA and State Dept helped orchestrate a coup in 2014, which started the civil war that forced Russia’s hand. But that continues to be a thing neither side in Washington nor our corporate media will allow a conversation about, Ukraine merely a proxy for antagonizing Russia.

    Be careful what you wish for…the removal of Trump would be the most destabilizing thing for America since forever. That would also loose the war profiteering complex to unleash full regime change on Russia. Have fun with that.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/27/2020 - 12:44 pm.

      “Which forced Russia’s hand”

      Thanks, Vladimir.

      • Submitted by William Duncan on 01/28/2020 - 08:22 am.

        The CIA and State Dept helped orchestrate a regime change coup, in part with the help of Sovboda, the Ukraine Neonazi party, in 2014. John McCain was particularly friendly with them, visiting with their leader. Google it. After the new US sanctioned gov took over, such elements in the gov started putting bills forth such as outlawing the Russian language, talking about those Russian dogs, scum etc, you know, the standard Nazi dehumanization, and then militia groups started killing ethnic Russians in the Donbass. Crimea, mostly ethnic Russian, split. Ethnic Russians in the Donbass fought back. Russia stepped in. Now it is a quagmire used as propaganda in America to make Russia look monstrous.

        Calling me Vladimir does not change history.

        • Submitted by William Duncan on 01/28/2020 - 08:40 am.

          BTW, Putin is obviously an autocrat. But the leadership of America left and right are oligarchs and plutocrats. To me, they are all killers. They don’t get to propagandize me with moral grandstanding about anything.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/27/2020 - 01:39 pm.

      Tell me again what does a debunked investigation of Hunter Biden have to do with Trump withholding Congressional authorized aid to the Ukraine? Suppose Lincoln should be held responsible for the riots of the 60’s because of the emancipation proclamation?

      • Submitted by William Duncan on 01/28/2020 - 08:26 am.

        Dems don’t get to be like, lookit, lookit, lookit that corruption over there, while casting shade for Joe Biden’s family grifting with his assent, while he is held up as our next great leader.

        • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 01/28/2020 - 06:50 pm.

          William,

          I simply don’t understand your repeated use of the word “lookit.”

          What are you trying to convey?

          • Submitted by William Duncan on 01/29/2020 - 10:50 am.

            I appreciate you asking Barry.

            The last 40 years has seen the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of the world, from the many working people to a very few elite. Both parties are complicit in that. Donald Trump is like a perfectly predictable result of such policies. Many Democrats want to point at him like he is some kind of abberation, building a narrative that makes them feel morally upright, getting the progress of Justice back on track, while remaining in denial the Dem leadership embrace of the eilte at the expense of working people is much the reason Trump is President.

            The proper response in 2020 would be for Dems to look back in hindsight to see how the economics of neoliberaism have been so very bad for America, and rebuild the party around solutions. Instead, lookit lookit lookit is a reference to how children act when the want to deflect responsibility.

            • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 01/29/2020 - 01:45 pm.

              Thanks for your response, William. I appreciate the time you took to explain your comment. I wasn’t aware of what “lookit” meant.

              With best wishes.

  14. Submitted by Misty Martin on 01/27/2020 - 12:36 pm.

    Eric:

    Yes, I totally agree, especially with your very last paragraph – it is dangerous to the point that that is what dictators do – they have their own version of the “truth” and anyone who insists otherwise is a traitor. I appreciate honesty and humility in a leader – President Trump has neither of these characteristics. The Bible specifically says that “God resists the proud, but giveth Grace to the humble”. Why most of the evangelicals support a man like Trump astounds me and horrifies me at the same time. Our country is so divided right now – we need someone like Abraham Lincoln to help heal and bind our wounds – not some television reality has-been.

  15. Submitted by mary mcleod on 01/27/2020 - 01:06 pm.

    A man who has lied 15,000 times in three years cannot be believed — even if he’s uttering an apology.

    Since Trump “believes” that the call was “perfect,” he has no concept of the truth, or thinks the laws he violated do not apply to him, or both.

  16. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/27/2020 - 01:51 pm.

