Pelosi Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry

The escalation has been rapid, dramatic, and warranted.

“#USAxAUS” by White House is in the Public Domain

In the context of a rapidly developing story regarding Trump’s phone calls with the Ukrainian president, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi officially announced a formal impeachment inquiry today:

“The actions of the Trump presidency revealed the dishonorable fact of the President’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi said in a brief speech in the Capitol. “Therefore, today, I am announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”

[…]

So far, as many as 161 House Democrats have publicly stated their support for an impeachment inquiry into Trump, according to a CNN count, and that doesn’t include the House Democrats who’ve said in recent days that the President’s behavior is a turning point in Democrats’ oversight into the administration.

Source: CNN: Nancy Pelosi announces formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump

Exactly what form this inquiry will take is unclear at the moment. Today’s announcement is the latest dramatic turn in a story that has quickly gone from a confrontation over a whistle-blower’s allegations to an impeachment inquiry. Trump went from “fake news” to admitting that he brought up Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in a phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky–all in the context of both US aid to Ukraine and the fact that the Trump campaign has been seeking to find dirt on Biden from Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Trump promised today to release the transcript of the call:

“I am currently at the United Nations representing our Country, but have authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine,” Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

“You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo! This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!”

Source: WaPo, Trump says he has authorized release of transcript of call with the Ukrainian president.

So, we will soon be able to see the contents of the call that has created such controversy. Whether that encompasses the entirety of the whistle-blower report of not, we won’t know. However, it will give us some clarity into what was said to Zelensky.

The tweet quoted above may be a preview, as Trump seems unwilling to let go of the Biden reference. If he didn’t mention Biden on the call, why does he keep bringing up Biden every chance he gets? It’s as if he and his campaign have had a months-long strategy to link Biden to corruption in Ukraine.

If Trump mentioned Biden at all, then he is in very big trouble, because the only logical reason to mention Biden is because Biden is a high-probability opponent in the elections. If he mentioned Giuliani in the call, then that directly connects Trump’s personal agent to the inquiry (Giuliani does not work for the US government. He works for Trump).

I would note, too, that Trump admitted to holding off on payments to Ukraine, but later giving in to the payments.

Also Tuesday, Trump confirmed that he withheld military aid from Ukraine, saying he did so over his concerns that the United States was contributing more to Ukraine than were European countries.

“My complaint has always been, and I’d withhold again and I’ll continue to withhold until such time as Europe and other nations contribute to Ukraine because they’re not doing it,” Trump told reporters at the United Nations General Assembly.

Source: ibid.

One of the most remarkable aspects of all this is that Trump appears to have admitted to the core issues. The issue just becomes how to assess these actions.

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. MarkedMan says:

    [Excerpted from my post on another tread]
    I’ve said from the first time he tossed his hat in the ring that the most important thing to realize about Trump is that he is a profoundly stupid person. He doesn’t even have the animal cunning that allows some stupid but vicious people to survive. His income comes from two sources: those who find him a useful idiot in furtherance of their own schemes, and those pathetic souls so unsophisticated and in need of validation that they sign up for the blatantly corrupt schemes his employees come up with on his behalf.

    I can’t imagine why anyone would still think he has any kind of intelligence at all but all the proof you need is this latest Ukraine thing. Set aside the fact that it is an immoral, faithless, sellout of our country. He did it in such an inept way that even if the Ukraine had been willing to go along he backed them into a corner so they would have had their fingerprints all over it and been crucified by the US at the next change in administration. He came up with this harebrained scheme in his tiny animalistic brain and sent Rudy Giuliani off on a barn storming mission. Giuliani couldn’t have been more noticeable running through church naked. Then, to top it off, Trump blatantly tried to blackmail the Ukrainian government with witnesses on the line. Someone with even moderate intelligence could have done it in such a way that the Ukrainians got the message without leaving fingerprints, and given them room to comply without seeming to do a corrupt President’s bidding. But Trump isn’t moderately intelligent. He’s not even minimally intelligent. He’s quite simply a moron.

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  2. Kathy says:

    I bet the Pervert in Chief will use the opening of the Inquiry as a reason no to release the transcript he said he would.

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  3. Jay Loren Gischer says:

    @Kathy: That’s entirely possible, but my thought is that they reviewed the transcript and think they can spin it into “nothing to see here”. Meanwhile, they will stonewall on the whistleblower report, which I think is probably more important, since there have been mentions of “repeated promises”. Which might have taken place via multiple channels on multiple days.

