RealClear Reveals Whistleblower Name, Foments Conspiracy Theory

The man who sparked the investigation into the President's illegal conduct has been outed in a futile attempt to discredit it.

Paul Sperry, writing for RealClearInvestigations, has revealed the name and dug into the background of the whistleblower who first reported President Trump’s phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart conditioning US security cooperation on an investigation of Joe Biden’s son.

The premise of the report is that the name is “an open secret.”

For a town that leaks like a sieve, Washington has done an astonishingly effective job keeping from the American public the name of the anonymous “whistleblower” who triggered impeachment proceedings against President Trump — even though his identity is an open secret inside the Beltway.

Presumably, it’s because whistleblowers are subject to substantial protection under US law and most government officials respect the need for that protection. And because it’s taken as a given that the revelation of his name not only puts him and his family in danger but makes it less likely that others will blow the whistle in the future.

Further, the whistleblower himself became irrelevant to the story almost immediately, because the White House released a written summary of the call and numerous officials have testified on the record that the call was part of a larger pressure campaign on Ukraine to help dig up dirt on a political rival.

RealClearInvestigations is disclosing the name because of the public’s interest in learning details of an effort to remove a sitting president from office. Further, the official’s status as a “whistleblower” is complicated by his being a hearsay reporter of accusations against the president, one who has “some indicia of an arguable political bias … in favor of a rival political candidate” — as the Intelligence Community Inspector General phrased it circumspectly in originally fielding his complaint.

This is a rather bizarre spin. First, there’s zero public interest in knowing this official’s name. Second, “hearsay” covers admissibility of testimony in court; it has nothing to do with the case at hand here. Third, the whistleblower’s claims were investigated by the Inspector General and found credible. Fourth, his account of both the call itself and the subsequent abuse of the classification process by placing it in a codeword-level system have all been proven accurate. Fifth, most people who work in government have political preferences; his claims about Trump’s behaviors were vetted and subsequently proven true.

Sperry continues the smear, referring to the whistleblower as

a registered Democrat held over from the Obama White House, [who] previously worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan, a vocal critic of Trump who helped initiate the Russia “collusion” investigation of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

The overwhelming number of the NSC staff are career professionals, seconded from their agencies to serve. They are chosen for their promise and expertise, not their partisan leanings. They tend to be held over between administrations to provide continuity.

As to Brennan, I think he’s harmed his professional standing by his anti-Trump antics since retirement. But he isn’t a partisan hack but an outstanding career official who served Presidents of both parties with distinction.

“Collusion” should be in scare quotes only because it is a term coined by Trump and his supporters rather than a legal one. That his campaign engaged in illegal and untoward actions with Russia during the 2016 campaign was well-documented in the report issued by former FBI Director Robert Mueller. He has testified under oath that he would have recommended criminal charges against Trump were it not DOJ policy that a sitting President is not subject to indictment.

Sperry contends the whistleblower

left his National Security Council posting in the White House’s West Wing in mid-2017 amid concerns about negative leaks to the media. He has since returned to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

“He was accused of working against Trump and leaking against Trump,” said a former NSC official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

That’s right, folks: Sperry protects the identity of a leaker violating the whistleblower law but thinks the name of the whistleblower himself should be made public.

I have no idea whether the whistleblower was actually “leaking against Trump” or merely caught in a purge of career professionals. As a general rule, I oppose leaks as a violation of trust. But, again, it has no bearing on the case at hand: his report as to the President’s activities in the Ukraine matter has been borne out.

Sperry contends that the whistleblower

huddled for “guidance” with the staff of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, including former colleagues also held over from the Obama era whom Schiff’s office had recently recruited from the NSC. (Schiff is the lead prosecutor in the impeachment inquiry.)

This is sufficiently cryptic as to be impossible to unpack. But it’s perfectly appropriate for an intelligence officer to meet with the staff of the House Intelligence Committee for guidance.

There’s more to the report but it’s more of the same: argument by innuendo that the whistleblower was a partisan Democrat who opposed Trump’s foreign policy aims. But, even if it were true, it’s irrelevant. Again: his whistleblower report was deemed credible by the intelligence community’s Inspector General. Its contents have since been independently corroborated not only by the White House itself but numerous other officials, many of whom were personally appointed by Trump.