    Reality has left the building:

    “Ken Starr, the former independent counsel whose investigation into President Bill Clinton resulted in his impeachment, bemoaned what he said was an “age of impeachment.”

    Impeachment, he said, requires both an actual crime and a “genuine national consensus” that the president must go. Neither exists here, Starr said.”

    Yes, unbelievably, Ken Starr the leader of the Clinton impeachment now says:

    Impeachment requires “genuine national consensus”

    Most normal human beings would stop in mid sentence and be paralyzed by the thought:

    “How can I possibly say this, I am a hypocrite for the millennia…”

    • Submitted by William Duncan on 01/28/2020 - 09:32 am.

      Yes. And Dems have taken impeachment to a whole new level of destabilization and absurdity. As example, holding up John Bolton, who never met a possible war he would not incite, as some exemplar of truth and moral uprightness is every bit as bad as that truly epic hypocrite (about sexual assault too), Kenneth Starr, held up as good and true by the right.

      • Submitted by Robert Lilly on 01/28/2020 - 10:48 am.

        Don’t know why you are projecting that anyone on the left is holding Bolton up as an exemplar of truth. He does have way more credibility than the president does and I do believe he would tell the truth under oath.

        • Submitted by William Duncan on 01/28/2020 - 12:40 pm.

          We could start with Bolton’s high praise for that militaristic authoritarian laying waste to the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, Bolsonaro.

          From there, a casual stroll through the history of Bolton, ever willing to lie in the name of war and for the empire, in the name of furthering his career.

          For an exemplar of truth like Noam Chomsky, Bolton has zero credibility. An honest society would not allow him anywhere near government. That Trump hired him was a sign Trump was not being honest about pulling back on the war complex. That Trump was not warmonger enough for Bolton, the so-called left should consider everything from Bolton’s mouth or pen to be suspect. Particularly after Trump sacked him so uncerimoniously.

          • Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/30/2020 - 05:53 pm.

            Thanks for the advice. The question is, after being a nearly perfect conservative for over 30 years, how should the American right think about Bolton’s story?

  17. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/27/2020 - 02:21 pm.

    Since removal seems a distant possibility, I can agree with Eric that something like a formal censure requiring a full apology, essentially negotiated within the Senate would be endlessly fascinating.

    Is Trump capable of actually spitting out the words:

    “In reflection, I now understand my actions in Ukraine, while not rising to the level of removal from office, were entirely wrong and I apologize for presenting a false narrative on my reasons for withholding aid and putting forth a scurrilous rumor on Ukraine’s involvement in the 2016 election.

    And I extend my most sincere apology to Ambassador Yovanovitch, Ambassador Taylor, and the many employees in our foreign service who work diligently and impartially to protect our countries interests and also to former Vice President Biden and his family for my actions in this matter.

    I resolve to conduct our 2020 campaign in a manner that reflects only the highest standards and expectations.”

    And at this point his head explodes…

  18. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 01/27/2020 - 03:11 pm.

    An apology from Trump would be profoundly meaningless. For it to have meaning Trump would need credibility, of which he has none. The world Trump has created for himself is starting to collapse around him and there is only one person to blame, himself. Time after time we see Trump make a statement and within hours contradict what he initially said. Trump has no core that he operates from.

    I posted the trump Stew Recipe about three years ago and time has proven it correct.

    TRUMP STEW
    Endless amounts of CROW – Trump will be eating plenty of this.

    Major amounts of SELF-LOVE – Trump has no shortage of this.

    Major amounts of INSECURITY – That explains Trump’s bravado.

    Liberal dose of ARROGANCE – The language of Trump.

    Bucket of INCOMPETENCE – Trump is incapable of working with others. Dictators have that problem.

    Massive amounts of BRAGGIDICIO – Trump uncontrollably flaunts he’s better than your world.

    Copious amounts of TRUTH – You can forget this ingredient because it won’t be happening.

    Endless DISCORD AND VIOLENCE – Trump’s inciteful language will add this to the stew.

    Massive dose of GALL – It is what Trump is made of.

    Carload of INSENSITIVITY and DISRESPECT – There is only one person Trump is concerned with – himself.

