Democrats Shift Focus To Bribery As Impeachment Inquiry Moves Forward

As the impeachment proceedings move forward, Democrats are shifting their focus to a specific, and powerful, charge.

Taking a page from several left-leaning pundits and legal scholars who have tried to shift the legal focus of the ongoing impeachment investigation, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders are starting to bring up a charge directly out of the Constitution:

Democrats sharpened their case for impeachment Thursday, escalating their rhetoric against President Trump as additional evidence emerged potentially implicating him directly in the abuse-of-power controversy surrounding U.S. relations with Ukraine.

Using her most aggressive language yet, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused Trump of committing “bribery” by seeking to use U.S. military aid as leverage to pressure the Ukrainian government to conduct investigations that could politically benefit the president.

Pelosi’s move to cite a specific constitutional offense and move away from using the lawyerly Latin term “quid pro quo” to describe the president’s actions came as a second official from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv was revealed to have overheard Trump discussing political “investigations” in a July 26 phone call with Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union who served as a key liaison between the White House and Ukraine’s fledgling government.

That phone call, which Trump has said he doesn’t recall, is expected to play a pivotal role in upcoming impeachment proceedings, as Democrats seek to directly tie Trump to what they charge was a bribery scheme worthy of removal from office. David Holmes, an embassy staffer in Ukraine who allegedly overheard Trump discussing “investigations” with Sondland, is slated to testify behind closed doors in the House impeachment probe Friday.

Democrats have seized on Holmes’s allegation — which was revealed Wednesday during testimony by William B. Taylor Jr., the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine — as evidence of Trump’s culpability in impeachable offenses.

Pelosi said Thursday that testimony by Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent highlighted how Trump had abused his power. Both senior diplomats testified that it was inappropriate for Trump and his allies to push for investigations targeting former vice president Joe Biden, a 2020 presidential candidate, and a debunked theory about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.

“The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery uncovered in the inquiry and that the president abused power and violated his oath by threatening to withhold military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation into his political rival,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference.

In response, the White House and congressional Republicans have emphasized the diplomats’ lack of firsthand knowledge of Trump’s actions on Ukraine.

Pelosi’s use of the term bribery to describe the President’s actions with regard to Ukraine is apparently part of an effort to shift the focus of the impeachment inquiry away from the two-month-long concentration on the use of the term “quid pro quo” toward a legal concept that is easier for the general public to understand:

The shift came after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee conducted focus groups in key House battlegrounds in recent weeks, testinmessages related to impeachment. Among the questions put to participants was whether “quid pro quo,” “extortion” or “bribery” was a more compelling description of Trump’s conduct. According to two people familiar with the results, which circulated among Democrats this week, the focus groups found “bribery” to be most damning. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the results have not been made public.

Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), a House Intelligence Committee member, kicked off the effort to retire “quid pro quo” from the Democratic vocabulary during a Sunday appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where he said “it’s probably best not to use Latin words” to explain Trump’s actions.

On Thursday, he told reporters that “bribery” was a useful, if not altogether precise way to summarize the allegations.

“Abuse of power is not necessarily a concept that most Americans run around thinking about,” he said. “In this case, the abuse of power was some combination of bribery and extortion.”

More from The New York Times:

Ms. Pelosi’s remarks on impeachment were the first time she discussed the growing inquiry at length with reporters since Congress recessed in late October.

“The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections,” Ms. Pelosi said, clarifying her choice of words. “That’s bribery.”

Ms. Pelosi was referring to Article II of the Constitution, which states that the president and other public officers “shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The founders, who were preoccupied with the young republic’s independence from foreign influence, included the term to ensure the president was acting in the interest of the United States.

“The framers had this concept of an illicit exchange, the president using his power in exchange for something that was beneficial for him, and perhaps vice versa,” said Michael J. Gerhardt, a constitutional law professor and an impeachment scholar at the University of North Carolina.

For Democrats, the term may also help solve a communications challenge. After weeks of describing the president’s actions as a “quid pro quo,” lawmakers are looking for a more straightforward and digestible way to describe what happened to their constituents.