RealClearInvestigations is an arm of the RealClear family of sites. I’ve followed their flagship site, RealClearPolitics, since at least 2003 (it’s been in operation since 2000), frequently citing its polling aggregator here. I’ve written numerous pieces for RealClearDefense and RealClearWorld over the years. While they’ve always had a libertarian-Republican lean, I’m astonished that they’re publishing garbage conspiracy theories like this.

FILED UNDER: Media
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jen says:

    I had really, really hoped that this person could be protected. Your post is spot-on that none of RealClearInvestigation’s attempts at justification for releasing this name are valid.

    The person’s identity doesn’t matter anyway–the multiple other individuals who have come forth and testified recently have all verified what he had to say.

    Shame on RealClear.

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  2. M. Bouffant says:

    Surprised they couldn’t work George Soros into that one.

    While they’ve always had a libertarian-Republican lean, I’m astonished that they’re publishing garbage conspiracy theories like this.

    Every one on the right seems to have been infected. And if they keep digging their hole deeper, they’re going to have to double & then triple down.

    Will not be pretty when it all collapses.

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  3. Teve says:

    Spencer Ackerman has been saying that Devin Nunes’s people have been spreading the name around.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I predict the whislteblower will get thousands of death threats, be forced to move his family into hiding at great uncompensated expense, eventually quits/gets fired from his job at the CIA because the environment had become toxic/he was no longer a contributing team player, and eventually finds a private sector job paying half what compatriots with similar credentials and experience do.

    I also predict that Paul Sperry will get 3 death threats, declare himself to be a martyr for the cause of Truth, Justice and the American Way ™ (as personified by trump), hit the wingnut welfare circuit where he will rake in millions over the next year, then finally settle into a nice cushy sinecure at some right wing “think” tank.

    For the record: Receiving death threats is no fun, been there, done that. But there are death threats, and then there are death threats. One quickly learns to tell the difference. Sperry will be subjected to one type, the whistleblower the other. You can figure out which will be which.

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  5. Jen says:

    Oh good. More off-topic gibberish spam on a thread.

    To be absolutely and 100% clear: the House is performing its Constitutional *obligation* to investigate high crimes and misdemeanors. Doing the job they were hired to do is in no way, shape, or form an in-kind political donation. PERIOD.

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  6. Scott says:

    Apparently, in today’s America, you have to have politically correct thinking to actually serve your country. We are, indeed, turning into a Stalinist country where there will be political officers in all government agencies to ensure political correctness.

    Watching Scalise talk about soviet-style process, you got to remember that anything the right wing says is usually projection.

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  7. mattbernius says:

    (removed because I misread something.)

  8. mattbernius says:

    @Scott:
    Ignore my previous comment. I missed the last and most important paragraph.

  9. Scott F. says:

    That the article cited says this…

    RealClearInvestigations is disclosing the name because of the public’s interest in learning details of an effort to remove a sitting president from office.

    …instead of this…

    RealClearInvestigations is disclosing the name because of the public’s interest in learning details of a sitting president committing illegal acts as though he is above the law.

    …had some indicia of an arguable political bias at RealClearInvestigations.

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  10. gVOR08 says:

    I’m astonished that they’re publishing garbage conspiracy theories like this.

    Perhaps time to review assumptions. I glanced at comments at realclearinvestigations. Don’t know about the staff, but the audience is full on wingnut.

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  11. Teve says:

    @Jen:

    Oh good. More off-topic gibberish spam on a thread.

    did I miss something?

  12. mattbernius says:

    @Teve:
    There was a rambling post that was since removed by a Mod for content reasons. I’d leave it at that.

  13. Scott says:

    @mattbernius: Darn! I missed what you said. BTW, I added that paragraph after the original entry. Advantage of having 15 minutes to edit comments.

  14. Scott says:

    Sperry continues the smear

    I thought the name Paul Sperry sounded familiar so I looked him up. Standard right wing conspiracy theorist who wrote for WorldNetDaily. So he’s been well trained in innuendo and smearing.

  15. mattbernius says:

    At this point, because they are not willing to fight this on substance, all the Republican have is to attack process. Otherwise, they have to go to one of two defenses:

    (1) Yes he did it and there wasn’t anything wrong with that.