    Old SWAMP WATER – Replace with new Trump Swamp Water.

    Endless SALTY LIQUID – From Trump’s Tears – Trump is always the victim.

    Rapidly add IMPEACHMENT – Even Republicans will tire of Trump Stew.

    Throw out OBAMACARE – It is now TRUMPCARE, which will look like Obamacare when done cooking.

    Add VINDICTIVNESS – Sprinkle throughout the recipe.

  19. Submitted by Bob Barnes on 01/27/2020 - 04:10 pm.

    He has nothing to apologize for. He asked for an investigation into election interference and corruption. Most forget to mention he talked about Crowdstrike specifically. He never once said he wanted a potential opponent investigated. Also remember that NEITHER article of impeachment has anything to do with the call. Obstruction of Congress isn’t a thing. Congress doesn’t have sole authority over the Executive. And abuse of power is too vague. Every President in US history could be impeached on those terms.

    • Submitted by Brian Nelson on 01/27/2020 - 04:44 pm.

      “He never once said he wanted a potential opponent investigated.”

      If we look at page 4 of the transcript:

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

      I find it curious that you also make no effort to address the report on John Bolton.

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 01/27/2020 - 05:09 pm.

      “He never once said he wanted a potential opponent investigated.” If that is true why are the Biden’s wanted as witnesses?

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/27/2020 - 08:54 pm.

      “The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me”

      Clearly you watched the House managers presentation on FOX news, as they did not cover it so as not to preempt Sean Hannity.

      Not to worry though, they are going nearly gavel to gavel on the Trump team defense on FOX.

      “We distort, you decide”….

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/28/2020 - 08:14 am.

      “Most forget to mention he talked about Crowdstrike specifically.”

      After the drone strike on Qasem Soleimani Trump, in his post killing brag fest, crowed about:

      “We have the best military and the best intelligence anywhere in the world. ”

      As Fiona Hill, who served as senior director for European and Russian Affairs on the National Security Council, and a direct recipient of “best intelligence anywhere in the world. ” told us:

      “Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country – and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”

      But that just does not jive with Trumpian needs for “alternative facts” and Trump nation just blithely bumps along perpetrating the same falsehood because it fits so nicely with the world view you need to be happy.

      And one more direct quote, just to keep things factual. Daniel Patrick Moynihan:

      “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

      Now has an addendum with the Kelly Ann Corollary:

      “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion and their own alternative facts.”

      OK, one more, I just can’t resist. Joseph Welch in the Army / McCarthy hearing:

      “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

      • Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/28/2020 - 09:23 am.

        Not to mention that Schiff’s presentation to the senate substantially dealt with Trump’s reference to “Crowdstrike”, explaining that this was Trump dispensing disinformation cooked up by Putin’s intelligence services, while disbelieving American intelligence agencies, which had concluded that the Crowdstrike story was abject nonsense.

        Another case of (Russian asset) Trump believing Rudy over the Director of National Intelligence.

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/28/2020 - 02:02 pm.

      Bob, the participants have spent some considerable effort in rebutting you claims, yet so far there’s no reply from you.

      You spoke of hearing “crickets” above–surely you don’t want the same to be said of you when we have taken such care to address your concerns about the evidence? Btw, it’s perfectly fine to indicate that we have convinced you….

  20. Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 01/27/2020 - 05:03 pm.

    Wew lads.

    Anyone who listened to today’s performance in the Senate chamber came away believing Schumer, Schiff, Nadler AND Joe Biden are the ones who should be apologizing to us.

    I’m in a pretty forgiving mood; ready to listen to some tear-filled contrition, although I think Joe aught to be subject to some restitution, too.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/28/2020 - 10:21 am.

      So, the presentations of the Trump Team and the House Managers have vastly different views on the facts.

      Hmmm….

      How do we reconcile these two complete differing stories?

      Wait! I got it!

      Actual witnesses and documents.

      Thank you for your agreement on the key elements of a “fair trial”.

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 01/28/2020 - 11:19 am.

        Where was your call for a fair trial when the House had this case? Sounds like crickets to me

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/28/2020 - 11:52 am.

          The crickets came from the White House.