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  4. James Joyner says:

    I’ve been at work stuff all day and am just catching up. I concur with Steven’s post entirely.

    For the record, I thought Pelosi was right for the right reasons not to pursue impeachment after the Mueller report. And I think she’s right for the right reasons to pursue it given recent developments vis-a-vis Ukraine.

    I’m still more than skeptical that Senate Republicans will fulfil their oath. But, at some point, simply drawing a line in the sand is more important than political outcomes.

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  5. michael reynolds says:

    The only surprise is that it has taken this long to get to impeachment.

    The notion that Trump was innocent of collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 election went up in smoke when he tried the exact same trick with Ukraine. All the little Trumpaloons who said ‘he’d never!’ just had their legs kicked out from under them. Of course he did it: he’s still doing it.

    There’s a reason I kept asking the trolls to give us an innocent, plausible explanation for Trump’s refusal to allow any other American to be in the room when he’s polishing Putin’s boots. There is no innocent, plausible answer, obviously. Obviously. Of course Trump colluded, of course he’s owned by Putin, fking duh.

    But as @MarkedMan: points out you have to just be a moron to do this same trick again, to try and steal re-election. I mean, my God, I’ve always said he was stupid, but what the hell? Stupid and senile maybe?

    One last point: Trump was never the legitimate president of the United States.

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  6. charon says:

    @MarkedMan:

    He’s not even minimally intelligent. He’s quite simply a moron.

    Correction, he once was merely stupid. Now, his dementia has progressed to the point he is now non compos mentis.

    I believe the more imaginative and perceptive of the GOP are beginning to get a clue he will progress farther and develop into an electoral handicap.

    (See, for example, the sleepytime speech he just gave to the UN, pretty abnormal).

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  7. mattbernius says:

    Cosign everything above. One interesting point:

    If he mentioned Giuliani in the call, then that directly connects Trump’s personal agent to the inquiry (Giuliani does not work for the US government. He works for Trump).

    Giuliani is now claiming that the State Department asked him to pursue this. This is something Pompeo intentionally avoided addressing on the Sunday news shows. If he was acting that capacity, not only does that bring State leadership into the mix, but I believe it also means he may not be able to claim either attorney client privilege or (possibly) executive privilege.

    I think it’s also noteworthy that Pelosi is strongly stating that a quib pro quo is not necessary. This cannot be repeated enough.

    I thought Pelosi was right for the right reasons not to pursue impeachment after the Mueller report. And I think she’s right for the right reasons to pursue it given recent developments vis-a-vis Ukraine.

    Agreed. Further, I’ve seen some analysis that suggests by keeping her powder dry for this long (and looking for a bumper sticker scandal), she also has avoided appearing overly political. I tend to think this is part of the calculus.

    Definitely she’s demonstrating she is probably the most politically astute of the current major players.

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  8. al Ameda says:

    I see this very simply:

    Trump is daring Democrats to impeach him because he honestly believes that they do not have the stomach for the fight. He thinks Democrats are afraid of, and he knows that Senate Republicans do not want that fight either.

    Democrats can proceed and do this is a very cold blooded manner.
    They can use the Mueller Report as the baseline for obstruction items, then add items, like asking the Ukraine to investigate a political opponent, to the articles of impeachment. Then, tightly control the proceedings, hold the vote, impeach him, throw it to the Senate and let them do as Mitch tells them to do.

    Trump only respect power, only respect a person who will punch back. Now is the time. Sure Trump’s base will be upset, but really, when are they NOT upset. The Democratic Base? They’ll be very amped up, it would energize the same folks who showed up in 2018.

    Also, it would be the right … thing … to … do …

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  9. Teve says:

    @charon: I mention this in no way to endorse it but simply as an interesting fact, several political observers on Twitter over the past week have said that Mike Pence’s wife is behaving like women do when they are about to be the next first lady. FWIW.

