Summing up the Charges Against Trump

An ongoing attempt to summarize the complex.

A major difficulty in discussions such as the Trump impeachment inquiry is finding a way to describe the allegations in relatively simple ways. I don’t mean bribery, obstruction, and that sort of thing (but, of course, being able to point to specific charges helps). I mean distilling the true essence of why the process is needed in the first place.

I have already attempted to do this in previous posts on the issue of Trump using public resources for private gain (here and here). In the most simple of terms he sought to use resources that belong to the American public in exchange for favors from the Ukrainians that would have been of private use to himself.

My current version is as follows:

Trump tried to trade public resources (aid and a WH meeting) to a foreign government (Ukrainine’s) so that that government would act in a way that would influence a US election (by announcing investigations into the Bidens and the conspiracy theory about the DNC server).

The rest of the post is just breaking that down:

The public resources included millions in security assistance and a visit to the White House for President Zelensky. These are both public goods that do not belong, personally, to Trump.

Government service is supposed to be public service, not a means of private gain. The word we used for when public servants use public resources for their private gain is corruption.

In regards to the aid, his ability to withhold was actually limited by the law. Congress appropriated the funds and independent actors within the US government certified that Ukraine had met the legal threshold for releasing the aid.

In regards to a White House visit, it was was within Trump’s legal rights to determine who visits the White House, this is true. And, really, he doesn’t have to explain himself, per se, when it comes to those visits. Nonetheless, such a visit is ultimately of potentially high value to those who get to visit. The president can certainly reward or punish foreign leaders with such an opportunity (as he weirdly did for Turkey’s Erdogan not that long ago). However, such rewards are supposed to be to further US public policy goals, not to provide private benefits to the president.

I would note that Ambassador Sondland testified that the White House meeting were definitively part of a quid pro quo:

Schiff: Let me get to the top line here, Ambassador Sondland.
Sondland: Okay.
Schiff: You’ve testified that the White House meeting that President Zelensky desperately wanted [was] very important to President Zelensky, was it not?
Sondland: Absolutely.
Schiff: You testified that that meeting was conditioned, was a quid pro quo, for what the president wanted, these two investigations. Is that right?
Sondland: Correct.
Schiff: And that everybody knew it.
Sondland: Correct.
Schiff: Now that White House meeting was going to be an official meeting between the two presidents, correct?
Sondland: Presumably.
Schiff: It would be an Oval Office meeting, hopefully?
Sondland: A working meeting, yes.
Schiff: A working meeting. So an official act.
Sondland: Yes.
Schiff: And in order to perform that official act, Donald Trump wanted these two investigations that would help his re-election campaign, correct?
Sondland: I can’t characterize why he wanted them. All I can tell you is this is what we heard from Mr. Giuliani.
Schiff: But he had to get those two investigations if that official act was going to take place, correct?
Sondland: He had to announce the investigations. He didn’t actually have to do them, as I understood it.
Schiff: Okay, President Zelensky had to announce the two investigations the president wanted, make a public announcement, correct?
Sondland: Correct.
Schiff: And those were of great value to the president; he was quite insistent upon them and his attorney was insistent upon them?
Sondland: I don’t want to characterize whether they were valued, not valued. Again, through Mr. Giuliani, we were led to believe that that’s what he wanted.
Schiff: Well, and you said Mr. Giuliani was acting at the president’s demand, correct?
Sondland: Right, when the president says talk to my personal lawyer, Mr. Giuliani, we followed his direction.
Schiff: And so that official act of that meeting was being conditioned on the performance of these things the president wanted as expressed both directly and through his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Correct?
Sondland: As expressed through Rudy Giuliani. Correct.
Schiff: And you’ve also testified is that your understanding, it became your clear understanding that the military assistance was also being withheld pending Zelensky announcing these investigations. Correct?
Sondland: That was my presumption, my personal presumption based on the facts at the time. Nothing was moving.
Schiff: And in fact, you had a discussion, communication with the secretary of state in which you said that [the] logjam over aid could be lifted if Zelensky announced these investigations, right?
Sondland: I did not, I don’t recall saying the logjam over aid. I recall saying the logjam.
Schiff: That’s what you meant, right, ambassador?
Sondland: I meant that whatever was holding up the meeting whatever was holding up our deal with Ukraine, I was trying to break. Again, I was presuming.
Schiff: Well, here’s what you said in your testimony a moment ago, page 18: “But my goal at the time was to do what was necessary to get the aid released, to break the logjam.” Okay, that’s still your testimony, right?
Sondland: Yes.
Schiff: So the military aid is also an official act, am I right?
Sondland: Yes
Schiff: This was not President Trump’s personal bank account he’s writing a check from. This is $400 million of U.S. taxpayer money, is it not?
Sondland: Absolutely.
Schiff: There was a logjam in which the president would not write that U.S. check, you believed, until Ukraine announced these two investigations the president wanted.
Sondland: That was my belief.