          Everything that Sondland, Hill, Vindmann, Yovanovitch said could have been proved wrong by the actual first persons involved.

          All were forbidden to participate by Trump. If they had conclusive, first person testimony and evidence that proved Trump’s innocence we would not be here today.

          Trump did offer up one witness though, legal scholar Jon Turley who did not exactly help Trump out:

          “But the Republicans’ legal expert brought a surprise, if one that received too little attention. Jonathan Turley submitted an extensive written statement, in which he disagreed with his fellow witnesses in myriad respects. But as he delivered his opening oral remarks, he cut to the heart of the matter: “The use of military aid for a quid pro quo to investigate one’s political opponent, if proven, can be an impeachable offense.””

          You know and I know and virtually the entire country knows, first person testimony will not help Trump and will only make it more apparent that a vote to acquit is simply home cooking with no basis in the truth.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 01/28/2020 - 10:48 am.

      The entire Ukraine deal was about corrupt people in Ukraine buying access to high level US officials. That’s why Hunter Biden got the job and why one of Romney’s aides basically replaced him after Mitt won his Senate seat.

      Billions have gone missing and appear to have been laundered thru other nations. Much of that money ended up in the hands of the kids of politicians or friends of politicians (Kerry’s kid, Hunter Biden, Pelosi’s relative, Romney’s aide etc etc). Corruption at its finest and Trump wanted it investigated like Ukraine was doing before Joe got his quid pro quo.

  21. Submitted by John Evans on 01/27/2020 - 06:06 pm.

    I think the obstruction of the House investigation is the more important charge. If you can withhold all documents and block all executive branch officials from testifying, you can cover up almost any malfeasance. So you probably will.

    As absolute power corrupts absolutely, immunity from investigation creates a slippery slope to worse behavior. Not that Trump would have any desire to resist that impulse.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 01/28/2020 - 10:50 am.

      Every President in US history has withheld stuff form Congress because they have Exec Privilege. If Congress doesn’t like it, they must go to the Courts for relief. Scotus has ruled many times that Executive Privilege is a legitimate power. Congress doesn’t have control over the Executive Branch like you want to think they do.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/28/2020 - 12:02 pm.

        Then, perhaps, you can further explain why Trump has never once invoked “Executive Privilege” as the reason to not assist in any of these matters.

  22. Submitted by Joe Musich on 01/27/2020 - 07:24 pm.

    Technically there is a lot to impeach him for in terms of the historical application of the term. He could have been impeached long before the Ukraine debacle if Barr had not sort of tipped the scales and Muller not been as timid as he was regarding both gaining testimony from him and then presenting charges. This has now become a case of handing more power to him then was intended. He wants to the King. I guess that is okay if he is on your side. But if this comes to be and holds think of all the power a radical liberal could yield. Then all guns in reality could be taken away, etc. it has not happened because there has not been the support for a King Executive. Be careful what you wish for because the door will swing the other way.

  23. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/28/2020 - 05:59 am.

    Our president murdered a guy, and nobody seems to have noticed. In the matter of Ukraine, had Trump admitted an error, even in a convoluted “I am sorry if I offended anyone”, and perhaps took steps to remedy the deeper problem which is that our elections have been opened to foreign interference, I might have wanted to let him off the hook.

    A Washington Post columnist said Democrats were hoping Bolton would provide incriminating testimony. I wondered, as an extremely partisan Democrat, whether I am alone in hoping that Donald Trump, with his many and grievous faults, is not a crook. I certainly remain open to hearing any evidence of his innocence, or evidence that would at least moderate the perception of his guilt.

    Our presidents aren’t chosen by voters, they are chosen by the electoral college. For whatever reason the quasi anonymous individuals to whom we entrusted this huge responsibility chose someone who was unfit for office both morally, and in terms of competence. I respect that choice, I really do. And I fully understand and to some degree accept the argument that we shouldn’t impeach Trump for incompetence because the electors of the electoral college knew and accepted his incompetence when they chose him.

    • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 01/28/2020 - 06:54 pm.

      Hiram,

      Like you, I have long voted for Democrats.