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  10. An Interested Party says:

    The only thing more incredible than the fact that he is actually admitting to all of this is that his toadies are still carrying water for him…their most recent argument is that this is nothing more than yet another attempt by the evil socialists/communists to take him down and void a legitimate election…the delusion is incredible with these people…I guess there is nothing he could ever do that would cause them to turn on him…well, maybe people like McConnell will turn on him when things start getting really uncomfortable for them…

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  11. @mattbernius:

    Giuliani is now claiming that the State Department asked him to pursue this. This is something Pompeo intentionally avoided addressing on the Sunday news shows. If he was acting that capacity, not only does that bring State leadership into the mix, but I believe it also means he may not be able to claim either attorney client privilege or (possibly) executive privilege.

    There is something to this, and something I was going to read up and post about. At the moment I think that there is a highly problematic connection between State and the president’s re-election campaign that will just make this situation even worse than it already appears to be.

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  12. Scott says:

    Now that this step is taken I will be watching to see how this inquiry be executed. How will the committees react to the stonewalling this Administration continually engages in. Will they try to drag the Courts into it or will Congress use its powers to the fullest extent including powers of contempt and perhaps even more powerful the power of the purse.

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  13. Lynn says:

    @Teve: “Mike Pence’s wife is behaving like women do when they are about to be the next first lady”

    And how is it that women behave under such circumstances? ? Can one generalize? I can’t believe that Melania and Michelle behaved the same way. Or Rosalynn like either one of them.

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  14. Jen says:

    @mattbernius:

    I’ve seen some analysis that suggests by keeping her powder dry for this long (and looking for a bumper sticker scandal), she also has avoided appearing overly political.

    I had this thought earlier this afternoon–she was smart to hold off before. Speaker Pelosi, like powerful women everywhere, is consistently underestimated. I hope she’s as good as I think she is.

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  15. Kathy says:

    The timing will be of interest. I’m sure the Democrats in the House could wrap it up relatively quickly, and hand out articles of impeachment before year’s end. If so, the Senate, meaning Moscow Mitch himself, would also want all deliberate speed and a conclusion before the Primary season gets underway.

    I guess it might favor the Democrats to be thorough and take their time, so that the trial might be held around April or May 2020, or even later. This might help the Republicans challenging Trump for the nomination, which should weaken him further. It may be he won’t be removed nor will he resign, but perhaps he will lose the nomination.

    It’s too far to speculate as yet, of course, but that would make popcorn stocks rise really, really high.

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  16. An Interested Party says:

    At the moment I think that there is a highly problematic connection between State and the president’s re-election campaign that will just make this situation even worse than it already appears to be.

    This, of course, is part of a pattern by this president who seems to think the government is supposed to serve his personal needs and interests…I’d love to see an argument by any of his supporters how that is a legitimate function of the government…

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  17. charon says:

    @Teve:

    I see the GOP as an outright cult living in its own reality. As such, they might circle the wagons and protect Trump for quite a long time, the GOP base would totally buy that.

    The Murdoch properties, Fox News, WSJ, NY Post could be a bellweather, if they ever pull the plug on Trump that could be a tipping point. (Possibly a sign of recognition Trump is becoming an electoral liability, careerist pols would hate that).

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  18. inhumans99 says:

    I am going to keep this short and to the point (I know, I know, y’all just let out a chuckle given how long some of my past missives have been).

    I feel we are about to discover that President Trump’s popularity is a mile wide but an inch deep and it may surprise people how fast Republicans abandon him as more information comes out.

    See…short and sweet, as promised.

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  19. Kathy says:

    A few caveats are in order:

    1) It’s an inquiry. Meaning an investigation into what appears to be wrongdoing. While I’m sure El Cheeto is guilty of massive wrongdoing, the facts available may not be sufficient to prove it, or they may prove ambiguous. So the inquiry might not end in articles of impeachment. I’m even open to the possibility, however remote, that the facts may prove him not guilty.

    2) Expect the GOP to go into maximum obstruction mode.

    3) Violence may erupt among Dennison’s deplorables, either out of anger or desperation. It might be worth repeating, frequently, how the Trump trade War has been hurting many of them.

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  20. JKB says:

    Trump knows what was said in the call. Trump knows what’s in the “whistleblower” complaint. Trump knows what the Ukraine sent to the DoJ about efforts to enlist them in the 2016 collusion against Trump, that disappeared in the DoJ.

    Everyone else is dealing with speculations, many barely tied to any facts. It will be interesting.

    Also, interesting how, yet again when Trump is dealing with foreign leaders, some hostile, the Democrats scheme to undermine him in the eyes of those leaders. Whose working against the interests of the United States?