Source: Wittes, Benjamin, 2019 “Gordon Sondland Accuses the President of BriberyLawfare (November 20)

Trump’s goal, it has to be underscored, was to get help from the Ukrainian government that would be of benefit to him in the 2020 elections.

So, again, this long post (longer than I intended), boils down to this:

Trump tried to trade public resources (aid and a WH meeting) to a foreign government (Ukrainine’s) so that that government would act in a way that would influence a US election (by announcing investigations into the Bidens and the conspiracy theory about the DNC server).

This is an abuse of power that should not be tolerated regardless of whether one is a co-partisan of the president or not.

It is important to understand that an announced investigation into the Bidens would create a media context not unlike the Clinton e-mails. And an announcement into the DNC server would give credence to the “theory” (I use the word advisedly in this case) that the source of 2016 election meddling was Ukraine, not Russia.

Note, as Sondland does, that the main goal was the announcement of investigations, not actual investigations.

I would note, too, that there has not been any substantive challenge to these facts.

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. David M says:

    I agree with all this, and think Adam Serwer has also summarized it well: The president’s offense is abusing his power to stay in office, not disputing Ukraine policy.

    The rest of the country, however, should not lose sight of why the president is being impeached, and it is not because of a good-faith dispute over Ukraine policy. Trump and his advisers conspired to rig the 2020 election on his behalf, scheming to defraud the American people of a free and fair election. A genuine republic cannot survive chief executives who utilize their powers to make anyone who might challenge their authority into a criminal by extorting weaker entities into leveling false charges at their political rivals. Indeed, the republic’s Founders foresaw such a circumstance, and created the impeachment clause as a last resort against it. The high crime that the president has committed is not against Ukraine, but against America.

    (The entire article is a must read)

  2. Kathy says:

    You know, regardless of the result of the Senate trial (foregone conclusion, I know), could Dennison the Moron be indicted after he leaves office for failing to report the several hundred millions of public money he took for a campaign contribution?

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  3. Jim says:

    No one can know Trump’s motive for asking for an investigation. If he were simply asking for a criminal investigation because of the Biden video bragging about a quid pro quo and his son’s well document board seat, then he was doing his job. He also has a legitimate role in uncovering Ukrainian meddling in US elections. Whether he was looking back to 2016 or ahead to 2020, no one can know, but the American people will vote on it next year.

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  4. David M says:

    @Jim:

    Yes, it is a complete mystery why Trump wanted a public announcement his political rival was under investigation. No way to know why he would want that.

    The Ukranian meddling conspiracy theory is literally Russian propaganda, so well done on the disinformation.

    Two for two.

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  5. DrDaveT says:

    @Jim:

    No one can know Trump’s motive for asking for an investigation.

    He didn’t ask for an investigation. He asked for an announcement. That’s a key part of this story that just doesn’t seem to penetrate certain skulls.

    Schiff: But he had to get those two investigations if that official act was going to take place, correct?
    Sondland: He had to announce the investigations. He didn’t actually have to do them, as I understood it.

    He also has a legitimate role in uncovering Ukrainian meddling in US elections.

    Actually, he doesn’t. He is not part of the legitimate investigative apparatus of the US government. And if he were, starting an investigation by announcing it would get him fired.

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  6. @Jim:

    No one can know Trump’s motive for asking for an investigation.

    It is pretty clear what he wanted, and why.

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  7. @Jim:

    He also has a legitimate role in uncovering Ukrainian meddling in US elections.

    What is the evidence of such meddling to you?

    And, would it not make sense for such investigations to be conducted via normal channels rather than via the president’s attorney?

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  8. Mikey says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: The President’s personal attorney.

    Why use a personal attorney if your aim isn’t to benefit personally? If your objective is in the nation’s interest, you’d use the nation’s staff and processes, not your personal attorney.

