Governing in the Private Interest

Giuliani confirms.

To go along with my ongoing posts on the main problem with the Ukraine situation, i.e., that Trump is using government resources for his own private interests, I give you Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s private attorney:

Mr. Giuliani said that he never “conducted a shadow foreign policy, I conducted a defense of my client,” Mr. Trump. “The State Department apparatchiks are all upset that I intervened at all,” he said, adding that he was the victim of “wild accusations.”

Source: NYT, How Not to Plot Secret Foreign Policy: On a Cellphone and WhatsApp

This is Rudy stating, straight up, that he was was operating for Trump’s personal interests. Here he isn’t even pretending like he had some secret public interest goals motivating his actions.

I will state what should be obvious: the president’s attorney should not be running around trying to influence a foreign government for the purpose of helping said president with his re-election campaign.

Private actions for private gain by leveraging public resources is an abuse of power and should not be acceptable.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Impeachment, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Pete S says:

    Of course this is not acceptable. Well, it shouldn’t be.

    But I think Republicans are slowly moving towards their endgame – that any action which helps Republicans win elections and keeps Democrats out is a public good. Some support this idea in their own employment interests and some fanatics really believe it. We have already seen that argument made in some of the gerrymandering cases where it was explicitly stated that the goal was to help Republicans win. Once one accepts that premise then nothing which happened here is really in Trump’s “private” interest. The Republicans publicly stated arguments are not there yet but will get there, catching up to the private justifications for continuing to support Trump.

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  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    Republicans have already embraced open corruption, bald-faced lies and treason. I knew they would, they’re overcommitted to their cult leader and their lost cause mythology, they have no other way forward. They have no return ticket from Guyana, they have to drink the Kool-Aid. They would rather burn the country and themselves down than admit they’ve made a grievous error.

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  3. CSK says:

    Either Trump doesn’t understand or he refuses to accept that he can’t run the presidency the same way he did his gangster-ridden fiefdom in New York. Extortion, bribery, and threats of reprisals were his favorite tools, and he can’t/won’t abandon them.

  4. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Add the fact that they’re terrified of Cult45.

  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I’ve said so many times on this forum; Republicans cannot win on their agenda and so they must rig the system, at minimum, and in Trumps case, break the law outright.
    To win in 2016 he needed Russia’s help, and Rudy to blackmail Comey into doing something stupid.
    Trump and the Republicans lost the 2018 midterms in spite of 8 Republican Congress-people (7
    Seators and 1 House member) going to Russia, on the 4th of July, to ask for help.
    And now he was afraid of losing in 2020, so Trump tried to blackmail Ukraine, using your money and my money for his own personal gain.
    Maybe they should try tailoring their agenda to what people actually want?
    My biggest fear was always that Trump would ACTUALLY do what he ran on; great heathcare that would cover everyone at a cheaper cost, a middle class tax cut that would actually hurt the rich, creating 24M jobs, eliminating the debt, solving the NoKo problem, getting China in line, draining the swamp. Man…someone who ACTUALLY did even one of those things would be an unstoppable force in American Politics. But that stuff is really hard work. Hardly the thing for a guy born with a silver spoon in his mouth, rounding third base and headed for home.
    Easier to just break the law, in order to try to win.

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  6. Ha Nguyen says:

    I think you have a misspelling here:

    I five you Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s private attorney:

    Sorry, I don’t have anything more substantive. The misspellling took me right out of the article.

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  7. Kathy says:

    Once upon a time, foreign policy achievements meant things like opening relations with a rival/hostile country, or securing a peace treaty, or negotiating a peace between warring nations or factions, or establishing alliances, or successfully fighting necessary wars, or aiding the cause of human rights, or providing humanitarian relief, or easing tensions in a region, or any of dozens of other constructive, useful actions.

    Now it means fabricating a smear against a domestic political rival.

    Well, one Nobel Prize isn’t enough for such a monumental crime.

  8. @Ha Nguyen: Thanks for noting the typo.

  9. Joe says:

    I think this “for personal gain” is the central point of this whole process and the one that Trump’s defenders ignore as they deflect individual points: of course the president can fire ambassadors; of course the president can insist that aid recipients address corruption and he can even make that America’s central diplomatic goal; of course the president can put his call notes on any server he wants – he just can’t do any of these things for personal gain. And he can’t cover up his actions from Congress.

  10. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy:

    Well, one Nobel Prize isn’t enough for such a monumental crime.

    Ah, but they failed at their crime. As the currently apt Simpsons reference says, you don’t get a Nobel prize for attempted chemistry, nor should they for attempted bribery.

  11. Christopher Osborne says:

    @Ha Nguyen: I see what you did there…

  12. DrDaveT says:

    So, if Rudy was acting purely in the interests of his client, then Trump was paying for all of Rudy’s travel and accommodations out of his personal pocket, right?

    If not, that’s some seriously gross misappropriation of funds.

  13. Scott says:

    @DrDaveT: I was about to ask this same question: Who is funding Rudy? Even though he says he is representing Trump, I suspect other sources of money including campaign funds and other shady sources. Trump is well known for shady use of other people’s funds.

  14. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @DrDaveT:

    then Trump was paying for all of Rudy’s travel and accommodations out of his personal pocket, right?

    NO!!! Colludy Rudy was being paid by the Russian Mob, thru Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. They were front men for the Russian Mob (read Kremlin) effort to get a piece of the natural gas market in Ukraine.
    This whole thing is super-complex…thus the danger in trying to simplify it to “no quid-pro-quo”

  15. andros says:

    The Silence of the Woke

    I have seen no response to the damning emails referenced by Senators Grassley and Johnson in their letter of Nov. 6 to Pompeo (letter on Grassley’s website. I discussed it, at some length, on Saturday’s Basic Problem thread.) These State Dept. emails (obtained through FOIA request) leave little doubt that that Hunter Biden and Devon Archer (a Kerry ‘bundler’), both Burisma board members, sought, in Feb. 2016, State Dept. intervention in the ongoing investigation of Burisma. The senators, citing the Kyiv Post, state that, at the time of these protests against allegations of corruption, “Ukraine’s top prosecutor was conducting an investigation into the company and its owner.” (According to Interfax Ukraine, Zlochevsky’s real and personal property were seized pursuant to a court order dated 2-2-16. “Court Seizes Property of Ex-minister Zlochevsky,” 4-2-16.)

    So why were Hunter and Devon, in Feb. 2016, trying to get State to “call off the dogs”? Biden demanded, on 2-12-16 that Poroshenko dismiss Shokin. It is frivolous to deny that these dubious activities warrant investigation. As I’ve noted before (tiresomely, no doubt) such an admission removes any conflict between Trump’s private interest and the public interest.

    The “aid” issue” is inconsequential. Yovanovitch recently testified that it was merely “symbolic” of support. A ceasefire had been in effect since March.

    Trump is fortunate that he had someone as skilled and astute as Giuliani to make an end run around the entrenched bureaucracy and get the testimony of Lutsenko, Shokin, and other officials nailed down.

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  16. DrDaveT says:

    @andros:

    I have seen no response to the damning emails referenced by Senators Grassley and Johnson

    We’re still waiting for your list of 3 things Trump has said or done that Putin didn’t like. Oh, and your cites to someone actually disputing any of the cited occasions when Trump did exactly what Putin would have wanted him to do.