    (AKA The fully Mulvaney) – That ultimately would be their best option. But given its reception when Mick tried it, no one seems particularly excited to go down that path.

    The only other one is the “Shambling Hume”:

    (2) Yes he did it, but only because of his political inexperience.

    This makes absolutely no sense as it’s essentially a reminder that he’s unqualified to be president (ignorant of the law) and there’s no longer anyone in the office to prevent him from doing it (they only cover up the mistakes when they happen).

    BTW, from a process standpoint, it seems to me that its becoming increasingly clear that the “real mistake” Clinton made was testifying under oath. Trump’s legal team has done him a great service by keeping him as far away from sworn testimony as possible.

  16. Teve says:

    @mattbernius: at 8 am EDT it’s after 5pm in Bangalore so carry on! 😛

  17. CSK says:

    @Jen: Did Ms. Cris Ericson strike again?

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattbernius:

    Trump’s legal team has done him a great service by keeping him as far away from sworn testimony as possible.

    And now that strategy is biting them in the ass. As someone else pointed out on a different blog yesterday, all the news re Ukraine is bad for trump right now because the only people speaking out are the ones testifying to his crimes and culpability. All the people one might assume who would testify otherwise, have been barred from testifying by the very people who need their presumably exonerating testimony the most. (not to mention all the documents which would assuredly establish trump’s innocence)

    Which means 3 things: These people don’t dare testify because perjury and 2, the trump admin doesn’t trust them to lie/keep their stories straight and 3, the truth is truly damning.

    One doesn’t need to be a genius to figure that out.

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  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Yes. How’d you know???

  20. Joe says:

    A corollary to OzarkHillbilly‘s comment. Republicans are complaining that Democrats are leaking damning tidbits from the closed-door depositions. Does anyone doubt for a moment that Republicans would be leaking exonerating tidbits if there were any?

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  21. Kathy says:

    For years I’ve been visiting Real Clear Science and Real Clear History. No more.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Joe: Considering all the “damning” leaks during the Benghazi “investigations”, no.

  23. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “Off-topic gibberish spam” is sort of a dead giveaway.

  24. KM says:

    I’m astonished that they’re publishing garbage conspiracy theories like this.

    You shouldn’t be. Trump and his minions have been demanding the name of the whistleblower for ages in direct defiance to the law. Why in the world would you think a right-wing publication wouldn’t cater to what their lord and master bids and his devotees crave? Right now, it’s all about protecting Trump, damn the consequences because it’s increasingly seemingly like there *won’t* be consequences for this kind of norm / rule breaking.

    I think you’re shocked because you have a personal connection to them and think you “know” them. James, I hate to break this to you but a LOT of the people you hung out with and worked for on the right are not what you expected. A lot of “good” and “principled” people are turning out to have some seriously questionable underbellies; “who you are in the dark” has become “who you are when Trump or the GOP does X”. It shouldn’t be a surprise so many continue to disappoint, only that half our country is so willing to degrade themselves and our nation for so very little.

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  25. Paul L. says:

    This is a rather bizarre spin. First, there’s zero public interest in knowing this official’s name

    I remember the same talking point for these “credible accusers”.
    Crystal Gail Mangum
    Jackie Coakley
    Christine Blasey Ford

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  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Ah, and here I was thinking you were psycho… I mean psychic. 😉

    eta and speaking of psychos…

  27. mattbernius says:

    James, rereading the post, I was stuck by something. Compliments on your decision to explicitly not repeat the name of the alleged whistleblower in this post.

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  28. Steve V says:

    @KM: The whole right wing alternative narrative – 2016 Dem “collusion,” Russia was a set-up, this is a coup in everything but name only – is so outlandish that you’d think anyone pushing it is either a dittohead or, if they work in government and have access to the real information, a very cynical political operative. I imagine James has many acquaintances he thinks are neither of these things, so there must be other categories of thought on the right that I’m missing?

  29. Nightcrawler says:

    “Disgusting” isn’t the word; there is no word to encompass this.

    This person’s life is ruined now. So are the lives of their family members. About all they can hope for at this point is some other country to offer them political asylum.

    Kudos to you for not reprinting this person’s name.