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  9. An Interested Party says:

    I would note, too, that there has not been any substantive challenge to these facts.

    It’s even worse than that…you can go to supposedly respectable conservative websites like National Review and not only will writers there make the case that nothing Trump did is impeachable but lately they’ve gone even further and claimed that it was Obama who actually committed impeachable offenses…I don’t know how this country survives when you have a significant portion of the population believing in fantasies and fairy tales…

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  10. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Better yet, what evidence does he have that contradicts a week’s worth of foreign policy experts sworn testimony in from of Congress that those are baseless conspiracy theories? And again, those experts include the ones called by the Republicans?

  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jim:
    I don’t usually downvote people for disagreeing. They have to be complete imbeciles or bald-faced liars, I don’t know which you are, but either way. . .

    You know the big difference between the Obama administration and the Trump administration? Obama cooperated with ever one of your bullshit investigations. Every one. All 912 Benghazi ‘investigations.’ But Trump refuses to comply at all. At all.

    Why?

    Answer that question honestly and prove me wrong. Prove you’re neither an imbecile or a liar. Or just fade away.

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  12. DrDaveT says:

    @Mikey:

    If your objective is in the nation’s interest, you’d use the nation’s staff and processes, not your personal attorney.

    And, as a preemptive strike against the “but the Deep State is against him!” argument, note that the the people who would be tasked with this investigation are William F.* Barr, the Nation’s Attorney, who is entirely Trump’s creature, and Michael F.* Pompeo, the Nation’s Ambassador, who is so afraid of Trump’s cult that he will do anything to avoid their ire.

    *No idea what middle names their parents gave them, but I know which ones they’ve earned.

  13. gVOR08 says:

    @Jim: I always like that argument that the voters will settle it in 2020. Doesn’t that mean we should investigate Trump thoroughly so the voters might actually know what they’re voting on this time?

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  14. Teve says:

    A scientist friend of mine just posted on Facebook: “Republicans, I know voting is hard, but here’s a tip. Next time, try not to vote for a GODDAMN CRIME SYNDICATE.”

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  15. David M says:

    @gVOR08:

    I actually disagree that we should even consider allowing voters to decide Trump’s fate in 2020, given that Trump’s crime is attempting to rig the 2020 election. He forfeited that right when he extorted a foreign country into helping him subvert our democracy and is intent on not holding a fair election in 2020.

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  16. Mikey says:

    @Jim:

    but the American people will vote on it next year.

    In an election we already have indisputable proof he tried to rig?

    Fuck. That. Noise.

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  17. Kit says:

    A major difficulty in discussions such as the Trump impeachment inquiry is finding a way to describe the allegations in relatively simple ways.

    And:

    However, such rewards [i.e. with regards to a White House visit] are supposed to be to further US public policy goals, not to provide private benefits to the president.

    While I don’t disagree with any of this, I think the issue is clearer without mentioning any potential WH visits. These are excuses for photo ops. To the extent they advance foreign policy, it is by allowing a particular person to bask in the glow of success at the expense of a political opponent who opposes the policy, or who at least cannot take any credit. A photo always has political value.

    In this particular case, you are absolutely correct: a photo with the Ukrainian president holds little value here in the US, and so Trump was obviously trading some of the country’s prestige to advance his own ends.

    Having to explain this slows down the simple narrative, in my opinion. Not explaining it risks sending the reader down the path I just followed.

    Other ways that Trump used “public resources” include: weakening US/Ukrainian relations; weakening the position of the US vis-à-vis other countries; and weakening regional security in Eastern Europe.

  18. andros says:

    To which the counter-argument is that the public interest required a thorough investigation of the Bidens’ unseemly activities in Ukraine (whatever Trump’s motives), even if Zelensky had to be “leaned on” to get him committed to rooting out corruption and cooperating with Barr. As for any delay in aid (characterized by Yovanovitch as a ‘symbol’ of support), a ceasefire had been in effect since March. I won’t pretend to understand the claim that Trump wasn’t “really” interested in nailing Biden’s hide to the wall.