    (We’ve given up on waiting for you to understand that the criminal nature of Trump’s actions is utterly unaffected by any hypothetical guilt on the part of any Biden, and that his relentless failure to care about corruption on the part of anyone on the planet not named ‘Biden’ makes a farce of your rationale…)

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  17. mattbernius says:

    Rather than talk past each other again @andros, I have an honest question — what type of evidence would it take to make you seriously consider that *maybe* — just maybe — Trump and colleagues might have acted inappropriately.

    And, since it’s only fair that you ask the reverse, one of the first things I’d need to see is verified reporting that a major news organization is willing to stand behind that backs up the core claims that Trump supporters have made.

    (Aside, are you aware that the Hill has launched an internal investigation/review into all of Solomon’s review into the Ukraine reporting. For the record, if they retrospectively confirm that all of it is reporting that they are willing to endorse as is and shift from the “opinion” to the “news” section, I’ll give it all a second look.

    I’m curious, if they find errors/bias in Solomon’s reporting will you publicly agree to retract your use of it to bolster your arguments?)

  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    @mattbernius:
    God can’t be wrong, don’t you understand?

  19. DrDaveT says:

    @andros:

    Yovanovitch recently testified that it was merely “symbolic” of support.

    This is inaccurate. Your addition of the word ‘merely’ changes the sense of her statement significantly. In context, she testified that it was ALSO symbolic, in addition to being of practical use.

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  20. David M says:

    @andros:

    No links = no evidence, especially when Solomon is not an honest broker, and the other reporting refutes him

    The Biden / Ukraine scandal was debunked over six months ago, but people keep pretending otherwise: https://theintercept.com/2019/05/10/rumors-joe-biden-scandal-ukraine-absolute-nonsense-reformer-says/

  21. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @andros:
    None of this nonsense, from two known political hacks…Grassley and Johnson…has any bearing on the case of Impeachment now before Congress; that Donald Trump did use public resources in order to attempt to bribe a Foreign Official to act towards his own personal gain, obstructed Congressional Oversight of the matter, and attempted to intimidate witnesses in the matter.
    He has admitted to it.
    Mulveney has admitted to it.
    The WH Memo for the call collaborates their admissions.
    Multiple witnesses have testified, under oath, that it happened.

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  22. David M says:

    @andros:

    As I’ve noted before (tiresomely, no doubt) such an admission removes any conflict between Trump’s private interest and the public interest.

    And the responses to your tiresome obtuseness have noted that it’s an abuse of power for Trump to extort a foreign country into bribing him by investigating his domestic political opponents.

    I’m pretty sure even you can see why it’s a conflict of interest for Trump and his private attorney to be leading the calls for an investigation into Biden. If there were a real case to be made, it absolutely requires that Trump not be involved in the investigation because of his conflict of interest.

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  23. mattbernius says:

    @mattbernius:
    Oops, forgot the link to background on the Solomon investigation:

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-hill-we-are-reviewing-and-updating-john-solomons-ukraine-columns

    (Can’t ask for sources, if I don’t provide them, can I?)

  24. andros says:

    @mattbernius:
    The undisputed, material facts (as opposed to conclusory allegations) do not, in my mind (at least at this point) admit the possibility of such evidence.

    Surely you don’t propose to ignore those emails, just because Solomon obtained them.

    If Solomon has argued what I’ve here argued, I’m quite unaware of it.

    We must be guided by the evidence, not “major news organizations.”

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  25. mattbernius says:

    @andros:

    The undisputed, material facts (as opposed to conclusory allegations) do not, in my mind (at least at this point) admit the possibility of such evidence.

    What is clear in that case is that you value certain, undisputed, material facts above others (which you conveniently ignore to bolster your argument).

    Here, let’s start with a basic one:
    Was it not an undisputed fact that the expressed position of President Obama, the US State Department, and the EU in 2016 that Shokin be removed from office for issues of corruption?

    Yes or no?

    We must be guided by the evidence, not “major news organizations.”

    So I am very curious, if you are not getting your “undisputed, material facts” *not* from news sources, where are you getting them from?

    And if you are getting them from news sources can you again list them (you can just name names, no need for links — we know your keyboard sucks).

    After all, we need to judge evidence by the sources that provide it.

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  26. andros says:

    @DrDaveT:
    I heard her testify it was “symbolic,” period. The “merely” is inference. Are you trying to dispute the significance of the ceasefire, in effect since March?

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  27. David M says:

    @mattbernius:

    The IMF also wanted Shokin removed, and the push to remove Shokin was not a “Biden initiative” but rather something that already existed before he was asked to simply deliver the Administration’s message

    https://www.ft.com/content/e1454ace-e61b-11e9-9743-db5a370481bc

  28. mattbernius says:

    @andros:

    If Solomon has argued what I’ve here argued, I’m quite unaware of it.

    Huh, really because lets check the tape from two days ago as you wrote the following:

    According to Solomon, Shokin had caused consternation by seizing Zlochevsky’s properties. He was dismissed, pursuant to Joe’s ultimatum, on 4-3-16.

    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/the-basic-problem-with-trump-and-ukraine/#comment-2476522

    Clearly you have no exposure to Solomon’s work (or the narrative that Solomon has been advancing across all of this questioned reporting) at all and it’s just coincidence that you cited it as evidence for your argument.

    If memory serves, we can go back across a number of your posts and find continued references to Solomon. So why in gods name did you make such an easily disprovable claim about how you’re unaware of his arguments?

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  29. andros says:

    @andros:

    I’ll cheerfully concede that point, but those emails leave no doubt whatsoever that Hunter and Devon were protesting an ongoing investigation of Burisma, one resulting, as confirmed by the Ukrainian press, by seizures of property. And we’re not talking guilt or innocence here, but justification of an investigation.

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  30. andros says:

    @mattbernius:
    Solomon has not, to my knowledge, argued that admitting the need for an investigation of the Bidens removes any conflict between Trump’s personal interest and the public interest. I could be wrong. No big deal.

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  31. mattbernius says:

    @andros:

    I’ll cheerfully concede that point

    So your suggestion is that US Policy, EU Policy, and IMF policy was all in service of protecting Hunter Biden?

    I’m curious, how do you think Joe Biden would have been able to manipulate all of those things to protect his son? Do you feel he had the power, based on the power of his office, to exert control over other international governing bodies and organizations to alter their policy to meet his personal needs?

  32. David M says:

    @andros:

    You are aware those emails come after the decision to remove Shokin has already been made, by the EU, the IMF, and the Obama Administration? So they are meaningless, and tell us nothing.

    And no other reporting indicates there was an active investigation? Reports we have linked to multiple times, as opposed to your complete lack of documentation.

    Finally, as has been pointed out repeatedly, Biden is irrelevant to Trump’s impeachable conduct. He had no business asking a foreign country to investigate his political rivals, interfering in the 2020 Presidential election, while holding up aid authorized by Congress. That is a flagrant abuse of power, magnitudes worse than what Biden is accused of.

  33. David M says:

    A good analogy of the current situation if Trump were accused of and had admitted to shooting Biden in the leg for jaywalking (Ukraine). He also said he would shoot him again if given the chance (China).

    I don’t give a flying F if Biden was jaywalking or not, it doesn’t excuse Trump shooting him in the leg.