      However, I am concerned about your statement that the president “murdered a guy.”

      Please concisely source your information with a citation or retract this statement. A person who has been found guilty of a felony may not be president of our nation.

      • Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/31/2020 - 01:22 pm.

        “Please concisely source your information with a citation or retract this statement. A person who has been found guilty of a felony may not be president of our nation.”

        On January 3,, 2020, Donald John Trump, allegedly, intentionally and with malice aforethought ordered an attack on Qassem Soleimani, which resulted in his death and the death of nine other individuals who were part of his party. This provides a reasonable basis for a charge of murder. This incident was widely reported, and the bare facts I have alleged are not disputed.

        Justice Department policy provides that a sitting president is not to be indicted. But to the best of my knowledge, such a policy does not exempt a president from the obligation he shares with all other individuals to follow the law.

  24. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/28/2020 - 11:09 am.

    I like the Alan Dershowitz “This is Spinal Tap”.argument. Alan argues, basically, that in terms of an impeachable offense the president has only gotten up to maybe 6 or 7, and that he shouldn’t be removed from office until he reaches 11 at least.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/28/2020 - 12:14 pm.

      And of course, Lawrence Tribe, the real constitutional law expert at Harvard says Dershowitz is just flat out wrong…

      • Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/28/2020 - 01:34 pm.

        Dershowitz seems to be arguing that the president has unlimited discretion to abuse his power. I don’t think that’s true, and furthermore, I don’t see how anyone would want that to be true. If by some misadventure, that does become accepted law, I think a constitutional amendment should be introduced to change it. I certainly hope Trump’s inevitable acquittal isn’t seen or interpreted as a precedent establishing the president’s absolute right to abuse his power.

        • Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/28/2020 - 02:38 pm.

          Well, since Trump’s lawyers are today arguing that constitutional doctrines advocated by Andrew Johnson’s lawyers in his impeachment trial in 1868 have somehow become settled law, that’s precisely the tack the Repub party and its (always) criminal presidents will take in future…

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/28/2020 - 02:47 pm.

      Dershowitz has also proclaimed that he now believes an actual criminal violation is required for impeachment. This contradicts what he said 20 years ago during the Clinton impeachment, but he said that his later research has led him to change his mind and go against the consensus of constitutional scholarship.

      I’m starting to think he’s more interested in appearing on Fox News than he is in going to the cool parties on Martha’s Vineyard.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/29/2020 - 09:32 am.

        Dershowitz is doing his all to replicate for Trump what he did for OJ and Jeffery Epstein:

        Throw enough sand into the eyes of the umpire to cause the call to be missed.

        “Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor who supports Trump’s impeachment, said Dershowitz is an “aggressive, persistent, fairly knowledgeable, quite imaginative and generally creative” lawyer who will bring “an unrealistic and unwarranted degree of self-certitude” to the trial.

        “He tends to be self-righteous in a way that convinces him, but not those whom he needs to persuade, that everyone but him is a hypocrite,” Tribe said.”

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/31/2020 - 09:44 am.

          I have no problem with anyone accused of a crime, however loathsome they may be, having legal counsel. If they choose to have a self-aggrandizing academic whose real-world experience has been limited to a few high-profile cases on their legal team, more power to them.

          An argument like this one, however, shows that Dershowitz is more interested in keeping the spotlight on himself than in doing the work he was ostensibly supposed to be doing. Yes, the similarities with his client are remarkable. Water really does find its own level.

  25. Submitted by lisa miller on 01/29/2020 - 06:41 pm.

    Probably the same way about an ex husband apologizing after way too many serious lapses that violate the vows–that’s nice. Thank- you and I appreciate you wanting to be a better person. I still want you out.

  26. Submitted by ian wade on 01/30/2020 - 03:57 am.

    I’d feel great about it if it were followed by a perp walk into a federal prison.

  27. Submitted by Joe Smith on 01/30/2020 - 08:47 am.

    Schiff is in so far over his head, it is funny. The 2 articles of impeachment sent to the Senate are obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. House lawyers claims Trump obstructed Congress by going to the 3rd branch of our Government to rule on a dispute between Executive branch and Legislative branch…… OK. On the 2nd article, abuse of power, it means absolutely nothing because it is not backed up by any crime. Schiff is like a prosecutor who charged a guy with a parking violation but is trying to claim he’s a murderer. It is so bad Democrats are ready to vote with Republicans to shut the Schiff Show down!