    Poor Joe. He seems to think he has been betrayed by fellow members of the Old Boys’ Club. He knows he can’t survive the counterattack on this “proceeding.” How is he going to explain allowing his troubled offspring to sell, for millions, to a concern as corrupt as Burisma, the appearance of “insider” influence? And how explain Burisma’s attempt (invoking Hunter’s name) to dispute, with the State Dept., the charges of corruption made against it immediately after Zlochevsky’s properties were seized? (See the Nov. 7 letter of Senators Grassley and Johnson to Pompeo.) The inquiry will inevitably extend, as part of a pattern of influence-peddling, to Hunter’s China capers. Anyone care to hazard a guess as to the net worth of his interest in that fund specializing in acquisitions requiring U.S. approval?

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  19. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I would note, too, that there has not been any substantive challenge to these facts.

    That’s all you need to know.

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  20. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @andros:

    To which the counter-argument is that the public interest required a thorough investigation of the Bidens’ unseemly activities in Ukraine (whatever Trump’s motives), even if Zelensky had to be “leaned on” to get him committed to rooting out corruption and cooperating with Barr.

    J-enos…after you explain how the public interest is satisfied by fabricating dirt that helps only Trump…then do Crowdstrike.

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  21. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    While J-enos and the others are repeating what is, according to our Intelligence Community, Russian dis-information aimed at interfering in our elections, it’s probably worth debunking these conspiracy theories….again.
    ~ Shokin was forced from office at Biden’s urging because he had failed to conduct thorough investigations of corruption, and had stifled efforts to investigate embezzlement and misconduct by public officials following the 2014 uprising. Biden’s actions made it MORE LIKELY that Burisma would be investigated, not less. If Trump is concerned about corruption then why did he only withhold money from Ukraine and why did he only want Burisma investigated? Let’s be honest; it’s laughable, on it’s face, that an un-indicted co-conspirator in election fraud, and someone who has admitted to mis-using millions in charitable donations for his own purposes, would care about corruption unless there were a personal benefit.
    ~ Crowdstrike is NOT a Ukrainian company. There is no physical server. There is no credible evidence of Ukrainian interference in our election.
    These fact-free conspiracy theories are aimed at disturbing our democracy, and have been pushed by Russia ever since they got caught interfering in the 2016 election. Those repeating them are simply acting in their behalf as Russian assets.

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  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    At Pearl Harbor J-nos/andros would be loudly welcoming our new Japanese overlords.

    But hey, I guess God wants us to support a traitor. So whaddya gonna do? Ignore divine will as propounded by Rick Perry? If Jesus wants Putin running the country, who can argue?

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  23. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    In the 1770’s J-nos would have been called a Loyalist.

    “King George is only interested in the public good.”

    In the early 1940’s he would have commented;

    “Well, there is no proof that we are NOT the superior race.”

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  24. @andros: I know this will make no difference, but if there was a legitimate reason to investigate Biden, it would not have been necessary to try and muscle the Ukrainians to have an investigation and it certainly would not have been necessary to create a pathway led by Rudy Giuliani.

    The very way this was undertaken utterly undercuts the notion that this was done in the public interest.

    Trump wanted Biden investigated for Trump and sent his personal attorney to make sure it got done.

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  25. @andros: It is too bad (but telling) that all of your evidence boils down to the same source.

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  26. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Trump wanted Biden investigated for Trump and sent his personal attorney to make sure it got done.

    Telling that, after months and months, they haven’t generated anything but aspersions. You can be assured that if they had anything they’d be shouting it from the roof-tops.

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  27. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    He’s willfully ignorant, but at least he’s close minded about it.

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  28. @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Indeed.

    @mattbernius: He is consistent, I will give him that.

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  29. andros says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Why do you persist in such sophistry? You have to know that a meaningful investigation would require the full cooperation of the Ukrainian government in obtaining documents and extracting information from people not eager to share what they know. And what part of the Constitution was offended when Trump elected to work through someone he could trust, thus avoiding “leaks” from malcontent underlings? You think maybe the interview of Lutsenko (Biden’s ‘solid’ replacement prosecutor) should have been entrusted to Ms. Yovanovitch, who accuses him of slandering her?

    I’m puzzled by your claim, made below, that I rely on one source. Are you referring to the Nov. 6 letter of Senators Grassley and Johnson, discussing State Dept. emails showing that Burisma, through Hunter Biden, was demanding an audience with Under Secretary Novelli to dispute allegations of corruption, immediately after Zlochevsky’s properties and Rolls were seized?