“English words are easier to understand than Latin words,” said Representative Jim Himes, Democrat of Connecticut

Along with treason, bribery is the only crime specifically mentioned in the Constitution as a ground for removing a President, Vice-President, or other public officials from office. The remainder of the impeachment clause, of course, mentions “other high crimes and misdemeanors,” an open-ended term which has largely been considered to consist of whatever a majority of the House of Representatives decides that it might be. When I first started noticing this shift in rhetoric from left-leaning commentators as well as many of the attorneys who have become frequent guests on CNN and MSNBC to discuss the ongoing proceedings, I was somewhat skeptical, especially since there already seems to be other laws with which the President can be charged with violating. Among those, of course, is 50 U.S.C. 30121, which makes it illegal for an American to solicit a campaign donation in the form of money or any “thing of value” from a foreign citizen, government official, or government. In this case, of course, the “thing of value” would be compromising information about Vice-President Biden and his son as well as information supporting the discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine intervened in the 2016 election rather than the Russians. As the evidence has mounted up, though, the evidence supporting a bribery charge is becoming clearer and clearer.

The Federal law regarding bribery can be found at 18 U.S.C. 201. In its opening section, it sets forth what most people likely think of when they think of bribery, namely situations where private individuals attempt to bribe public officials to commit an official act or a public official accepts a bribe in connection with an official act. However, the statute also provides that it is a violation of the law for a public official to solicit a bribe from any person, whether or not they are a public official. Specifically, this part of the definition of bribery is set forth in 18 USC 201(2):

(2) being a public official or person selected to be a public official, directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity, in return for:

(A) being influenced in the performance of any official act;

(B) being influenced to commit or aid in committing, or to collude in, or allow, any fraud, or make opportunity for the commission of any fraud, on the United States; or

(C) being induced to do or omit to do any act in violation of the official duty of such official or person;

Given the evidence that we have before us, it’s easy to see where bribery fits into the equation. The President stands accused, credibly I might add, of seeking a “thing of value” from the President of Ukraine and other Ukrainian officials in exchange for which he would release the military aid already authorized by Congress, schedule a much-wanted White House meeting with the Ukrainian President, and commit other “official acts” in connection with the American relationship with Ukraine. This would constitute a violation of 18 USC 201(2)(A) There also appears to be evidence of violations of Sections 201(2)(B) and (C) to the extent that the President agreed to do these things for fraudulent reasons that were in violation of his official duty to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution and to “take care that the laws are faithfully executed.”

There’s no rule, of course, against, using the impeachment proceedings to charge a President or other public official with multiple crimes if the facts allow for it. That’s what happened with respect to both the Articles of Impeachment that were drafted against President Nixon and those that were actually approved against President Clinton. As a result, one can see the House of Representatives eventually approving Articles of Impeachment that involve multiple charges against the President. For the time being, though, it does help the process for the charges to be simplified for public consumption in this manner. That may not influence the Republican Senate, but it will make it much easier to make the case to the American people which could be just as important when voters head to the polls next November.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Crime, Donald Trump, Impeachment, Law and the Courts, Politicians, U.S. Constitution, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    The President stands accused, credibly I might add

    Again…
    Trump admitted it.
    Mulveney admitted it.
    The WH Memo of the call collaborates their admissions.
    The only issue here is whether you support the Constitution, or you Support Trump.

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  2. Kit says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    The only issue here is whether you support the Constitution, or you Support Trump.

    If some people support Trump simply because they do not really understand the meaning of quid pro quo, then I’m certainly behind this push to clarify the issues. The Left is horrible at messaging, perhaps in part because because it never occurs to us that a good English word is obviously better than a Latin one.

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  3. andros says:

    Bloomberg strayed into forbidden territory yesterday by asking, gee, What if Trump Actually Believed that Biden Was Corrupt? Their analysis will satisfy few.

    (Browser too antiquated to post links, sorry.)

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  4. Nightcrawler says:

    That may not influence the Republican Senate, but it will make it much easier to make the case to the American people which could be just as important when voters head to the polls next November.