  34. mattbernius says:

    @andros:

    Solomon has not, to my knowledge, argued that admitting the need for an investigation of the Bidens removes any conflict between Trump’s personal interest and the public interest.

    So wait, I’m confused. So you *are* using the questionable reporting of Solomon as a *source* for undisputed facts (understanding that said reporting is under investigation). But you’re just not using him as a source of an argument?

    Also, am I to take it that your ultimate argument is that “there is no possibility for conflict between Trump’s personal interest and the public interest.”

  35. mattbernius says:

    @andros:
    Also, it just occurred to me, you wrote the following:

    Trump is fortunate that he had someone as skilled and astute as Giuliani to make an end run around the entrenched bureaucracy and get the testimony of Lutsenko, Shokin, and other officials nailed down.

    Where are the undisputed facts that Trump’s only option to conduct this investigation was to use his personal attorney as the only *quasi-state* actor to execute this investigation.

    “Entrenched bureaucracy” sounds dangerously close to a personal and perhaps biased interpretation of said fact, and you’re clear that you are above such things.

  36. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @mattbernius:
    Stefanik made that very argument in the Vindman hearing, this am.
    L’etat, c’est moi.

  37. andros says:

    @mattbernius:
    I’ve here relied on the letter of Senators Grassley and Johnson, and the Ukrainian press.

    I’ll thank you to desist from misrepresentation. It’s unbecoming

  38. Scott O says:

    Andros seems to be arguing that since Trump can’t trust law enforcement in this country he has to turn to the country that tried to undermine his 2016 campaign to get the truth.

    The nightmares of the asleep.

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  39. mattbernius says:

    @andros:

    the Ukrainian press.

    Oh, so you are relying on the press — one that is notably as partisan (if not more) than the US press — for “undisputed facts”.

    Interesting. So the very narrow group of undisputed facts you have relied on come from three primary sources:
    (1) two *Republican Senators and Supporters of the President*,
    (2) a foreign press* (that you cannot contextualize for bias),
    (3) and a reporter whose under investigation by his former employer who only allowed his work to be published as opinion

    and you are unwilling to consider facts from other sources that might call your other facts into question.

    And you also seem to have a fuzzy line between undisputed facts and your personal interpretation of them as well.

    Note, I’m not misrepresenting anything, just noting patterns from across your wide volume of posts. If that makes you uncomfortable, then you might want to ask yourself why.

    Additionally, you are more than welcome to analyze my posts for bias. After all, you’ve, at least twice now, decided to apply the mass characterization of “woke” to those of us who have been pushing back on your “undisputed facts.” But I’m sure, in that case, you probably consider that “undisputed facts” and not an interpretation of patterns you see across a variety of writing.

    BTW, if I have mischaracterized anything about your position, please set the record straight.

    [Hey, for extra points, since you cited Intrafax Ukraine as a source, let’s look into them:

    The Interfax-Ukraine News Agency (Ukrainian: Інтерфакс-Україна) is a Kiev[1]-based Ukrainian news agency founded in 1992.[2] The company belongs to the Russian news group Interfax Information Services.[3] The company publishes in Ukrainian, Russian and English.[3]

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interfax-Ukraine

    Cool. Cool. Looking forward to a defense of their reporting as without the possibility of interpretation or bias.]

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  40. David M says:

    @andros:

    According to Solomon

    Oops

    FYI, a letter from a couple Republican Senators isn’t exactly what could be called “evidence”, especially when it specifically references the known propagandist John Solomon

  41. Michael Reynolds says:

    There is no point in engaging @andros. You might as well argue Scientology with Tom Cruise or racial theory with a Nazi.

    He’s not here to make a case, he’s here to throw scat around his cage in mimicry of clowns like Devin Nunes. You cannot reason with cult members. Trying to talk @andros into anything is pointless, regardless of how much you refute his lies and assert the truth, he does not care about truth, he is indoctrinated in lies and quite literally incapable of even questioning his ‘faith.’

    Coming here and telling lies is his holy mission. His god has told him to go forth and lie, so he does. The more he ignores facts the more virtuous he feels. Regurgitating lies – knowingly doing so – is like performing the stations of the cross, it’s a faith ritual.

    Goebbels could have left Hitler’s bunker, he chose to stay, he chose to poison his children and die rather than ever be forced to face the consequences of his own evil. That’s what you’re dealing with here. I think it’s important to understand that fanatics like @andros would rather die than reject their god.

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  42. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    @mattbernius:
    $20 says andros is J-enos.

  43. andros says:

    @mattbernius:
    Such sophistry is hardly sufficient to demonstrate that an investigation is unwarranted.

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  44. andros says:

    This guy, Trump! Who does he think he is, tryin’ to obstruct Obama’s foreign policies?

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  45. David M says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You’re not wrong, but I’m mostly posting links so the bad faith by Trump defenders like @andros is obvious to anyone else who actually cares

  46. DrDaveT says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    $20 says andros is J-enos.

    No bet. The vocabulary tells are all over the place.

  47. mattbernius says:

    @andros:

    Such sophistry

    Again, you keep stating that I’m “misrepresenting” what you are saying and that I’m engaging in “sophistry” without actually pointing to any cases where the “undisputed facts” facts I’m using are incorrect or where I’ve misrepresented what you are saying.

    I’m giving you ample opportunities to do such. I’ve pointed to holes in your thinking, I’m completely open to you doing the same to mine. That’s the basis of online discussions (provided you’re interested in having a discussion).

    That you apparently chose not to — much like you tend to be cagey about your sources of “undisputed facts” beyond the three you have identified — is much more a indication of your choices around being open and transparent, not mine.

  48. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @andros:

    Who does he think he is, tryin’ to obstruct Obama’s foreign policies?

    J-enos…again, because we know you are slow…bribery for personal gain IS NOT Foreign Policy.

  49. mattbernius says:

    @andros:

    This guy, Trump! Who does he think he is, tryin’ to obstruct Obama’s foreign policies?

    BTW, nice non-sequitur dodge. I don’t think anyone here (despite our disagreements with said foreign policy direction) deny Trump has a right to pursue his own foreign policies. The issue is that in this case, all the “undisputed facts” suggests that this *wasn’t* his foreign policy, but rather his personal interest (your words, not mine).

    You are the only one whose desperately attempting to collapse one into the other. Or at least I think you are. You have so far failed (unless I missed it) to answer this question I asked you up thread:

    Also, am I to take it that your ultimate argument is that “there is no possibility for conflict between Trump’s personal interest and the public interest.”

  50. andros says:

    @mattbernius:
    So your position is that there is no basis for an investigation. Ok.

  51. Steve V says:

    @DrDaveT: I don’t think it’s J—-. J—- was very very bothered when he thought the Obama administration was using the government for Obama’s selfish purposes: see, e.g., the IRS targeting scandal. Obviously, as J—- frequently said, it did not matter that the conservative orgs investigated by the IRS were targeted because they were conservative; all that mattered was whether each individual investigation had merit. J—- can’t be andros because andros is arguing the exact opposite.

  52. David M says:

    @Steve V:

    I also think it’s not J—, but don’t for a second think either of them have a more complicated belief system than “Democrats bad”

  53. andros says:

    @mattbernius:
    I’m saying that an investigation by Trump of the questionable activities of the Bidens in Ukraine accords with the public interest. There is here no conflict.