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  21. Gustopher says:

    I would have preferred using the threat of official impeachment as leverage to get the full whistleblower complaint, and starting this on Thursday, right after the DNI testifies, if it is not delivered, or if it leads that way, or if the Ukraine thing demands it (it does, by the way).

    I expect the Trump Administration to stonewall even more now, and lock Rudy Giuliani in a closet, and try to force Trump to not speak about it. I expect the complaint to point to additional information that would make this case even more clear.

    And two more days of unrestrained Giuliani and Trump would have been lovely. They are so bad at this.

    But, that’s a minor complaint. It’s on, bitches.

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  22. @JKB: Your partisan sycophancy really is incredible to behold.

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  23. Gustopher says:

    @JKB: Perhaps if Trump did not want to be impeached, he should have cooperated with congress, released the whistleblower complaint to the appropriate committees as required by law, and then explained why there’s an innocent explanation for all of it.

    I don’t think there is an innocent explanation, but, if there were one, that’s what someone who doesn’t want to be impeached and is innocent would do.

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  24. Jax says:

    @inhumans99: I agree, I think the Senate deciding “unanimously” to pursue the whistleblower report may be the beginning of the end. Right now, I suspect there are a lot of state GOP leaders wondering if they can walk back that “no primary” decision they made, and even Moscow Mitch may see Trump’s support in the Senate beginning to leak like a sieve.

    It’s not too late to get a “sane Republican” into the race. That pretty much leaves it wide open, compared to Trump.

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  25. mattbernius says:

    @JKB:

    Also, interesting how, yet again when Trump is dealing with foreign leaders, some hostile, the Democrats scheme to undermine him in the eyes of those leaders.

    Just out of curiosity, what was your thoughts on the Republican Senator’s open letter to Iran in the midst of the JCPOA negotiations?

    Because welcome to the effing karma wheel.

    I hope you were internally consistent and attacked them then for that particular move.

    Everyone else is dealing with speculations, many barely tied to any facts.

    Except the ones that, you know, the President and his personal attorney have already stated aloud. Multiple times.

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  26. mattbernius says:

    I asked you about how your felt about the Iran letter… As it turns out, I was able to find some of what you wrote about it…

    @JKB:

    Also, interesting how, yet again when Trump is dealing with foreign leaders, some hostile, the Democrats scheme to undermine him in the eyes of those leaders.

    Huh… ok, let’s check JKB from 2015 on the Iran letter:

    What undermining? The letter simply explained our Constitutional process for making agreements with foreign powers binding.

    source: https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/tom-cotton-and-mutiny/#comment-2003027

    Wow… Huh… I mean, clearly that didn’t bother you. Aren’t the Democrats just enacting their constitutional oversight role?

    BTW, going through the archive you used to complain about Obama playing golf a lot… how are you feeling about how Trump has lapped him? Seriously, looking at your past comments is really revealing about how much you’ve flipped a lot of core critical positions…

    Definitely looking forward to your response…

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  27. Teve says:

    @mattbernius: POTW!

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  28. Chip Daniels says:

    @Lynn:
    Your comment is well stated, but the mental image of Mrs. Pence spotted out shopping for drapery does make one smile.

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  29. JKB says:

    @mattbernius:

    There is a difference between a party to any agreement weighing in, even as the president is negotiating and efforts being made to create the appearance the that the president is not politically secure even for his set term.

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  30. Moosebreath says:

    Meanwhile, Heidi Przybyla of NBC posted that Trump called Pelosi to “figure this out”. Pelosi’s response “Tell your people to obey the law”.

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  31. @JKB:

    There is a difference between a party to any agreement weighing in, even as the president is negotiating and efforts being made to create the appearance the that the president is not politically secure even for his set term.

    Is the root of your argument that the President should be able to get away with violating the law when talking to a foreign leader and if Congress calls him on it that they are undermining US foreign policy?

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  32. mattbernius says:

    @JKB:

    efforts being made to create the appearance the that the president is not politically secure even for his set term.

    So your position is that congress should not execute oversight while the executive is in office…

    Do you have a newsletter I can subscribe to? I think you have some really interesting theories.

    BTW, are your denying that Trump said he discussed Biden’s corruption with the Ukrainians? Just curious, because I’d hate to mischaracterize your reading of the President’s public statements.