    This is exactly why the Dems needed to impeach. The Branch Trumpidians in the Senate have already made up their minds; they won’t convict, no matter what. Der Fuhrer could kill someone on live TV, and they’d still support him. But the American people need to know what’s going on inside the White House so that, should the apocalypse not happen before next November, they can make informed decisions at the ballot box.

    If there is a history after this, it will vindicate the Dems.

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  5. sam says:

    Just to hold off the to-be-expected rejoinder: But, but, but, the aid was not withheld, so how can there be a charge of bribery? Please do note that the language of the statue includes the words

    being a public official or person selected to be a public official, directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept

    The words ‘demands’ and ‘seeks’ imply attempt. Attempted bribery by a public official is a federal crime.

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  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Kit:
    Agreed…I commented here long ago that we needed to stop with the quid pro quo and call it what it is.
    I was only differing with “accused”. He has admitted to the crime.

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  7. DrDaveT says:

    Extortion is the correct diagnosis. I think shakedown would be the correct term to get the public to understand it.

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  8. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    The WH just issued another Memo (not a transcript) of an earlier call to Ukraine’s President.
    https://www.politico.com/news/2019/11/15/read-trump-zelensky-phone-call-summary-071073
    It is at odds with a readout of that call, issued hours after the call occurred.
    https://twitter.com/ZekeJMiller/status/1195347268280471554
    No where in the call, according to the memo, is corruption mentioned.
    No where.

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  9. DrDaveT says:

    @DrDaveT: Also: extortion is a crime whether or not you follow through on your threat.

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  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    @andros:
    Idiot.

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  11. Jax says:

    @andros: OK, so let’s walk through this. First off, let’s think back to 2014, when Hunter Biden got the job on the board at Burisma. Republicans were in control of both the House and the Senate, and had spent the last 6 years frantically looking for something, ANYTHING to impeach Obama.

    Don’t you think that if they had gotten even a WHIFF of this supposed “corruption” regarding Biden, they would’ve been on that like flies on shit? So how come they weren’t? Why did it only become an “issue” after Joe Biden ran for President?

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  12. Kathy says:

    @Kit:

    The Left is horrible at messaging, perhaps in part because because it never occurs to us that a good English word is obviously better than a Latin one.

    Yes. On the other hand, GOP delenda est is kind of an elegant phrase. Though I think it’s incorrect and terrible Latin.

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  13. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: I first saw it as GOPus delendus est.

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  14. andros says:

    @Jax:
    How long do you think you can persist in these denials that Trump could reasonably believe that an investigation of the Bidens is warranted? I see that even the Atlantic is today calling for Hunter to be called as a witness.

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  15. Mister Bluster says:

    Browser too antiquated to post links…

    If you can copy and paste then you can place the link in with your comment and anyone can copy and paste the link to their browser.
    Failing that you can type in the source and the title of the item you are referencing.

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  16. Sleeping Dog says:

    Accusing Tiny of bribery has several benefits; it’s easy for the voters to understand, as noted, it is a crime mentioned in the Constitution and it will be a tougher charge for Repugs to simply dismiss.

    The Senate won’t convict, but a proven charge of bribery may lead to a few more Repugs voting for impeachment and conviction.

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  17. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08: POTUS delendus est has a nicer fake Latin ring.

    Incomplete, because the rest of the GOP needs to be delenda ested, and we need to delenda est Trump after he is out of office, so it should refer to him directly.

    Orange dingus delendus est

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  18. David M says:

    If Trump actually believed Biden was corrupt…why would he ask for public announcement of the investigation? A public announcement benefits Trump politically, at the expense of the actual investigation. That seems problematic as well.

    And as always, Biden is completely irrelevant to the crimes Trump committed. Bribery and extortion, and abuse of power aren’t suddenly legal if you think someone else did something wrong.

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  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @andros:

    How long do you think you can persist in these denials that Trump could reasonably believe that an investigation of the Bidens is warranted?

    Forever and a day and a half. That corrupt pos doesn’t have any reasonable beliefs.