    The self-indulgent pretense that those who prefer Trump to the alternatives are uneducated, uninformed rubes, incapable of independent thought, comes very close to self-stimulation.

  54. David M says:

    @andros:

    Well, you finally came out and said it straight out. You want an investigation “by Trump” into his political rivals. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so nauseatingly corrupt.

  55. Kurtz says:

    @andros:

    But that is not the case here, bud. He wasn’t asking for assistance in an ongoing investigation. He was asking for Ukraine to open their own investigation. Or rather to announce publicly that they are investigating.

    Further, it seems like poor fact finding strategy to ask the government of a foreign company rife with corruption to investigate something in the public interest. There is a reason that the FBI sends agents to foreign countries to investigate events instead of just relying on the information gathered by others.

  56. mattbernius says:

    @andros:

    So your position is that there is no basis for an investigation.

    Yes, based on the larger set of undisputed facts (many of which you constantly seem to ignore), the conflict of interest doesn’t appear to rise to investigation worthy. If new facts emerge, I reserve the right to revisit that opinion.

    However, if one of the Branches of Congress (did you know the Republican controlled Senate has investigative committees) chose to investigate, then that is well within their purview.

    I must say, for someone who is so concerned at the necessity to investigate at the sign, via undisputed facts, of any potential impropriety, you seem to be very quickly decided that in this case what was in the President’s personal interest was clearly in the public interest as well. And you seem to look at the “undisputed facts” of this situation and are quick to dismissed the direct and extreme pressure that the President and his allied applied to the Ukraine (not to mention the subsequent efforts to hid that evidence) as in no way presenting a similar air of impropriety. I must think you find it odd that in general the Republicans on the panel have made very little effort to question the “undisputed facts” about the specifics of what was said in that conversation or the subsequent efforts to conceal it through classification.

    The self-indulgent pretense that those who prefer Trump to the alternatives are uneducated, uninformed rubes, incapable of independent thought, comes very close to self-stimulation.

    Huh, interesting projection. Mind to suggestion where I said anything along those lines?

    At best I’m pointed out where you’ve been evasive and quickly change the line of thinking when your past statements don’t seem in harmony with your current line of thinking. I think all of that speaks to your blind partisanship more than anything else (keeping in line with your very honest admission that honestly there is no counter evidence that would sway your position).

    But hey, if you want to cast yourself in the victim role, then that’s your choice my man. That is definitely in keeping with what we’ve seen from the most vocal supporters of the President.

  57. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Steve V:
    I get that sarcasm…

  58. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @David M:
    Non sequiturs
    Moving the goal posts
    Ignoring facts and questions counter to his…well…it’s too liquid to be called an argument.
    It’s J-enos.
    I hope the moderators take notice.

  59. CSK says:

    @Steve V: @David M: FWIW, I don’t think it’s J-enos, either. The voice is different.

  60. mattbernius says:

    @andros:

    So your position is that there is no basis for an investigation. Ok.

    Hey, did you hear that Kurt Vokler, in sworn testimony in front of Congress, just said the same things?

    Kurt Volker’s opening statement:

    “At that meeting, I told Mr. Giuliani that in my view, the Prosecutor General with whom he had been speaking, Mr. Lutsenko, was not credible and was acting in a self-serving capacity. To my surprise, Mr. Giuliani said that he had already come to the same conclusion.

    […]

    Concerning the allegations, I stressed that no one in the new team governing Ukraine had anything to do with anything that may have happened in 2016. They were making television shows at the time. I also said that it is not credible to me that former Vice President Biden would have been influenced in any way by financial or personal motives in carrying out his duties as Vice President.”

    https://news.yahoo.com/read-kurt-volker-opening-statement-205035836.html?ncid=twitter_yahoonewst_sjwumo1bpf4

    I think you will also acknowledge the fact that sworn testimony is in keeping with what every other witness called so far has stated (including Kent who did acknowledge his concern over the potential *appearance* — not presence — of a conflict of interest).

  61. mattbernius says:

    Ok, bring on the downvotes, but the most boring aspect of the later stages of these threads is the debate as to whether or not X commenter is the J-man (or other banned contributor). Folks, you’re letting him (and others) live rent free in your heads.*

    * — ok, and I full admit this is rich coming from someone who is sometimes obsessive/compulsive about replying to these threads… so perhaps I should get my own house in order first.

  62. andros says:

    @Kurtz:
    Just how did you come by the notion that Trump intends to passively sit back and rest content with whatever Zelensky comes up with? Sure, he wants to get Zelensky committed to an investigation, because much relevant information will necessarily come from Ukrainians, on Ukrainian soil, some of them doubtless reluctant to “spill the beans.” Corporate records will certainly require governmental assistance. Just what do you suppose Giuliani has been investigating? And we have no idea what Durham and Barr are doing.

  63. mattbernius says:

    @mattbernius:
    Two other points I failed to note:

    (1) Kurt Volker is a witness called by the Republicans. I think it’s noteworthy that the *Republican* witness says there is no basis for that investigation. I guess they haven’t seen the “undisputed facts” or perhaps they have different facts. Asking for a friend… Either way it gets to:

    (2) There’s also this quote from the opening statement:

    At the one in-person meeting I had with Mayor Giuliani on July 19, Mayor Giuliani raised, and I rejected, the conspiracy theory that Vice President Biden would have been influenced in his duties as Vice President by money paid to his son. As I testified previously, I have known Vice President Biden for 24 years. He is an honorable man and I hold him in the highest regard.

    Again, if the Republicans, who are in control the Senate (hey did you notice it was two Republican senators who crafted that letter full of undisputed facts) think its worth investigating, they should do it. I’d love any support of that investigation’s thoughts into why they haven’t taken that action to date.

  64. andros says:

    @mattbernius:
    You do seem to have an obsession with the thought that John Solomon must have implanted a microchip in my skull.

    We both know that those emails will drive a stake right through the heart of this “proceeding.”

  65. mattbernius says:

    @andros:

    You do seem to have an obsession with the thought that John Solomon must have implanted a microchip in my skull.

    No, I’m just pointing out that you tend to rely of a source that was never (a) fact-checked and is (b) currently under investigation by his former employer. If that’s the particular, rock solid foundation you’re choosing to build your argument on, that says far more about you than anything else.

    Hey, if you were more transparent with your sources, then I wouldn’t have to assume that most of what you write is coming from Solomon (because so far you’ve essentially been parroting most of his facts with some credit — so that’s all I have to go on).

    Oh, and if you’re keeping count, the other GOP witness,

    Morrison testified that “I was concerned to what I heard was an additional hurdle” after Sondland linked military aid to an ask for investigations. He said after Sondland spoke with Trump, Sondland said the condition placed on aid was an announcement of Biden/2016 investigation.

    Source: Manu Raju

    But sure, Hunter’s emails! Man, that’s a great chorus we all learned via the Benghazi hearings! Can you tell me when they are going to be dropped?

    Again, can you explain to me why the GOP senate hasn’t opened up hearings on the clear slam dunk (again non of the sworn witnesses have agreed with your position under oath… including the ones called by the Republicans).

    [edit: updated to remove incorrect citation]

  66. David M says:

    @andros:

    We both know that those emails will drive a stake right through the heart of this “proceeding.”

    Ah yes, emails from 2016 about a decision made in 2015 will definitely exonerate Trump for his crimes. There’s a well known loophole that says illegal acts are in the public interest if the target is a Democrat.