    Interesting that Lutsenko now says that, whatever prosecutorial misconduct may have occurred in the past, Shokin (appointed 2015) was doing his job.

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  30. DrDaveT says:

    @andros:

    To which the counter-argument is that the public interest required a thorough investigation of the Bidens’ unseemly activities

    …which Trump immediately tried to sabotage by demanding a public announcement that such an investigation was being pursued? What was your explanation for that, again?

    Anyway, since apparently you didn’t bother to read the testimony transcript the first time:

    Schiff: But he had to get those two investigations if that official act was going to take place, correct?
    Sondland: He had to announce the investigations. He didn’t actually have to do them, as I understood it.

    That’s Trump’s own major donor, the guy he appointed to be ambassador to the EU, testifying that Trump wanted the announcement, not an actual investigation. As was clear to anyone who read the original call transcript, but it’s nice to have an insider eyewitness on Trump’s team confirm it.

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  31. DrDaveT says:

    @andros:

    You have to know that a meaningful investigation would require the full cooperation of the Ukrainian government

    I’m sure this would be a killer rhetorical point if Trump had asked the Ukrainian government to cooperate in our investigation. As you know, though, he didn’t — he asked the Ukrainians to announce that they were initiating their own investigation. You can tell the difference between those two things, yes?

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  32. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @andros:

    Why do you persist in such sophistry?

    Ha, project much, J-nos?

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  33. grumpy realist says:

    @andros: You’re not really interested in the truth, are you?

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  34. dmichael says:

    Too often these discussions are highjacked by trolls such as “Andros,” “Jim” and “Jenos.” One cannot engage them in constructive discussions. They disappear or change the subject when their comments are shown to be partisan blather. They are like miscreant toddlers who purposely drop their food on the floor to get attention. We will not reach them with logic or evidence-based arguments. Please ignore them.

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  35. Joe says:

    Not that Jim or andros is every going to understand this, but what I found interesting about the witnesses in the impeachment investigation was that, while Sondland explained very clearly how everyone in Trump’s orbit thought the purpose was to benefit Trump, the professionals – with Hill as the apex – explained very comprehensively how Trump’s goals and actions were aggressively injurious to American interests.

    I agree with the OP, but the complicated part is when a politician can weave his personal interest into the national interest, but there was literally no attempt here to do that and the Jim‘s or andros‘s of the world look like fools for arguing otherwise.

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  36. gVOR08 says:

    Dr. T – I love the picture of Trumpsky on the 1984-esque screen.

  37. Mike in Arlington says:

    @andros: That’s not exactly what she said. Yes, it’s symbolic, but it was a symbol that the US would materially back Ukraine against its adversaries. And the delay of such sales would undercut that message, thus making Ukraine look weaker and more likely to be attacked.

    The point is that the symbolic element of the supportwas vitally important to Ukraine and their conflict with Russia because it signaled a real commitment by the United States to help protect the nation of Ukraine, and without that symbol, Russia would have a greater incentive to continue to fight.

    The exact quote is:
    *snip*
    CASTOR: The — turning our attention to the — the Trump administration’s policy of aid, the aid package to Ukraine, you’ve testified that, during your tenure as ambassador, America’s policy actually got stronger towards Ukraine. Is that accurate?

    YOVANOVITCH: With the provision of Javelins to the Ukrainian military, yes. That was — that was really positive.

    CASTOR: And why was that important?

    YOVANOVITCH: Well, two things. They are obviously tank-busters. And so if the war with Russia all — all of a sudden accelerated in some way and tanks come over the horizon, Javelins are a very serious weapon to deal with that. That’s number one. But really, the more important issue is the — the symbolism of it; that the United States is providing Javelins to Ukraine. That makes Ukraine’s adversaries think twice.

    CASTOR: The provision of Javelins?

    YOVANOVITCH: … it’s a symbol of our strong support for Ukraine. But when then — you know, this year there are questions as to whether or not our security assistance is going to go through, that kind of undermines that — that strong message of support.
    *snip*
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/11/16/transcript-marie-yovanovitchs-nov-testimony-front-house-intelligence-committee/

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  38. andros says:

    @DrDaveT:
    And can you tell the difference between the suppositions of staffers about what Trump was demanding for a personal meeting, and what Trump actually said to Zelensky? He asked for an investigation, and cooperation with Barr.