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  20. KM says:

    @andros:
    Since when does believing someone else may have committed a crime grant you permission to commit a crime yourself? So if someone sincerely believed you were corrupt and a threat to the Constitution, it would be OK if they broke into your house and stole all your stuff? After all, it could be evidence and you might destroy it ahead of the inevitable lock-’em-up!!

    That is not and never has been a legal excuse. If Trump wanted to legally investigate what he thought was corruption, he had numerous available option. Instead, he decided to get his Godfather on and forget he was Fredo’s failed understudy. At least Fredo was good at running the casinos……

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  21. andros says:

    @Kathy:
    Depends on whether GOP is deemed to be masculine, feminine or neuter.

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  22. DrDaveT says:

    @andros:

    How long do you think you can persist in these denials that Trump could reasonably believe that an investigation of the Bidens is warranted?

    How long can you persist in pretending that Trump cares about corruption if there’s nothing in it for him personally? Where is the pattern of behaviors consistent with this motivation you are claiming? Where is the concern and outrage over the actions of US citizens not named ‘Biden’?

    If we accept for a moment your preposterous claim about Trump’s motivations, you still have an insuperable problem — namely, that the correct legal action is to have the State Department and Justice Department (and perhaps the IC) conduct proper investigations (as opposed to, say, shaking down foreign heads of State while implying that invented evidence is just as good as real evidence). If Trump’s concern were legit, his actions would also have been legit.

    …but then you already knew that. We’re just concerned that you understand how revealing your garment is before you go out in public with it.

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  23. wr says:

    @andros: “Depends on whether GOP is deemed to be masculine, feminine or neuter”

    I think the last three years have pretty conclusively proven that the only possible answer is “neuter.”

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  24. Teve says:

    Jennifer Rubin
    @JRubinBlogger
    ·
    2h
    BTW, another 100,000 women watching Trump try to publicly bully Yovanovitch just promised to crawl over glass to vote against him in 2020

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  25. Jax says:

    @andros: Therein lies the difference between people like you and people like me. I do not give a flying rat’s ass whose “team” the person belongs to, if crimes were committed, lock their asses up. You only want the investigation to benefit your team. You do not care if your team has committed crimes.

    The laws have to apply to everyone, including the President. ESPECIALLY the President, given how much power the office holds.

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  26. andros says:

    Just heard Jovanovitch testify that the Javelins (withheld by Obama) were seen as a “symbol” of our support.

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  27. Moosebreath says:

    @Kathy: @Gustopher: etc.

    I find myself picturing the scene from Life of Brian where Brian gets caught writing Romans Go Home in Latin on a city wall, and the centurion played by John Cleese corrects his grammar and orders him to write it 100 times on the wall.

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  28. Teve says:

    This all reminds me of one of the funniest things. Trump was saying it had nothing to do with Biden, he was just very, very concerned about corruption. And a reporter said, can you tell us what other countries you’ve pressured about corruption? and Trump said, uh, we’ll have to get back to you about that. 😛 😛 😛

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  29. Teve says:

    I have the day off but there’s no way i’m spending it watching stuff about trump. My lawyer friend pam is, however, and she just posted, “I just had to look up the proper spelling of “abominable” for a tweet. That’s how badly the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee are behaving.”

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  30. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Idiot.”

    I’m thinking he’s the artist formerly known as Pearce. If he’s Jenos he’s managed to tame some of his most obvious writing tics… and I doubt little Jenos is capable of that much self-awareness.

    I suppose he could be a new, free-range troll, but if so he learned at the same mail-order university Pearce studied at.

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  31. David M says:

    @andros:

    Bloomberg strayed into forbidden territory yesterday by asking, gee, What if Trump Actually Believed that Biden Was Corrupt? Their analysis will satisfy few.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-11-14/trump-impeachment-what-if-he-truly-believed-biden-was-corrupt

    If this is the best Trump’s defenders can do, then lololol:

    “But let’s accept the premise. [That Trump believed Biden was corrupt.] Under both Republican and Democratic presidents, the standard advice from presidential advisers (certainly from White House counsels) in such circumstances would be clear and simple: “Mr. President, please don’t speak to foreign leaders about initiating a criminal investigation of one of your political opponents, even if you think they did something terribly wrong. You’ll be venturing in uncharted waters, and you will be inviting impeachment.”