    Seriously, everything you’re lauding Trump for here is impeachable. Pressing for the investigation is an impeachable act! “Investigate my political opponent” is as corrupt as it gets.

  67. JohnSF says:

    @andros:
    Some points:
    – One very good reason for Hunter Biden and Devon Archer to make representations to the State Dept. re. Burisma would be that Viktor Shokin’s actions were not an “investigation” but a blatant attempt to return Burisma to the control of various Ukrainian oligarchs with deep links to the Russian Gazprom “network”, notably Dmitry Firtash, with whom Shokin is. connected.
    In case you are unaware, Gazprom = Putin, simple as that.
    That is, Shokin’s concern was not that Burisma was corrupt, but that it’s former beneficiaries of corruption, Firtash and the Kremlin, had been forced out.
    Which is why the EU were also pushing for Shokin to be removed.

    – You state that the

    “aid” issue” is inconsequential. … merely “symbolic” of support. A ceasefire had been in effect since March.

    A ceasefire, not a peace agreement; a ceasefire repeatedly breached by the Russian side; and one where the Russians remain in illegal occupation of Ukrainian territory; and with Russia persistently using various channels to threaten Ukraine if it fails to return to being a subordinate of Moscow.
    In those circumstances no sign of support, neither the aid, nor the symbolism, nor the actual weapons, are in fact “inconsequential” to Kiev.

    – Also, various apologists for the Administration have averred that it was withholding aid due to concerns over corruption, and requiring investigations of matters of concern.
    Then that the aid was delivered within months due in any case, and without said investigations.
    So, the concerning corruption in Ukraine was either ended or somehow became unconcerning, without any investigations being undertaken.

    Hmm.
    Or perhaps it was just Giuliani’s “skilled and astute … end run” being about as subtle as an stampeding elephant, leading to a sudden panicked policy reversal?

  68. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @mattbernius:

    the most boring aspect of the later stages of these threads is the debate as to whether or not X commenter is the J-man

    As opposed to explaining 93 times that investigating the Biden’s was not Foreign Policy?

    2
    1
  69. Kurtz says:

    @andros:

    I expect that Trump would sit idly by, because besides golf, what else does he do? Much of his schedule is filled with “executive time.” I suppose that he could be investigating during those hours. But given that he seems to keep up with every utterance on Fox News, i doubt he is poring over documents related to Ukraine with Fox & Friends quietly in the background.

    I wasn’t aware that Giuliani was investgating anything. I could be wrong, but it seems that he was basically arm twisting. Even if he is, why the insistence on a public announcement from Zelensky?

    If he was being thwarted by the deep state, fine. But he already dismissed the ambassador. Wouldn’t he just be able to appoint one who would investigate? Oh right, they will just call the operative who killed seth rich to take out the new ambassador.

    Look dude, just admit that you give no fucks about the truth, the rule of law or the Constitution. Just admit that you’re fine with Trump breaking the law because he is your guy. It would make you very much like a decent percentage of Republicans and some Democrats aa well.

    At least you would be posting something honest and close to the truth for once.

    11
  70. David M says:

    It’s always disturbing how well trolls can stay on message, especially now that the current GOP is little more than a collection of message board trolls:

    But through it all, Republicans have not put even a dent in the central story of abuse of office by the president of the United States.

    The only Republican argument left is a postmodern nihilism: You can’t make us care

  71. andros says:

    @JohnSF:
    You are talking utter nonsense. Here’s the verbatim language of one of the State Dept. emails:

    “Per our conversation, Karen Tramontano,of Blue Star Strategies requested a meeting to discuss with Under Secretary Novelli remarks alleging Burisma of corruption. She noted that two high profile U.S. citizens are affiliated with the company (including Hunter Biden as a board member.) According to Tramontano there is no evidence of corruption, has been no hearing or process, and evidence to the contrary has not been considered.”

  72. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The more he ignores facts the more virtuous he feels. Regurgitating lies – knowingly doing so – is like performing the stations of the cross, it’s a faith ritual.

    This

  73. David M says:

    In case anyone wants it burned into their brain how incredibly dishonest (at best) the Trump defenders are being, here is an incredibly detailed timeline of the entire Ukraine corruption affair.

  74. Michael Reynolds says:

    @David M:
    It’s easy to stay on message if you’re lying.

  75. mattbernius says:

    Ok, need to admit to being a total derp on something an apologize to Andros. I wrote the very dumb comment up thread:

    Again, can you explain to me why the GOP senate hasn’t opened up hearings on the clear slam dunk (again non of the sworn witnesses have agreed with your position under oath… including the ones called by the Republicans).

    I had totally blanked on fact that the Johnson/Grassley letter was a document request for an oversight committee. The deadline for that document request is tomorrow — so we’ll see how State responds.

    So yeah, my goof. I was wrong. 🙂

    Aside from rereading the memo… man they definitely relied on a lot of John Solomon reporting to make their case. Its weird how everything seems to lead back to him, huh?

  76. andros says:

    It’s this simple: Ukraine depends on U.S. support. Trump demands Zelensky commit to an investigation likely to damage Joe Biden. Does Zelensky feel coerced? Why on earth should he? How could such an investigation be adverse to the interests of Ukraine? And how could it be contrary to the interests of the American People? Where’s the conflict of interest?

  77. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    There is no point in engaging @andros. You might as well argue Scientology with Tom Cruise or racial theory with a Nazi.

    Perhaps people want to know what makes a person close themselves off to real news, and how they function in a society where critical thinking is not critical.

    I don’t think he’s going to suddenly realize he’s wrong, but I also don’t think that’s the point.

  78. David M says:

    @andros:

    Ukraine depends on U.S. support. Trump demands Zelensky commit to an investigation likely to damage Joe Biden. Does Zelensky feel coerced? Why on earth should he? How could such an investigation be adverse to the interests of Ukraine? And how could it be contrary to the interests of the American People? Where’s the conflict of interest?

    That has to be a sock puppet, no possible way that isn’t a parody. It’s too ridiculous

  79. @David M: There is a remarkable level of lack of understanding on display.

    10
  80. Jax says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: It’s not even a lack of understanding, it’s a complete refusal to look at “the thing that shall not be named”. It’s remarkably like when my religiously homeschooled nieces and I were looking at my petrified wood collection and I said “Can you believe these were trees millions of years ago, and now they’re rocks?! How cool is that?” Their eyes literally glazed over and they said “That’s not possible, the earth is only 6,000 years old.” They lost all interest in the pretty rocks and walked away. That’s how Trumpies act when you point out Trump’s misdeeds, their eyes glaze over and they can’t even see it.

    11
  81. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @andros: Somebody threatens to put a bullet thru your head unless you commit to an investigation likely to damage the guy who might very well be the next president of the United States. Do you feel coerced? Why on earth shouldn’t you sign a suicide pact with a guy who very likely won’t be around a year from now? How could such an investigation be adverse to the interests of your country? You’re all gonna die anyway. And how could it be contrary to the interests of the American People? They have long been lacking the most corrupt PoS narcissistic moral black hole in the White House who will lead them to the promised land of starvation and deprivation. What. the. fuck. could. go. wrong?

    Where’s the conflict of interest?