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  33. MarkedMan says:

    Part of Republican equations must be the thought that if Trump is not removed from office they will have 5 more years of this. And if they think they can keep their heads low and let someone else take the fall they should speculate just how long will it take before he starts making “deals” for the seats they now hold. A potential business partners thinks his son would make a good Representative or governor? Do you think an unconstrained Trump would hesitate to throw over a loyal (read “craven) Republican in return for a hotel deal?

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  34. MarkedMan says:

    You people are arguing with a Trumper. You think he believes what he is saying or that catching him out in logical inconsistencies is going to penetrate? Logic and belief don’t enter into it. He’s chosen a team and he is loyal to the end. You could replace Trump with a bag of sh*t on a stick and a Trumper will defend it in exactly the same way.

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  35. An Interested Party says:

    I feel we are about to discover that President Trump’s popularity is a mile wide but an inch deep and it may surprise people how fast Republicans abandon him as more information comes out.

    I’ve often wondered if Trump’s popularity with his base was more noise than reality…once Republicans realize that he is a wounded animal, I would expect them to turn on him immediately, perhaps a bit of an uncivil war within the GOP? Funny how someone is powerful until all of a sudden, he’s not…

    Whose working against the interests of the United States?

    Your fluffing for this president is pathetic…don’t you have any self respect?

    @Moosebreath: Best line from that thread, “Nancy responded that we don’t need anymore paper towels, either.” And speaking of self respect, if he actually asked her that, he’s as pitiful as JKB, which is saying a lot…

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  36. Neil Hudelson says:

    I was looking forward to watching Trumpskyites lose it by week’s end, but I didn’t expect it to occur within hours. This

    There is a difference between a party to any agreement weighing in, even as the president is negotiating and efforts being made to create the appearance the that the president is not politically secure even for his set term.

    is breathtakingly stupid.

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  37. Jax says:

    @MarkedMan: Aww, c’mon, man, I’m really enjoying Matt throwing this back in his face!

    EVERY SINGLE TRUMP REPUBLICAN should spend the next 14 months asking themselves if they want “this fucking guy” in the White House.

    You all probably remember the ads made from “Everything you can do I can do better”, from Annie Get Your Gun, right? Every Democratic candidate should do that ad, and any Republicans wanting to run.

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  38. michael reynolds says:

    This is all, 100%, the fault of 46% of American voters. If you elect a stupid, racist, woman-hating, corrupt ignoramus what exactly do you expect to happen? Of course Trump was going to be impeached. None of this is at all surprising. This whole sad three years has been a character study of a bad man and the weaklings, liars and racist scumbags (pick one, two or super size with all three, @JKB🙂 who toady him, the little mini-liars content to play minion to a clown.

    Now Trump will go down in history alongside Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon. It’s gonna be a fierce competition for the position of worst president ever. But here’s what @JKB and @Guarneri and the rest of the fools will never see: vindication. He’s a bad man, a bad president, and you are bad Americans and will be seen as such by history.

    Trump is not, has never been, and will never be the legitimate president of the United States – you can win an election, or you can steal an election but that which you steal you cannot win.

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  39. An Interested Party says:

    Mona Charen, of all people, makes the case against Trump: Since When Does Trump Care About Corruption?

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  40. JKB says:

    @mattbernius: So your position is that congress should not execute oversight while the executive is in office…

    No, I’m saying their timing is interesting.

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  41. JKB says:

    @michael reynolds: Now Trump will go down in history alongside Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.

    Not yet. Nancy just announced what Nadler announce last week or so ago. There’s been no vote in the House to impeach. No vote to even start formal proceedings. Just Nancy muttering some words that change nothing in reality. Maybe, if Nancy undercuts Nadler, she’ll appoint a special committee which will have no more power than the current committees, just a fancy title.

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  42. mattbernius says:

    @JKB:

    No, I’m saying their timing is interesting.

    So, what’s particularly interesting about their timing?

    Clearly you have a grand theory…

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  43. Jax says:

    @JKB: There are a lot of Republican leaders.. who are not you… currently shitting their diapers. How do you feel about President Kasich/Romney/Pence, JKB?

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  44. Gustopher says:

    @mattbernius: They let Impeachment O’Clock pass and waited until Impeachment Thirty?

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  45. DrDaveT says:

    Is it too early to worry about how apocalyptically bad for America even a brief Pence presidency would be? Trump is a human turd, but Pence is dangerous.