    Even so, the best argument, for those who seek to defend the president, might be that he actually believed that Hunter or Joe Biden committed crimes. But in view of the sheer egregiousness of asking a foreign government to investigate a potential political opponent, it’s not easy to defend the proposition that impeachment should rise or fall on what Trump actually believed.

    It’s early days. But we can already see that those who are hoping to defend Trump against impeachment are in a singularly challenging position.”

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  32. dazedandconfused says:

    I actually think Nancy is fine-tuning the wrong car. They are not apparently paying any attention to something which should be center-stage. Trump has admitted he lined his pockets with money donated to his Trump Foundation. If running a fraudulent charity isn’t a high crime and/or misdemeanor…what is?? I would like to see Jim Jordan attempt to spin that.

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  33. Jax says:

    @andros: And that’s supposed to be a big bombshell somehow?

    What’s worse, Javelins being withheld, or Javelins in your possession that you’ve been told you can’t use against…..Russia? The country you kinda need the Javelins to protect yourself from in the first place?

    What possible logical explanation can you come up with for Trump putting that condition on them?

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  34. JKB says:

    “it’s probably best not to use Latin words” to explain Trump’s actions.

    Because the literal translation of “this for that” would cut through the obfuscation they hoped to achieve by using quid pro quo in desperate tones. Not to mention quid pro quo in itself is not unlawful or illegal. It is literally the basis of every contract.

    Oh, and “valuable information” is not “a thing of value” at least not yet, and definitely not when the calls with Ukraine occurred.

    From the FEC:

    On July 31, 2019, the Commission published a notice of availability in the Federal Register at 84 FR 37154 that seeks public comment on a petition for rulemaking filed by Sai, Fiat Fiendum, Inc., Make Your Laws PAC, Inc., and Make Your Laws Advocacy, Inc.

    The petition seeks to add to the regulatory definition of contribution the term “Valuable Information,” which would be defined as information that:

    Is not freely available to the public;

    Is provided to a person regulated by the Federal Election Campaign Act, at a cost less than the market rate or by a person not hired by the recipient to generate such information;

    Would cost a non-trivial amount for the recipient to obtain at their own expense; and

    Is information that would likely have the effect of influencing any election for federal office or that parties or candidate committees have traditionally expended money to obtain.

    Under the petition’s proposal, “Valuable Information” would also include “any information that could be used to blackmail or otherwise compromise” a candidate for federal office, regardless of the source of the information.

    Under this rule, unless the Clinton campaign disclosed their funding the Steele Dossier, Hillary would have been in violation. And as we learned, information from the Steele Dossier was used by Comey in an attempt to blackmail Trump.

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  35. al Ameda says:

    @andros:

    What if Trump Actually Believed that Biden Was Corrupt?

    Yeah, and what if millions of Trump voters actually believed that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex slave operation out of a DC Area pizzeria? And what if one of those people decided to take action by showing up at the pizzeria with weapons, ready to take action?

    Trump has succeeded in his goal of damaging Biden in advance of the 2016 primary and caucus season. The truth does not matter to Trump or Republicans, only the final objective.

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  36. DrDaveT says:

    @David M:

    If Trump actually believed Biden was corrupt…why would he ask for public announcement of the investigation?

    This point cannot be repeated enough.

    Remember — the immediate favor Trump asked for was not an investigation of the Bidens. It was the announcement of an investigation.

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  37. wr says:

    @JKB: “Oh, and “valuable information” is not “a thing of value” at least not yet, and definitely not when the calls with Ukraine occurred.”

    That might be an argument — although given your track record probably not — if what Trump was looking for was “information.” He wasn’t. What he wanted was not an investigation, but the ANNOUNCEMENT of an investigation, which he believed would tarnish his opponent.

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  38. wr says:

    @DrDaveT: Beat me to it.