    Nobody else here seems to want to say it, so I will: You are a complete and utter f’n idiot. You drank the kool-aide, why the fuck won’t you die and go the fuck away?

  82. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: it reminds me of a Radley Balko comment he gave me permission to steal:

    He may be uninformed, but at least he’s closed-minded about it.

    Though I have absolutely no explanation for the amount of work it took to draft that particular statement, especially given the starting commonly agreed upon undisputed truth.

  83. andros says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    First of all, you make some very dubious assumptions about Zelensky’s state of mind. But far more importantly, how could getting to the bottom of this business be adverse to the public interest? What’s that? It might benefit Trump? I see.

  84. Scott F. says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    It is a level of misunderstanding level made possible only by deliberate obtuseness.

    andros is using more grown-up words and proper grammar, so he may appear more cogent than OTB’s other resident Trumpkins. But, he’s not arguing in good faith any more than Paul L., JKB or Guarneri. His “come on, you can’t really be saying X” framing is BS, his self-imposed limitations on citing sources, and his willful ignorance of the public record are all deployed to yank people’s chain.

  85. Kathy says:

    Would it help if I posted a reminder not to feed the trolls?

    I’m guessing by the end of the hearings a majority of Americans will agree what Trump did was inappropriate and that impeachment and removal is warranted.

    The problem is I don’t see as many as 20% of Republicans agreeing to this. So that voting to remove El Cheeto will still be anathema.

  86. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @mattbernius: I almost never wonder whether someone is he-who-must-not-be-named, but the guesses sometimes stimulate my curiosity. The point about letting someone live rent free in one’s head is also good, but mostly, I have stopped reading andros posts and responses to them because of the relentless redundant repetitions of relentlessly repetitive redundancies.

    And did I mention that andros seems to be redundantly unitary in his focus on one continuously repeated point? He’s really boring.

  87. @Scott F.:

    It is a level of misunderstanding level made possible only by deliberate obtuseness.

    I won’t argue with that.

    He at least appears to be able to stay on the basic topic of the post.

  88. Wr says:

    @CSK: Pearce.

  89. Jax says:

    @andros: Sigh….OK, so, it’s against the law for Trump to use government resources to investigate his political enemies. FULL STOP. End of the line.

    As many above have stated, none of us have a problem with an investigation into the Biden’s, and if it turns out they did illegal shit, lock them up. We won’t be surprised when it turns out JUST like Benghaaaaazi, her eeeemails, and pizzagate.

    Why are you so afraid to look at the thing that shall not be seen?

  90. Mikey says:

    @Scott F.: I figured this out after several attempts by me and others to explain how computer forensics actually work were met by repeated assertions of the same ignorant garbage talking points. I’ve no time for that bullshit.

  91. andros says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Just personal curiosity: Would indisputable evidence that Shokin was vigorously prosecuting Burisma and Zlochevsky, at the time he was axed, have any effect on your certainty?

  92. @andros: It would help if you would construct an actual argument with actual evidence, which I could evaluate.

  93. Jax says:

    @andros: the evidence is going to have to come from someone other than the corrupt fuckers who are already on the lam, and definitely not Rudy Giuliani.
    @Steven L. Taylor: The problem is that he won’t, he’ll just complain that he’s on a bad, antiquated web tv that won’t share links, we’re just supposed to believe him.

    Andros…..the library usually has free computers and internet. You should check it out, if your home system is so bad.

  94. @andros:

    Shokin was vigorously prosecuting Burisma and Zlochevsky

    To which I would note (emphases mine):

    Remarks by US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt at the Odesa Financial Forum on September 24, 2015:

    We have learned that there have been times that the PGO not only did not support investigations into corruption, but rather undermined prosecutors working on legitimate corruption cases.

    For example, in the case of former Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky, the U.K. authorities had seized 23 million dollars in illicit assets that belonged to the Ukrainian people. Officials at the PGO’s office were asked by the U.K to send documents supporting the seizure.

    Instead they sent letters to Zlochevsky’s attorneys attesting that there was no case against him. As a result the money was freed by the U.K. court and shortly thereafter the money was moved to Cyprus.

    The misconduct by the PGO officials who wrote those letters should be investigated, and those responsible for subverting the case by authorizing those letters should – at a minimum – be summarily terminated.

    Even as we support the work of the new Anti-Corruption Commission, and the recruitment of new prosecutors, we have urged Prosecutor General Shokin to empower Deputy Prosecutors Sakvarelidze and Kasko to implement reforms and bring to justice those who have violated the law, regardless of rank or status. We are prepared to partner with reformers within the PGO in the fight for anticorruption.

    This is the US Ambassador to Ukraine complaining, publicly, that Shokin and the Prosecutor General’s Office is not prosecuting corruption by Zlochevsky.

    Not long thereafter, the US, EU, and IMF called for Shokin’s removal.

    This is the direct opposite of what you are claiming.

  95. Ambassador (Ret.) John E. Herbst’s testimony before the US Senate Committee on Foreign RelationsSubcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation in 2016:

    While reform progress was substantial in 2015, it was not enough for many in civil society and at least some reformers in the Rada and the government. Critics focused on the absence of any real changes in the Procurator General’s Office and in the judiciary and claimed that the president and prime minister were not interested in going after these major sources of corruption. Both institutions were known to facilitate corruption. They pointed to the failure of the government—through the Procurator General—to indict any major figures from the Yanukovych administration for corruption. They complained,too,that Procurator General Viktor Shokin was a compromised figure who had served as Procurator General in the Yanukovych administration.

    By late fall of 2015, the EU and the United States joined the chorus of those seeking Mr. Shokin’s removal as the start of an overall reform of the Procurator General’s Office. U.S. Vice PresidentJoe Biden spoke publicly about this before and during his December visit to Kyiv; but Mr. Shokin remained in place.

    Emphases mine.

  96. @andros: So, I guess the question really is: having demonstrated (and there’s more if you want it) that Shokin wasn’t vigorously prosecuting Burisma and Zlochevsky, at the time he was axed, have any effect on your certainty?

  97. andros says:

    @Jax:
    Not if such an investigation serves the public interest. Biden does not place himself above the law by becoming Trump’s opponent. You want to cite me a law that says otherwise?

    You guys started out with the claptrap that Trump was trying to coerce Zelensky to “dig up dirt” on Biden. We’re well beyond that. Some serious issues must be addressed.

  98. andros says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    So how do we reconcile this with the appearance that Hunter and his running buddy Devon protested, to the State Dept.,allegations of “corruption” against Burisma, shortly before Shokin was dismissed? And I doubt that the Ukrainian press fabricated the story that Zlochevsky’s properties had been seized. You don’t think this bears looking into?

    I assume you have closely perused the Nov. 6 letter of Grassley and Johnson to Pompeo.

  99. David M says:

    @andros:

    We’re well beyond that in Trump’s malfeasance and betrayal of the public trust, he must be impeached. We have seen zero evidence of wrongdoing by Joe Biden.

    The worst thing Biden appears to have done is taking credit for something that he probably didn’t have much to do with beyond delivering a message from the people who actually came up with the anti-corruption initiative.

    P.S. I’m sure even you can understand why a letter from 2016 is irrelevant to a decision made in 2015. You probably will choose not to acknowledge the truth, but it doesn’t change the facts.

  100. Scott F. says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    I would suggest “on topic” without “good faith” equals a profound waste of your time as a debater with integrity and a respect for data and evidence.