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/30/2020 - 10:27 am.

      Not an unexpected comment, according to the right wing, we need to remove impeachment from the constitution, because according to their arguments there really is no such thing as an impeachable offense, rig an election no problem, bribe a foreign, country, no problem, it is all in the interest of the country to have corrupt presidents! Thank you for supporting the conversion of the American democracy to a dictatorship.

      • Submitted by Joe Smith on 01/30/2020 - 12:23 pm.

        Investigation of corruption is must (which USA does not do enough of) when giving out our tax dollars. The simple fact that Ukraine is a corrupt state justified any investigation. Remember it was “do me a favor” it was “do us a favor “. No matter how many times Schiff said “me” or did a dramatic reading (telling a tall tale), Ukraine needed to be investigated.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/30/2020 - 01:56 pm.

          Again, nice try: Keep twisting and turning the facts, you ought to be on Trump’s defense team. There are perfectly legal channels to launch those investigations, and why didn’t Barr, FBI, NSC congress, etc., etc.? As above, you appear all in for creating dictators and flushing democracy down the toilet. So Ukraine is corrupt, and lets make the USA corrupt as well, sorry Joe, the great Conman has you wrapped around his finger.
          What you can’t overcome, is if everthign is so perfect, why has Trump blocked 100%! What is the old saying “The truth will set you free” He has a long history of corruption, that reputation precedes him and he practices it today.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/30/2020 - 04:04 pm.

          PS:
          And just in Justice Dept. lawyer (one of Trump/AG.Barr’s guys) in Federal court no less: “House can impeach Trump over defied subpoenas” How far down this rabbit hole you plan on going Joe?

        • Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/30/2020 - 05:57 pm.

          Yes, indeed, that’s why there were anti-corruption conditions placed on the aid by Congress, all of which the (Trump) Pentagon had certified that Ukraine had satisfied, and thus the aid was ready for release.

          But don’t let actual facts hold you back, Joe!

      • Submitted by Joe Smith on 01/30/2020 - 06:25 pm.

        Investigation of corruption is a must (which USA does not do enough of) when giving out our tax dollars. The simple fact that Ukraine is a corrupt state justified any investigation. Remember it was not “do me a favor” it was “do us a favor “. No matter how many times Schiff said “me” or did a dramatic reading (telling a tall tale), Ukraine aid needed to be investigated.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/31/2020 - 10:32 am.

          As before, nice try. If Ukraine is corrupt, why would you ask a corrupt governemnt to investigate itself? Like asking corrupt Trump to investigate his own corruptness? Your logic makes “0” sense.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/31/2020 - 02:49 pm.

          “Investigation of corruption is a must (which USA does not do enough of) when giving out our tax dollars.”

          Does that include when giving out tax dollars to US citizens? Should we start investigating violations of the Emolument Clause? How about the industry lobbyists being hired for policy making jobs? Or the business being done by Trump’s children?

          Where, oh, where do we begin?

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/30/2020 - 11:07 am.

      For reference: Federalist papers # 65:

      “The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself”

      “Evidently cheating and bribery in an election is not injurious to society?”

  28. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 01/31/2020 - 11:03 am.

    This is the man who tells right-wing evangelical Christians that he’s one of them and yet claims that he has nothing to repent for.

    I’d be as surprised to hear him apologize as I would be to hear him speak impromptu without drifting into word salad.

  29. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 02/01/2020 - 06:02 am.

    It is interesting that Brooks has to resort to something called a “counterfactual” a simple word I don’t believe I have heard before. I think it’s because the slow acceptance of Trump that has now become widespread in our country has numbed us to impact of ordinary words. We now accept evil, and now that evil is off the table we must find a different way of understanding not just Trump but the nation that tolerates him.

  30. Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/27/2020 - 05:12 pm.

    Doh! “someone” should be “somehow”.

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