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  39. andros says:

    @David M:
    The writer’s hostility to Trump blinds her to the proper analysis, as set forth, in civil rights litigation, by the courts: “objective reasonableness.” Could a reasonable president, in Trump’s position, in light of well-established law, have believed his conduct to be lawful?

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  40. andros says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Thanks, but I’m afraid my situation is far more primitive than you imagine.

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  41. David M says:

    @andros:

    Sure, Trump could have believed his conduct to be lawful. However, we know it wasn’t, and the White House has admitted it wasn’t. Trump not knowing he’s committing crimes left and right is a damn good reason to impeach him. I’m not sure why Trump defenders don’t get that obvious fact.

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  42. dazedandconfused says:

    @andros:

    What if Trump Actually Believed that Biden Was Corrupt?

    The man may be capable of convincing himself of anything, so that isn’t an altogether terrible question. The problem with it is that if Trump honestly believed it, and that an investigation was really warranted he would have involved the normal channels, through Pompeo and then through the actual acting ambassador in Kiev Bill Taylor.
    Instead he/they decided to compartmentalize the effort through Rudy and that Mega-donor Sonderland guy, keeping the actual ambassador to Ukraine completely out of the loop.

    What do you suppose he did that for? To keep from unfairly dragging Biden’s name through the mud if the investigation turned up nothing? I’m sure some will actually believe that.

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  43. the Q says:

    Puto enim, quod turpe est et reprehendis pulchra linguam Latinam esse non possit totaliter rat irrumabo Praesidis. Quod guy est a pila multos bituminis.

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  44. dazedandconfused says:

    @andros:

    What if Trump Actually Believed that Biden Was Corrupt?

    Could be, he’s capable of convincing himself of anything. However if he did think it was a legitimate ask why not run it through normal channels? Why not use the actual acting ambassador Bill Taylor…or at least bring him into the loop? Instead he compartmentalized the effort, using Rudy, Sonderland, and it seems even Rick Perry. The normal mechanizims of State were kept completely in the dark. I suppose Trump was hoping to avoid the pitfall of unfairly dragging Biden’s name through the mud if it turned up nothing.

    I’m sure you can believe that.

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  45. JKB says:

    Kind of odd that the Dems would admit to running focus groups to find the right accusation to make. Makes the whole “solemn” constitutional process seem quit partisan and divorced from actual wrong doing.

    This “written accusation” the House Democrats are hoping to make is going to nowhere. But I do hope Republicans seek to rile the voters to punish this malfeasance of using impeachment for partisan purposes.

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  46. Moosebreath says:

    @andros:

    “What if Trump Actually Believed that Biden Was Corrupt? ”

    And what if Trump actually controlled an FBI to perform investigations of Biden? And what if Trump had an entire Justice Department to attempt to indict and convict Biden for any corrupt acts?

    Since none of that is the case, Trump was compelled to go outside of the law, and withhold aid to Ukraine to attempt to get them to announce they were investigating Biden.

    Are you sure you want to make that your defense? Even by your standards that’s dopey.

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  47. David M says:

    @JKB:

    Republicans are so enmeshed in their own self-protected cocoon they don’t realize how weird they sound. Pretending to be absolutely horrified at the routine practice of focus grouping political messaging. Completely blase about corruption, self dealing, abuse of power, bribery, extortion, etc. Those priorities are so bizarre it’s impossible to do anything but laugh

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  48. Kathy says:

    @David M:

    Does it strike you that Trump’s defenders sound almost like they’re from Bizarro World crossed with 1984 proto-Newspeak?

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  49. andros says:

    It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s . . .
    Rasmussen, the only major poll that doesn’t require disclosure of political preference to a live person, today puts Trump at 50% approval, 49% disapproval.

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  50. de stijl says:

    @the Q:

    That’s Greek to me.

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  51. Jen says:

    @andros: Also, as far as I know, the only major pollster that doesn’t include cell phone numbers in its polling field.

    It is just so, so surprising that a pollster that relies on landlines would find voters who favor the president.