    Steven (plus mattbernius, David M, Michael Reynolds, et al), I think I share with you an earnest wish for someone from the right side of the political spectrum with whom to argue the issues of the day using sound logic and substantiated facts. It’s vital to advanced critical thinking to have your perceptions and understandings challenged in order to test yourself for bias or incoherent reasoning. It is therefore reasonable (with such a wish) to give some leeway to new interlocutors in your midst in the hope they will finally provide cogent counter-arguments.

    andros has been given his chance to show his integrity and has proven himself unworthy. Keep looking. There still may be an honest broker who can defend Trump. Just as there still may be unicorns.

  101. Jax says:

    @Scott F.: I had such high hopes, I mean, he was new, he could spell and put sentences together, DESPITE his claim of an antiquated system….turns out he’s just the same ol kinda Trumpie in slightly better clothing. :’-(

  102. Jax says:

    @andros: Yes. The very serious issues like Why Did Trump Only Mention Burisma and Biden and Not the Other Dozens/Hundreds of Possibly Corrupt Companies in Ukraine?

    As has been stated probably at least 14 billion freakin times in this thread and others, what Biden did or did not do does not matter, we can investigate that AND what Trump did just fine. TWO investigations, I’m good with that. Anybody who broke the law, LOCK THEM UP!!!! You cool with that? Or is just Biden you want investigated, pay no attention to the illegal shit Trump did?

  103. David M says:

    I do have good news for @andros, it does appear the Trump Administration is making progress getting cooperation from Ukraine in combating corruption:

    Federal prosecutors are planning to interview an executive with Ukraine’s state-owned gas company as part of an ongoing probe into the business dealings of Rudy Giuliani and two of his Soviet-born business associates

    hehehe…hehehe

    On a more serious note, that’s an actual investigation, by the Justice Department, and didn’t involve sending people to shake down the new president of Ukraine into announcing a fake investigation.

    I’m starting to question whether Giuliani and Trump are really dedicated to rooting out corruption.

  104. Kit says:

    This has been a painful thread to follow. And then it struck me: it’s Jeff Session Syndrome! It’s the stomach churning spectacle of watching someone wilfully, joyfully humiliate himself in public simply to prove his faith. It’s baptism by vitriol, symbolizing admission into the cult.

  105. @Scott F.:

    I would suggest “on topic” without “good faith” equals a profound waste of your time as a debater with integrity and a respect for data and evidence.

    While the idealist in new has this small hope that facts will win out, I do not suffer any illusions about the likely probability of success.

  106. @andros: You are definitively proving your unwillingness and/or inability to engage with logical argument and evidence.

  107. Kurtz says:

    I have been looking for a Pew study done several years back. They asked a question about a leader willing to break the rules to get things done. It shouldn’t be a surprise that it found there were a substantial number of Republicans who responded yes. Not a plurality, but significantly more than Democrats.

    If they think that, fine. Free country. The frustrating part for me is the refusal of people like Andros to admit it.

  108. Kit says:

    @Kurtz:

    They asked a question about a leader willing to break the rules to get things done.

    I’d respect anyone in power, from the President down to a cop on the beat, who broke the law to get something done, and immediately confessed to the act, knowing that he must suffer at least the minimum consequences for his crime. I’d allow evidence obtain through an illegal search if the officer knew that he was absolutely going to be punished, perhaps as far as losing his badge and spending time in prison.

    But, of course, the people who ride roughshod over the law never wish to be punished themselves. And the people who cheer them on certainly don’t expect it either.

  109. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    You are definitively proving your unwillingness and/or inability to engage with logical argument and evidence.

    To be fair to him, he was quite honest up-thread when he wrote:

    The undisputed, material facts (as opposed to conclusory allegations) do not, in my mind (at least at this point) admit the possibility of such evidence [as to lead him to consider the possibility of malfeasance on Trump’s part].

    I guess we should have taken him literally and seriously.

  110. JohnSF says:

    @andros:
    My apologies if my remarks appear nonsensical to you.
    On reflection, I was rather unclear on the timeline regarding Shokin’s activities.
    And the shifting alliances between various Ukrainian oligarchs, politicians and Russian interests are inherently murky.

    But this appears to broadly how this developed: Shokin’s investigations before his removal in March 2016 concerned the past activities of Burisma, a period before Hunter Biden joined the company, and were aimed at blocking investigations harming Zlochevsky, and prominent Ukrainian politicians, and possibly Firtash.

    His comments since his ouster seem quite likely to reflect his growing alignment with Firtash and associated oligarchs, and shared reasons to dislike Joe Biden.

    On this basis Tramontano in February 2016 was stating, reasonably enough from her point of view, if evidence to the contrary was absent, that, notwithstanding the corruption related to Burisma in the past, there was no reason to automatically assume that it was still corrupt.

    I hope this is less nonsensical to you.

    It might have been wiser for Hunter Biden to avoid involvement with Ukrainian businesses.
    However, regarding unfortunate involvements, I would note that Mr. Giuliani’s associates in his Ukrainian escapades, Messrs. Parmas and Fruman, are also business partners of Firtash.

    If there were genuine reasons for investigating the post-2014 activities of Burisma and Hunter Biden, a clumsy “back channel” fishing expedition, that itself developed worrying links to persons tainted with corruption, Russian connections, and known animus to both Joe Biden and Ambassador Yovanovitch, was a very ill-advised way to proceed.

  111. Michael Reynolds says:

    Oh look, a great big thread where we learn (hopefully) the utter futility of arguing with a cultie.

    Rational minds seek rational answers. But debate is pointless in the absence of intellectual integrity. @andros is not a rational actor, he’s a cult member. J-nos will keep lying and moving the goalposts because he is not actually participating in debate, he’s engaged in religious ritual. Think of it as a form of masturbation – he gets pleasure from each lie, from each evasion. He’s a sort of Louis CK of the comment section – masturbating in front of us, gaining erotic pleasure from serving his deity.

    I used to say this to people arguing with Christians: if they were susceptible to reason they wouldn’t be Christians to begin with. If culties were susceptible to reason they wouldn’t be culties to begin with.

    Now, if you want to keep watching J-nos masturbate, cool, to each his own. Personally I think the J-nos ban should be enforced.

  112. @Michael Reynolds: I actually don’t think this is Jenos.

  113. @Michael Reynolds: And look, I get as well as anyone, if not moreso, that such conversations are unlikely to have an effect, and even less to have an immediate effect.

    I don’t entirely get the need, however, for commenters to criticize others for engagement, even if that engagement is potentially futile.

    And while I might not characterize it exactly as you did (after all, what Louis CK did was assault), I am well aware that what is going on here is someone who wants, and is getting, attention.

  114. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    I didn’t intend criticism, more of a summation. It was, in the end, a pointless exercise. As to whether this toll was that toll or some other is, I agree, irrelevant, there’s not much difference between one cultie and the next.

    I do understand that there are other watchers who may benefit from watching this guy being taken down. And I also understand the usefulness at thread’s end of summarizing our ‘findings’ fo the benefit of that same audience.

  115. @Michael Reynolds: Fair enough. It was almost certainly pointless in terms of @andros. I actually have the timeline in regards to Shokin slightly better in my head, so there’s that.

  116. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I actually have the timeline in regards to Shokin slightly better in my head, so there’s that.