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  46. Jax says:

    @DrDaveT: Yeah. He actually knows how “bills that become Law get passed”. Same with Kasich and Romney.

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  47. rachel says:

    @DrDaveT: “The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” C. S. Lewis

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  48. EddieInCA says:

    What this last week has proven to me, finally, and without doubt, is that people who still support Trump are cult members more than patriotic Americans. Even freaking Rod Dreher, David French, Erick Erickson, and a few other conservatives are calling out Trump supporters for possibly ignoring serious crimes committed by the President.

    And as a few on this thread have proven, there is no position they won’t change to protect Dear Leader.

    The ads against Trump for 2020 will write themselves, and they don’t need narration. Just Trump’s own words. They will literally use Trump’s own words and video to show him failing on all his promises, except for judges and tax cuts.

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  49. Moosebreath says:

    @EddieInCA:

    ” They will literally use Trump’s own words and video to show him failing on all his promises, except for judges and tax cuts.”

    Only judges. His promises on tax cuts included that it would not benefit him personally, and would primarily benefit the middle class.

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  50. Neil Hudelson says:

    JKB’s Grand Theory of Timing must be a long one. He’s taking forever to get back to us.

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  51. Teve says:

    Just to get this off my chest, I hope I don’t have to sit through too many rounds of griping from various slightly different factions of the progressive movement about how impeachment has been handled well or badly by Nancy Pelosi and, more generally, by Democrats in Congress. Whatever else you can say, none of this is their fault.

    It’s the fault of a Republican Party that went over the edge of partisan rage and destruction long ago. They’re the ones who tried at every turn to prevent President Obama from rescuing the economy after he took office. They’re the ones who were willing to die on the hill of protecting tax cuts for the rich. They’re the ones who have relentlessly gerrymandered and suppressed the black vote because that’s good for Republicans. They’re the ones who spent years trying to tar Hillary Clinton over Benghazi. They’re the ones who stonewalled the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. They’re the ones who got so caught up in their own loathing of Hillary Clinton that they turned away from the pussy tape and voted for Trump anyway. They’re the ones who spent their first year in office desperately trying to take away health care for the poor and working classes.

    Democrats don’t always cover themselves in glory. But Trump is in office because the Republican Party put him there, and he’s gotten away with everything so far because the Republican Party has let him. No one should ever forget that.

    -kevin drum

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  52. Kathy says:

    @An Interested Party:

    I assume he cares a great deal about corruption when he doesn’t get a cut of some kind.

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  53. Teve says:

    Paul Waldman
    @paulwaldman1

    Right now there are about a hundred conservative grifters putting together email solicitations saying “Send $45 to stop the socialists’ impeachment and protect President Trump!” Gullible Fox viewers will write checks, which will go right into the grifters’ bank accounts.
    8:59 AM · Sep 25, 2019·

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  54. @JKB:

    No, I’m saying their timing is interesting.

    That’s the kind of thing people who have no evidence of argument say.

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  55. @rachel:

    Is it too early to worry about how apocalyptically bad for America even a brief Pence presidency would be? Trump is a human turd, but Pence is dangerous.

    A few thoughts:

    1. Pence worries me because he wants to be president so badly that he was willing to carry Trump’s water.

    but,

    2. Pence will be a far more traditional president–not the mercurial carnival barker we currently have.

    3. If (and that is a huge IF) Trump is removed, the new president will have very limited latitude (or time) to act in office.

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  56. mattbernius says:

    @JKB:

    Trump knows what was said in the call. Trump knows what’s in the “whistleblower” complaint. Trump knows what the Ukraine sent to the DoJ about efforts to enlist them in the 2016 collusion against Trump, that disappeared in the DoJ.

    Hey JKB, how’s that working out for you… and the PoTUS?

    Trump: “I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation in Ukraine … There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that. So whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … it sounds horrible to me.”

    Source: Official Whitehouse Release…

    BTW, seems pretty close to all the speculation… Though perhaps worse.

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  57. @mattbernius: Indeed. It sounds a lot more like some rando who watches too much TV rather than the President of the United States.

    “There’s a lot of talk” and “a lot people want to find out about that” are about as vague as one can get.

    And if there is something to actually investigate, well, you know, there is a vast bureaucracy capable of such. There is meticulous process. However, surreptitious mentions on a phone call and personal attorneys going on trip ain’t part of that process, at least not if a legitimate investigation is to be undertaken.