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  52. Jax says:

    @andros: Now do Marie Yavonovitch’s approval ratings. 😉 She’s the lady who provides cookies or an ass whuppin, it’s your choice.

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  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: True, but that might show that his wagon don’t got any goods on it.

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  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Trump has succeeded in his goal of damaging Biden in advance of the 2016 primary and caucus season.

    Senior moment, or attempt at irony?

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  55. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @andros: It seems that you have just criticized the article you cited at the beginning of the thread as biased against Trump. Hmmmm…

    Don’t forget to take your lovely parting gifts on the way out.

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  56. An Interested Party says:

    …Trump at 50% approval, 49% disapproval.

    Wow, you really will believe anything…perhaps your technology is that antiquated because they haven’t updated the computers at the asylum in which you reside…

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  57. gVOR08 says:

    @de stijl: Me too. My high school Latin was way longer ago than I’ll admit to. Google Translate thinks he said,

    I think that what is fair blaming the Latin language can not be completely rat oral president. That guy is a ball of tar pits.

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  58. David M says:

    An unappreciated facet of all this is how Trump has become a corrupting influence in Ukraine. Sure, the allegations against Biden are bunk, but Trump’s actions are actually damaging their anti-corruption efforts. Again, progress made during the Obama administration is being lost

    https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-10-03/trump-scandal-threatens-derail-ukraines-anti-corruption-efforts

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  59. Jax says:

    @David M: It’s the ETTD effect. Everybody in the world who depended on us for guidance and anti-corruption efforts should just stay the fuck away until we sort this shit out internally.

    Putin really couldn’t have bought and paid for a better United States president.

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  60. JKB says:

    @David M: the routine practice of focus grouping political messaging.

    Political messaging yes, but it is odd that it would be used to select what is going to be used as the written accusation that is supposedly not political but a solemn constitutional duty.

    No matter, this Schiff Show will end soon, then should Democrats wish to nuke themselves, the Senate will hold a proper trial with witnesses called by both sides subject to examination and cross-examination. Not to mention hearsay being inadmissible, Washington gossip and NY Times articles won’t be acceptable as it has been in this attempt to try Trump in the press even before making a written accusation.

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  61. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “… that is supposedly not political but a solemn constitutional duty. ”

    Oh please. You guys tried to impeach someone over prison sex in a desk knee hole. Give me a break. “Solemn constitutional duty” my ass.

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  62. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB:

    But I do hope Republicans seek to rile the voters to punish this malfeasance of using impeachment for partisan purposes.

    Are you really that stupid? I mean, you are saying this in public, but are you really this stupid? I hope the GOP does do just exactly what you suggest, because unlike you the voting public remembers quite a few instances of the GOP abusing their investigative powers for partisan purposes.

    Benghazi.
    Hillary’s emails.
    IRS.
    Fast and Furious.
    etc etc ad nauseum.

    And if you want to limit it to impeachment: Bill Clinton.

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  63. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB:

    that is supposedly not political but a solemn constitutional duty.

    Tell that to the GOPs in Congress, you know, the ones who won’t even look at the evidence? The ones who can’t keep their stories straight? The same ones who give you their out of the ass talking points that get destroyed daily so that the next time you show up you have to pretend you never said everything you said yesterday but that today’s talking points are irrefutable truths handed down from Gawd on high?

    Jeebus, a box of rocks has more on the ball than you. It STFU.

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  64. Kurtz says:

    @JKB:

    but it is odd that it would be used to select what is going to be used as the written accusation that is supposedly not political but a solemn constitutional duty.

    No. If it wasn’t meant to be a political process, the Constitution would not have vested a political body with the duty.

    They also would not have included term of art as one of the conditions for impeachment if the process was not supposed to be political.

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  65. Mister Bluster says:

    andros sez:..(Browser too antiquated to post links, sorry.)…situation is far more primitive than you imagine.

    cracker sez:..but that might show that his wagon don’t got any goods on it.

    Somehow andros is able to enter text into the comment field but is unable to include source references like this:

    The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
    Source: United States Constitution Article II, Section 4

    Don’t need a link. Just type in the words. Anyone can look it up.

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