    To be honest, this is part of why I participate in these too. Engaging in the conversation required me to go a little bit deeper into the material in order to check my work and own my moves. And that includes catching (and owning as you see above) where I got something wrong.

    Honestly, reflecting on this now, it’s interesting how much any specific comment I make is really part of a much longer drafting and revision process.

    Now if I could only do this with my professional writing.

  117. andros says:

    The tortured rationalizations spun to evade the clear import of the damning emails referenced by Senators Grassley and Johnson are contemptible.

    I can remember a time when liberals would not have deigned to mouth known untruths with a view to manipulating the uninformed.

  118. mattbernius says:

    @andros:

    The tortured rationalizations spun to evade the clear import of the damning emails referenced by Senators Grassley and Johnson are contemptible.

    You know, I actually just reread that letter last night. All that it contains is an email referencing another email. So it will very interesting to see, given that this is Nov 20th and that original email should theoretically be part of the data dump they requested, to see if how much that original email matches your interpretation of them as being “damning.”

    I also look forward to hearing you reaction to Ambassador Sondland’s “damning” sworn testimony about the existance of a clear Quid Pro Quo at today’s hearing.

    deigned to mouth known untruths

    Call. Cite please. You keep saying this, but never deliver any actual facts to back that particular claim. As far as I can tell, you disagree with our interpretations, but I have yet to see you delivering on your claims of “known untruths.”

  119. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Please note, though, that andros only asked if he could show such an event wouldd it change your mind. He was careful not to assert that he could show such an event.

  120. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott F.: No, there are no unicorns, They died in the flood. There’s documentation: link

  121. DrDaveT says:

    @andros:

    Just personal curiosity: Would indisputable evidence that Shokin was vigorously prosecuting Burisma and Zlochevsky, at the time he was axed, have any effect on your certainty?

    I am not Steven, but I will consider your counterfactual hypothetical.

    What Shokin was or was not doing at the time he was fired has (literally) nothing to do with Donald Trump extorting political favors from the Ukrainian government. Trump’s guilt in this matter is unaffected by his motivation, or by who else might be guilty of what. It is still a serious crime whether or not he followed through on his threat, whether or not Zelensky believed him, and whether or not an investigation of the Bidens might have been warranted.

    I’m trying to imagine you contorting yourself this painfully to defend Barack Obama if it had been he who did this. Alas, my imagination isn’t up to that task.

  122. DrDaveT says:

    @andros:

    Biden does not place himself above the law by becoming Trump’s opponent.

    Of course he doesn’t. What does that have to do with Trump’s behavior? Hint: Trump is not the law. Especially not when he’s asking for political favors instead of asking for evidence or cooperation in an investigation…

  123. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @mattbernius:

    Now if I could only do this with my professional writing.

    One can, but it takes third parties willing to serve as adversaries, just as it does here. Those are often difficult to find outside the interwebs thingie.

  124. Mike in Arlington says:

    @mattbernius: this is something I noticed yesterday myself. The letter does a lot to make it appear that Joe Biden was more culpable than he really was. Also, while it describes actions taken by Burisma, we’re left to speculate exactly what Hunter did.

    This is not to say that Grassley’s inquiry is unwarranted, just that his letter (well, his and johnson’s) attempts to blur the lines to make it appear there’s reason to suspect Joe Biden too.

  125. Michael Reynolds says:

    @andros:
    Dude, let me make this simple enough even for you to understand: go right ahead and investigate Hunter Biden. No one cares. It has no relevance to the impeachment of Donald Trump.

    Trump committed a crime, period. He violated his oath of office, period. He obstructed justice, period. He committed high crimes and misdemeanors and should be removed.

    Everything else you have to say is irrelevant horse shit. And you know it.

  126. Kurtz says:

    @Kit:

    I understand that. But i don’t agree, especially when it comes to law enforcement.

  127. JohnSF says:

    @andros:
    How are the emails damning?

    I simply cannot see it.
    I repeat, as Tramontano stated in her email, there was no clear reason for believing that Burisma was still a corrupt enterprise in early 2016.
    It might be argued that as Zlochevsky was still the legal owner, the company was still tainted.
    However, Zlochevsky had fled Ukraine in 2014, and the board of directors was actually running the company.

    Regarding the investigations the timing is critical:

    In April 2014 a UK investigation into Burisma, focusing on the period between the company being set up in 2002 and the Ukrainian revolution of early Spring 2014, expressed serious concerns about Ukrainian lack of co-operation.
    It was also linked to Burisma’s dealings with Gazprom and Firtash during this period.

    At about the same time Hunter Biden and Devon Archer joined the board of Burisma.

    Following international pressure, Ukraine opened investigations in August 2014 under Shokin’s predecessor, Yarema. Again, the focus was on the pre-2014 period.

    Following UK and US disquiet at lack of progress, Shokin replaced Yarema in February 2015.

    By Autumn 2015 Shokin was increasingly seen as equally inept and/or corrupt, and dismissed in March 2016 after pressure from the US, UK and EU, and by Ukrainians as well.

    In February 2016 Joseph Cofer Black joins the board, Tramontano sends her emails.

    As the investigations were in relation to the company pre-2014, there seems no reason for Hunter Biden or Devon Archer to have been concerned with any implications for them.

    If there were, and Joe Biden were trying to protect his son, then it seems to me that he would have wanted to support Shokin, not get rid of him.

    Shokin’s post-dismissal allegations appear consistent with pique at Joe Biden’s role in his dismissal.

    If there is reason to investigate or prosecute Hunter Biden, or Joe Biden, or both, in the US or the Ukraine, well, let the appropriate authorities do so.
    Not try to gin up a smear by pressurising a foreign government with “(im)plausible deniability”

    Also, I’ll say again:
    – US support for Ukraine a threatened by Russia is not at all inconsequential

    – Giuliani’s involvement with associates of Firtash was foolish at best

    – If pressure on Ukraine reflected concern with corruption, why did that concern suddenly evaporate when the Zelensky phone calls and Giuliani “diplomacy” became public?

  128. mattbernius says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    This is not to say that Grassley’s inquiry is unwarranted, just that his letter (well, his and johnson’s) attempts to blur the lines to make it appear there’s reason to suspect Joe Biden too.

    The blurring appears to be a clear intent of the Solomon reporting, that evidence suggests may have been coordinated with Giuliani.

    As with you, I agree, there’s no question that the Senate has the right to investigate. I do however scratch my head that an email that has yet to be released can be considered so “damning” let alone that it’s contents (that have only been described in the briefest of details) are “undisputed.”

    Of course, I reserve the right to say “I was wrong” if new evidence surfaces. Which given that today is Grassely’s deadline, we might have new evidence soon.

  129. DrDaveT says:

    @JohnSF:

    If pressure on Ukraine reflected concern with corruption, why did that concern suddenly evaporate when the Zelensky phone calls and Giuliani “diplomacy” became public?

    Seriously. Not only has Trump never shown a hint of interest in fighting corruption by anyone not named Biden, he also dropped that interest as soon as it became known that the investigation would have been at his instigation.

    I keep waiting for @andros to make the argument that Trump should have stuck to his guns and insisted on Ukraine investigating Biden because there’s nothing wrong with him doing that and he’s doing it purely out of selfless moral outrage. He hasn’t gone there, though. Weird.