    I can already tell, from multiple sources, that the RWM response to this is to ramp up the volume on the “questions” about Biden and to ignore the president’s largely self-admitted malfeasance.

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  58. Teve says:

    @mattbernius: in 72 hours JKB’s argument will be “He didn’t say ‘Simon Says Commit a Crime!!!!'”

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  59. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Equally bad is:

    “I would like you to do us a favor,” Trump asked President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to the official account released on Wednesday.

    Emphasis on *favor.* Which has lots of implications.

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  60. @mattbernius: I don’t have time to blog about it right now, but transcript is far more damning than I thought would be the case. It is stunning.

    And even more stunning, Trump seems to think it exonerates him.

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  61. charon says:

    @Teve:

    The GOP is an actual straightforward cult, and the way cults naturally function is is it is natural for grifters to assume the leadership roles.

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “There’s a lot of talk” and “a lot people want to find out about that” are about as vague as one can get.

    Trump’s understanding of issues and ability to function is severely compromised by the progressing dementia. That is why he stalls questioners off with responses like “We’ll see what happens,” it is because he is incapable of a thoughtful response to querys.

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  62. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And even more stunning, Trump seems to think it exonerates him.

    When Trump was newly born, his proud papa took him to his social club to show him off. While bragging, he kept saying he’d be a great businessman, “You can tell,” papa Trump said, “by how he clenches his fists whenever he grabs something.”

    “I think not,” says a Senator of his acquaintance. “He’s going to be a politician. You can tell because he just messed his diapers, and he’s smiling.”

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  63. wr says:

    @DrDaveT: “Is it too early to worry about how apocalyptically bad for America even a brief Pence presidency would be?”

    Because Trump insists on destroying everyone who serves him, Pence is up to his eyeballs in the Ukraine thing, having given Ukraine the message, too. We’d be far more likely to see President Pelosi that a President Pence who was actually able to accomplish anything… My guess is he’d be in office long enough to pardon everyone involved and then he’d have to flee.

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  64. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And even more stunning, Trump seems to think it exonerates him.

    Exactly — given that this is a reconstruction if this is the best they can come up with, things are not going well.

    Among the other points, you have the Ukrainian President talking about all the Military aide that he hopes to get *prior* to Trump literally asking for that favor.

    And then there’s the fact the Ukrainian President goes out of his way to talk about staying in a Trump hotel while in NYC. Definitely no attempts to curry favor there…

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  65. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Yeah seems like it, and that was talking point 4 on Laura Ingraham last night–“Democrats put hatred of Trump over national security.”

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  66. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    They will literally use Trump’s own words and video to show him failing on all his promises, except for judges and tax cuts.

    Unfortunately, we’re talking about Republicans, so those are the only two promises that matter.

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  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    3. If (and that is a huge IF) Trump is removed, the new president will have very limited latitude (or time) to act in office.

    True, but Pence may be more likely to be reelected and will require even more GOTV by Democrats, with, potentially, fewer “swing” voters to turn, in order to prevail.

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  68. @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    but Pence may be more likely to be reelected

    I am not sure this would be the, actually. He lacks Trump’s grifter skills and in this scenario, he would be tainted by the Trump admin. To get to removal would mean a serious public turn against the sitting administration.

    ReplyReply
  69. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Pence will be a far more traditional president

    At present, what this means is that Pence will be a far more effective GOP tool to implement policies increasing wealth disparity, eliminating safety nets and health care, guaranteeing maximum global warming impacts, and appointing reactionary SCOTUS justices.

    Fortunately, there is a Democratic majority in the House at the moment. Had Pence been President from the start of this administration, the damage would probably be irreparable.

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  70. @DrDaveT:

    Had Pence been President from the start of this administration, the damage would probably be irreparable.

    This is, in my opinion, the kind of thing that Republicans point out that make them not listen to critiques of Trump. If all Republicans are The Devil, then what is the big deal about Trump (basically they argue, not without cause, that Dems have cried wolf for so long that no one believes them now about actual wolf in the WH).

    I am not saying Pence would be a good president or that I want his policy preferences. But if Pence would truly be worse than Trump, that means Trump really isn’t that bad after all.

    ReplyReply
  71. It isn’t just about policy preferences. A Pence presidency would not have the same level of clown show in the cabinet, for example.

    ReplyReply

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