  30. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    First, I want to commend James for not repeating the name.
    Second, it’s always been my opinion that RealClear’s only value is as a poll aggregator.
    Third, and most importantly;

    There’s more to the report but it’s more of the same: argument by innuendo that the whistleblower was a partisan Democrat who opposed Trump’s foreign policy aims.

    Using taxpayer money to coerce a foreign country to fabricate dirt on your domestic political opponents IS NOT Foreign Policy. It is bribery, and it is illegal.

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  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Using taxpayer money to coerce a foreign country to fabricate dirt on your domestic political opponents IS NOT Foreign Policy.

    Well, it was and remains trump’s foreign policy aims.

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  32. Kathy says:

    @mattbernius:

    I’m surprised the name isn’t all over the news by now. At CNN and The Guardian, if they’ve reported the outing it’s not prominent enough to see right away. A hasty search of news in Google, brought up results only from right wing sites.

    In the 90s, when William Kennedy Smith raped a woman, her identity was kept confidential, until it was leaked. As I recall some news outlets began using her name, as it was already out, while others still refrained until she chose to come out publicly.

  33. Jen says:

    @CSK: You guessed correctly.

  34. James Joyner says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Using taxpayer money to coerce a foreign country to fabricate dirt on your domestic political opponents IS NOT Foreign Policy. It is bribery, and it is illegal.

    Sure. The argument in the story is that the whistleblower opposed the general direction of Trump’s foreign policy vis-a-vis Russia and Ukraine. There was no substantive discussion of this point but it’s certainly possible; most of the natsec community does so. It just doesn’t make whistleblowing on actually illegal conduct problematic.

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  35. Thomas Hilton says:

    The nutty thing about this is that their “smears” are only smears to the rabid right. Everyone else is, so the fuck what? He worked under the DNI and CIA chiefs from a prior administration? Wow, that’s pretty….meaningless.

    Meanwhile, shitbags like Sperry and Gaetz and Nunes and various other GOP Representatives have all been actively complicit in obstruction of justice. I hope (but don’t expect) there is some legal reckoning for their criminal behavior.

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  36. Kurtz says:

    @Scott:

    I looked him up too. Thought, “okay, pretty standard… Hoover Institution, WSJ and NYP op-ed, Fox… Oh WND? Who tf thinks that is a good place to hire commentators?”

  37. CSK says:

    @Kurtz: They don’t call it World Nut Daily for nothing.

  38. JKB says:

    First off, there is nothing in the whisteblower anonymity provisions that somehow makes it illegal for someone discerning who the individual is. The laws govern whether they must openly proceed, such as when suits are filed. One presumes that those given the name as part of their official duties in whistleblower claims is bound to keep it confidential.

    Here is a July article on an appeals court decision on whistleblower anonymity regarding a tax court decision denying them the right to file an anonymous suit. The IC has in the past acted aggressively against whistleblowers only to have the whistleblower law cause the DOJ’s case to be thrown out of court. But now that the IC community is party to the “whistleblowing” they throw up the anonymity smokescreen to make smoke when there is not fire.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that “the appropriate way to determine whether a litigant may proceed anonymously is to balance the litigant’s legitimate interest in anonymity against countervailing interests in full disclosure.” The Court identified a five-part test to evaluate whistleblower requests for anonymity:

    • “whether the justification asserted by the requesting party is merely to avoid the annoyance and criticism that may attend any litigation or is to preserve privacy in a matter of sensitive and highly personal nature;”

    • “whether identification poses a risk of retaliatory physical or mental harm to the requesting party or even more critically, to innocent non-parties;”

    • “the ages of the persons whose privacy interests are sought to be protected;”

    • “whether the action is against a governmental or private party; and, relatedly,”

    • “The risk of unfairness to the opposing party from allowing an action against it to proceed anonymously.”

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  39. KM says:

    @JKB :
    What “suit”? Impeachment isn’t a lawsuit. Trump isn’t a litigant. Again, y’all are acting like this is a *court* proceeding, not a Constitutionally-directed process.

    Offer still stands – Trump wants to apply court standards, then he’s welcome to take this to court. Impeachment is getting fired, not about going to jail.

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  40. Mikey says:

    @KM:

    Again, y’all are acting like this is a *court* proceeding, not a Constitutionally-directed process.