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  39. @andros: Do you really think that this is how investigations work? The president has a feeling about a specific US citizen, and so he calls another head of state and suggests that that specific US citizens should be investigated (in a vague and general sense) and that said head of state should call the AG.

    And it just so happens that this specific US citizen, about whom these vague allegations are made, is the son of the man Trump may face in November 2020?

    Not to mention that there is a huge bonus undercutting the ouster of Shokin, since that helps known corrupt actors in Ukraine.

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  40. Beyond that, if the goal was work against corruption in Ukraine, the people who were best positioned to do so were Taylor, Yovanovich, and Volker. Not Sondland and especially not Giuliani. Involving Barr directly doesn’t make sense, either. The US AG does not personally supervise individual investigations.

  41. And if Trump, as the head of US foreign policy, was truly concerned about corruption in Ukraine, why didn’t he immediately find s replacement for Yovanovich once he removed her?

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  42. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @andros:

    And can you tell the difference between the suppositions of staffers about what Trump was demanding

    J-nos…If someone walks through the door, and their clothes are soaking wet and their umbrella is dripping water on the floor…are you unable to make the supposition that it is raining?
    Sondland;

    “Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.”

    Why are you so happy to help Russia take down our system of Government?

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  43. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @andros:
    J-nos…I’ll take you, and the rest of Cult#45, seriously when y’all start calling for an investigation into Jared and Ivanka and their conflicts of interest in working in the White House while unable to qualify for the appropriate security clearances.
    Until then you are all just helping Putin wage war on liberal democracy.

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  44. andros says:

    @Mike in Arlington:
    Like I said, it was a “symbol” of support. And there were no tanks on the horizon. A ceasefire has been in effect since March, to facilitate negotiation of the Steinmeier Formula. Any uncertainty Zelensky may have been made to feel here was fully justified to get him fully committed to an investigation and cooperating with Barr.

  45. @andros:

    According to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), between July and September (while the Washington antics were happening), there were 50,259 cease-fire violations, with 244 explosions attributable to artillery, mortars or other heavy weapons.

    (source).

    The primary source material can be found here: OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine.

    I will confess that I can’t say with certainty that tanks were involved. The bottom line remains even with the ceasefire in place, there is an active conflict ongoing.

    You don’t know what you are talking about.

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  46. andros says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    And just what do you suppose Giuliani was doing, if not investigating? Actually, we don’t know what else Trump, unknown to staffers, may have been doing, do we?

    But tell you what: If Trump has just been trying to “dig up dirt” on him, why doesn’t Joe step outside his “candidate protection program” and respond to these multitudinous doubts and suspicions?

  47. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @andros:

    A ceasefire has been in effect since March

    The cease-fire was violated almost immediately.

    Any uncertainty Zelensky may have been made to feel here was fully justified to get him fully committed to an investigation

    According to testimony under oath; they weren’t interested in the investigation, but only the announcement of an investigation.
    You haven’t changed one bit, J-nos…your disregard for facts, that don’t support you, is character defining.

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  48. @andros:

    And just what do you suppose Giuliani was doing, if not investigating?

    Do you really think that is how investigations work? You send over a lone attorney to root around?

    And if he was investigating, where is the fruit of his labor?

    But tell you what: If Trump has just been trying to “dig up dirt” on him, why doesn’t Joe step outside his “candidate protection program” and

    I have no clue what this means.

    respond to these multitudinous doubts and suspicions?

    What specific allegations are you making?

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  49. @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I would note that in face of actual evidence one gets crickets.

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  50. DrDaveT says:

    @andros:

    And can you tell the difference between the suppositions of staffers about what Trump was demanding for a personal meeting, and what Trump actually said to Zelensky?

    Suppositions!? Seriously?

    Even I give Trump more credit than to think that his minions have to work from suppositions, without actual direction or guidance or, y’know, management. You have an even lower opinion of Trump’s business competence than I do, I guess.

    He asked for an investigation

    No he did not. Can you not read at all? He asked for an announcement of an investigation. As has been pointed out to you 51 times now, and which you still have not been able to explain. And which his staff was fully aware need not be tied to any actual investigation.

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  51. Mikey says:

    @DrDaveT:

    As has been pointed out to you 51 times now, and which you still have not been able to explain.

    It torpedoes his entire inane premise. Of course he’s going to act as though it doesn’t exist.

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  52. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @andros:

    …respond to these multitudinous doubts and suspicions?

    You mean, like your beloved and baseless, BENGHAZI!!! doubts and suspicions? Or your Fast and Furious wet dreams? Or the IRS scandal that wasn’t? You and your Republican friends love to waste time and money on utter bullshit. Real adults have better things to do than to respond to these baseless conspiracy theories.

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  53. Scott F. says:

    Trump tried to trade public resources (aid and a WH meeting) to a foreign government (Ukrainine’s) so that that government would act in a way that would influence a US election (by announcing investigations into the Bidens and the conspiracy theory about the DNC server).

    Steven, this is indeed the essence of the case against Trump, but I wonder if simplified explanation is what is called for in this particular climate. I’m concerned that the simple explanation is too easily perverted in a political environment where gaslighting is carrying the day.

    As noted by Kevin Drum, too many in the US have been conditioned to believe that all politicians are corrupt.

    As I alluded to yesterday, the public doesn’t seem to doubt that Trump did what he’s accused of doing. What they doubt is that this is much different from the kinds of things that presidents do all the time. Democrats have—so far—done a bad job of explaining that although presidential pressure is common in foreign policy, it’s not common for that pressure to be used for personal gain. In fact, it’s not clear if the public even gets that digging up dirt on a political rival counts as personal gain. It all just seems like politics, and it’s not as if anyone was handing over bags of cash to Trump’s campaign.

    Trump’s a crook and I hope, for our country’s sake, that he’s convicted for at least some small piece of his vast corruption once he leaves office. But, it’s clear that even the most successful impeachment proceedings won’t remove Trump from office with the Republicans in thrall to him and I’m convinced that public opinion won’t move much either.

    But that’s okay, because Trump is already damaged enough that he is readily beatable in 2020. Sure, keep the bad headlines coming, continue to chip away at his wall of obstruction, pound on his fragile esteem so he’s miserable every day, and stand rightfully for the American principle that no man is above the law. Just don’t expect the tide to turn. It won’t. andros is all the proof you need of that.

  54. @Scott F.: I guess I would say this: any summation is going to be subject to perversion and a lot of people will only listen, or be able to digest, a straightforward summation. This is not to say that a more complex one can’t also be provide, but most people tune out the complex.

    But no, I do not expect any tide-turning.

  55. Teve says:

    Friend of mine on Facebook:

    My dad left me a message yesterday and said he had talked to several Trump defenders and one of the big problems is that they have no idea what a quid pro quo is, so unless they hear those actual words from Trump on that phone call with Zelensky, they don’t think it happened. This seems plausible to me.

  56. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Scott F.:

    I’m concerned that the simple explanation is too easily perverted in a political environment where gaslighting is carrying the day.

    Trump used taxpayer money to bribe a foreign official to fabricate dirt on his own personal political opponent.
    Simple. Hard to pervert.

  57. andros says:

    I can’t download the PDF transcript of the telephonic conversation between Trump and Zelensky, but with respect to the repeated claim that Trump had no interest in an investigation, let me offer this: “A non-verbatim transcript of the Trump-Zelensky call confirmed that Trump requested investigations into Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden . . . while repeatedly urging Zelensky to work with Giuliani and Barr on these matters ” (Wiki, Trump-Ukraine Scandal.)

  58. @andros: I begin to see why you aren’t very good at providing evidence, as your research skills need some work.

    Here is what you need: click.

    But if you are now admitting that you have super strong opinions about this entire affair, and you haven’t even read the phone call memo, then I take your position even less seriously than I did.

  59. I would note that what has been noted to date is that the way Zelensky was going to provide the investigations was to go on CNN and say there would be investigations.

  60. Mike in Arlington says:

    @andros: Again, you’re taking liberties with what was said. According to the memo documenting the call, Trump first claims that Biden stopped the prosecution of Hunter, which is factually wrong. The prosecution was dormant, so there was nothing to stop.

    Secondly, Biden never bragged that he stopped the prosecution. He bragged that he was instrumental in ousting a corrupt investigator.

    The irony here is that by doing that, he was increasing the chances of an investigation of Hunter, not decreasing them.

    *snip*
    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.
    *snip*

  61. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    your research skills need some work.

    I’m reminded that, before we get into citing work and owning moves, the foundation of conducting good research is to seek out and seriously consider counter-factuals.