    JKB and the rest of the Trump cult’s lickspittles have to mischaracterize what’s going on because even they understand what Trump has done. That’s why they ignore the crimes and blather on about the process. Of course, they’re alternately wrong and dishonest about that, too, but what else can they do? Otherwise they would have to openly admit what we all already know: they don’t want a President of a representative republic, they want a damn Emperor, all-powerful and entirely above the law.

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  41. the Q says:

    Trump voters as OJ jurors…..OJ is innocent (Trump has done nothing illegal)…it’s a “deep state” plot to frame an innocent man (race card)….lets investigate the investigators (who polices the police?)…..where’s the proof? (no witnesses, no murder weapon) ….just manufactured evidence by a corrupt gov’t agency (LAPD’s racist department)……vengeful “feds jealous” of OJ’s/Trump’s success setting him up on fake charges…..(fake media colluding with deep, dark “career” civil servants who hate Trump)…..questioning the legitimacy of the “process” (system is rigged against OJ)…..

    So, next time you get some red faced, corpulent, apoplectic Trumpster screaming about Trump’s innocence…just look at him/her and say..”spoken like a true OJ juror. Obfuscate the facts with distorted, false accusations and sit back while the ignorant buy the BS. In other words, YOU’RE AN OJ JUROR”.

    I have done this on several occasions and sprinkle in some words that can’t be printed when comparing the two, and it really works! It somewhat breaks through their trance like mantra of Trump delusions.

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  42. smintheus says:

    If you’re astonished that RealClear would publish partisan garbage like this, you should recalibrate your naive-o-meter. Anyway, it’s worth stressing that they are likening leaks to whistleblowing – which are not remotely similar. Talking to journalists carries no legal protection; submitting a report to the government about suspected wrongdoing does. RC stands that on its head. They won’t tell you who outed the whistleblower to them in order to protect a leaker who violated the law protecting whistleblowers’ anonymity.

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  43. smintheus says:

    @Kathy: The plan no doubt is for Fox to repeat the name, so as to make it “legitimate” for genuine news organizations to follow its lead. Fox may wait until several other right-wing smear merchants get into the act, or it may just charge ahead more quickly. But that is how the right wing ‘Noise Machine’ has functioned for many years.

  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    “Doesn’t support Trump” is all the smear the culties need. It’s all they have. It’s the way cult members think – having accepted Trump as their replacement Jesus it stands to reason that all opposition is of the devil.

    Stupid people with shitty values, if I may steal a line from @Teve.

  45. Gustopher says:

    @Teve:

    Spencer Ackerman has been saying that Devin Nunes’s people have been spreading the name around.

    Protecting the whistleblower process is likely going to require the next administration pursuing and prosecuting people who have been spreading the name around.

    @smintheus: Trump will probably just tweet the name. An impeachable offense, sure, but unless there is someone physically preventing him, it’s bound to happen.

  46. fredw says:
  47. Teve says:

    Stupid people with shitty values is released under a Creative Commons license. 😀

  48. Teve says:

    I didn’t pay it any mind a week or two ago when Political Twitter was saying that Real Clear is a den of winger hacks because I only ever check their poll page.

  49. JKB says:

    @KM: @Mikey:

    Did ya’ll miss that this post was about the “whistleblower”, not the impeachment process. For the latter, impeachment is a political process, thus there will be political rhetoric. But it is a true, the “process” is up to the House, but not just the Speaker or majority. And it is entirely proper to point out that the current process is very partisan and not reflective of how the impeachment process has been changed from the previous 114 Congresses.

    And finally, there is no requirement that the American people accept the House process, accept the impeachment accusation, accept even a removal by the Senate. The voters are entirely within their rights to punish the members of the 115th Congress even if it takes a decade or more to get them all.

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  50. Jen says:

    And it is entirely proper to point out that the current process is very partisan and not reflective of how the impeachment process has been changed from the previous 114 Congresses.

    It’s only partisan because Republicans are acting up and acting out worse than a toddler with no sleep, too much sugar, and too much stimulation (and even that characterization might be unfair to the toddler). I’ve never seen such juvenile behavior from elected representatives.

    The President has engaged in conduct that is unfit for the office and would be considered illegal for any other government employee. This is the very definition of impeachable behavior, and the fact that Republicans are playing games–including the charades to try and discern the whistleblower’s identity–is shameful.

    On the actual rules of the impeachment inquiry, they track extremely closely with what Republicans used during Bill Clinton’s impeachment process, diverting only by being firm that there will be repercussions if the President tries to obstruct the process.

    And finally, there is no requirement that the American people accept the House process, accept the impeachment accusation, accept even a removal by the Senate. The voters are entirely within their rights to punish the members of the 115th Congress even if it takes a decade or more to get them all.

    They would, in fact, have to “accept” removal by the Senate. The President would have to step down. It’s unlikely to happen, but don’t be ridiculous. Of course, those opposed to the action would be able to vent their anger through the electoral process, but I would be careful in assuming exactly how many people would be truly angry about this. My hunch is that it wouldn’t approach anywhere near a majority opinion. Remember, Trump got fewer votes than Clinton, and he hasn’t exactly been building bridges, even if we are on Infrastructure Week #52 or whatever.

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  51. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Yes, but I didn’t read it at 5 am (PDT) and so I didn’t miss it when it was pulled.

  52. KM says:

    @JKB:

    And finally, there is no requirement that the American people accept the House process, accept the impeachment accusation, accept even a removal by the Senate.

    Actually, yes there is. “Accept” doesn’t mean “have to like” after all. It’s legal whether you like it or not, whether Trump likes it or not. If the Senate votes to remove him, Trump is legally no longer POTUS and resistance or rejection would be considered….. well, let’s just say it’s not going to end well for him. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and it says accept this you shall.

    You can try to “vote them all out” if you want, try to “punish” them. But really? All you’ll get are the Repubs who you’d hold accountable and the random Dem in a red state. Everyone else? Blue states so Trumpkin rage isn’t going to go very far. Battleground states are trending away from Trump even in the most conservative polling. The only people who are going to be butthurt “their President got witch-hunted” can’t get Nancy Pelosi or Schiff or anyone else they really, really want to with votes. so no, you won’t “get them all” no matter how long it takes. Vengeance fantasies are just that, fantasies – another thing you will have to accept.

  53. JKB says:

    @Jen: Of course, those opposed to the action would be able to vent their anger through the electoral process, but I would be careful in assuming exactly how many people would be truly angry about this…..Remember, Trump got fewer votes than Clinton, and he hasn’t exactly been building bridges,

    The popular opinion doesn’t matter. The acceptance will be dealt with one congressional district and one state at a time. House members will be looking to their districts, senators will be looking to their state, presidential candidates will be looking to the Electoral College. A lot will depend on what the House members hear over the next 11 days of District Work.

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  54. JKB says:

    @KM: The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and it says accept this you shall.

    Donald Trump was elected in accordance with the Constitution, but the Democrats haven’t been very accepting from the moment it was apparent Trump won.

    But what shall you do if you remove Trump from this term, but he is re-elected in November by the Constitutional majority that is diverse in geography and enduring in time?

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  55. wr says:

    @KM: “You can try to “vote them all out” if you want, try to “punish” them. But really?”

    The tell was his “even if it takes ten years.” Basically he’s saying that if any congressperson who voted against Trump is ever voted out of office, or resigns, or dies, he will be cackling that this is the Rightful Revenge of the True Americans and we all should have listened to him all along.

    Hell, if President Schiff serves two full terms, JKB will be croaking from his nursing home that he’s leaving the White House because the Trump-lovers have taken their revenge.

  56. Alie says:

    I love how you are failing to do your own homework. This article like many that are out there are not following the leads and the facts of the case and keep saying it’s a debunked conspiracy theory when it is not and that there is a giant pile of evidence. You are breaking every journalistic standard in this article and are apart of the problem that created the distrust in the media in the first place and I am not a Republican and have historically voted democrat even though I have distrust for both political parties. I find the glaring hypocrisy incredibly dishonest and misleading. It is 100% irrelevant that THE SAME PEOPLE keep coming up in the stories surrounding this but you have zero curiosity as to why.

  57. Jax says:

    @JKB: IANAL, but I’m pretty certain that if he’s impeached and removed this term, he can’t serve a second term. It’s my understanding that if he is removed, he can’t even get elected dog catcher.

  58. JKB says:

    @Jax:

    Actually, denial of future office is only an option, given how it has been applied in past impeachments. Some were removed and banned, others just removed.

    Two things, if Trump were removed, the idea of banning someone popular in the coming election would be very constitutionally dangerous for senators. And, if “banned” but re-elected, things would be very different in country. The next Congress would throw the presidency into illegitimacy if they refused to confirm the presidential election, especially if it has massive voter participation if impeachment goes forward.

  59. mattbernius says:

    @JKB:

    Two things, if Trump were removed, the idea of banning someone popular in the coming election would be very constitutionally dangerous for senators.

    Please unpack this theory a bit more. Especially given that Trump didn’t win an outright majority of voters in the 2016 election and his popularity ratings have dropped further since. What is the “national popularity threshold” that you think a candidate needs to hit in order to become “constitutionally dangerous?” 20%? 30%? 40%?

    And, if “banned” but re-elected, things would be very different in country.

    And what does this mean? If he’s “banned” as part of the impeachment judgement, are you suggesting that you think the Republican party would keep him on the ticket?

    Or are you honestly arguing that there would be a national write-in vote that’s high enough to win the electoral college?

  60. mattbernius says:

    @JKB:

    Donald Trump was elected in accordance with the Constitution, but the Democrats haven’t been very accepting from the moment it was apparent Trump won.

    Meh, we just learned that from watching your treatment of Obama.

  61. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB:

    Donald Trump was elected in accordance with the Constitution, but the Democrats haven’t been very accepting from the moment it was apparent Trump won.

    How many DEMs have attempted to remove him from office? How many? Even now, not a single DEM has attempted to remove him from office. Sure they are engaged in an impeachment process just now. But until they actually vote for impeachment, they are doing NOTHING more than seeking the truth.

    Why do you fear the truth? Why does trump? If everything is as trump says, why doesn’t he allow those who could absolve him of guilt, testify? Why won’t he provide the documents establishing his innocence?

  62. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JKB:

    And it is entirely proper to point out that the current process is very partisan and not reflective of how the impeachment process has been changed from the previous 114 Congresses.

    And impeachment over getting prison sex in closets and desk knee holes wasn’t partisan? REALLY? You gonna go THERE??? DAWG!

  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JKB: I’d ask if you realize that no President has ever been impeached, but you’d just move the goalposts again, so I’ll save you the digging and back strain.

    (I promise not to feed the troll again this post. 😛 )

  64. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Oh, come on, it’s Halloween, it’s a troll’s night to shine!

    JKB seems to have a newfound sense of purpose I have not noticed in previous comments.

    @JKB, you know the revolution is not actually going to go down, right? Even if Trump is impeached and removed? It will be President Pence, or some other Republican in the hierarchy to serve out the term. Multiple Choice Mittens (thanks to the commenter here who said that a while back) and/or Popularity Barbie Liz Cheney will get the nod for running against whoever the Dem candidate ends up being. Mitch McConnell sees the writing on the wall. He’s got two, possibly even 10 games and ways he can play this, and you’re not gonna like his other games if you are actually a “ride or die” Trump fan. The wolves cull the weak from the herd for a reason, if Mitch senses Trump might bring the whole damn thing down, you will find out who the master really is really quick, same as Trump.

  65. Mister Bluster says:

    @ Cracker: …no President has ever been impeached,..

    Both Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were successfully impeached.
    However neither one of them were convicted at trial in the Senate.
    If they had not been impeached there would not have been trials in the Senate.

  66. just nutha says:

    @Mister Bluster: My bad. I had intended to say removed from office, but conflated the two actions (in the same way that many others do).

  67. John Q Public says:

    @Jen: “Eric Ciaramella” is who they are talking about. He was a plant from the Obama/Biden Administration. Gonna tie a lot of people into this corrupt attempt at taking down a Duly-Elected President/

  68. Mister Bluster says:

    @just nutha:.. (in the same way that many others do)

    I can’t remember who it was but a member of the House of Representatives was being interviewed on NPR several weeks ago. She went through a brief history of Bill Clinton’s impeachment and trial. She clearly described the two separate constitutional procedures and then said: “President Clinton was not convicted by the Senate. Impeachment did not occur.”

  69. DrDaveT says:

    @John Q Public:

    He was a plant from the Obama/Biden Administration.

    Translation: he was a civil servant and not a traitor.