  62. andros says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Thank you. “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.”

  63. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @andros:
    You’re still thick as a brick, J-nos.
    This is testimony under oath and not a “memo” of a call, the accuracy of which cannot be confirmed.

    SCHIFF: But he had to get those two investigations if that official act was going to take place, correct?
    SONDLAND: He had to announce the investigations. He didn’t actually have to do them, as I understood it.

    GOLDMAN: Giuliani and President Trump didn’t actually care if they did them, right?
    SONDLAND: I never heard, Mr. Goldman, anyone say that the investigations had to start or be completed. The only thing I heard from Mr. Giuliani or otherwise was that they had to be announced. … President Trump presumably, communicated through Mr. Giuliani, wanted the Ukrainians on-record publicly that they were going to do those investigations.

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  64. andros says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    So why is Joe so distressed by the requests for documents related to his tenure as the “point man” for Ukraine?

  65. andros says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Um, hum, based on what staffers “understood” to be required for a personal meeting. So we just ignore the transcript, right?

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  66. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @andros:

    So we just ignore the transcript, right?

    THERE IS NO TRANSCRIPT!!!
    What the Ambassador was told by Rudy was required for the release of the Military Aide, and a White House Meeting.

    We need a favor, though.

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  67. Mike in Arlington says:

    @andros: Do you have a cite for Joe being so “distressed” by the document requests? I found a couple of quotes saying that there’s nothing there, but it’s possible that I missed them.

  68. David Milne says:

    @andros:

    “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.”

    Thanks for providing the iron-clad evidence Trump committed a crime and deserves to be impeached and removed from office.

  69. David M says:

    @andros:

    “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.”

    Thanks for providing the iron-clad evidence Trump committed a crime and deserves to be impeached and removed from office.

  70. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @andros:
    @Mike in Arlington:

    So why is Joe so distressed

    I’ve seen nothing about Biden being distressed. This is typical J-nos strawman bullshit.
    Biden said he’s embarrassed for Graham for being a Trump toady, and that Graham will eventually regret selling his soul to someone like Trump.
    Also, Biden has no say…they are Government records. Certainly the corrupt fuqers running the DOJ and State aren’t going to keep anything from Graham.

  71. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: He probably has some private papers and notes from his time as VP, but I haven’t seen any requests for those documents, at least not yet. I also haven’t seen any reluctance on his part either.

  72. de stijl says:

    Pretty straight forward extortion scheme. Not complex at all.

    Monty Python did it in 1970 in the Mafia vs. Army sketch.

    “Nice base you’ve got here. Shame if sumfimg happened to it.”

  73. andros says:

    @David M:
    Please try to keep up. The “party line” is now that Trump had no intention of going after Biden. He just wanted an “announcement” on CNN.

    Jeez, like shooting birds on the ground.

  74. Kurtz says:

    @andros:

    Take your pick: a.) Trump is so incompetent that his key people don’t know what he expects for them to do on an issue Trump cares a great deal about; or b.) they knew what he expected of them, and just told us under oath.

    Either of those, one of which must be true, is damning.

  75. David M says:

    @andros:

    Yes, requesting an announcement that his political rival is under investigation is obviously impeachable. Quite so, in fact. It’s silly to pretend not to understand this.

  76. Mikey says:

    @andros: It’s not the “party line,” it’s what Ambassador Sondland testified to under oath.

    And if you want to drag out the whole “supposition” horseshit, don’t bother. Anyone with the common sense nature gave a garden snail could figure out what Trump was after. Sondland is many things, but stupid ain’t one.

  77. JohnSF says:

    @andros:

    the Bidens’ unseemly activities in Ukraine

    You assert their activities were unseemly; with what reason?

    I’ve said this before; there was no plain evidence at the time, or so far as I am aware, that has been uncovered since, to assume that Burisma Holdings in the period after Hunter Biden’s appointment was engaged in corrupt activities.
    Still less that Hunter Biden himself was.

    Once more: the corruption under investigation relation to Burisma was that of the period 2002 to 2014, how the company was set up, it’s ownership structure, operating licences etc.

    I presume you basis for saying Joe Biden’s actions were “unseemly” (and what nicely unspecific word that is) was the dismissal of Shokin.
    A dismissal that numerous parties were calling for due to Shokin’s foot dragging on the investigation of Burisma 2002-2014.

    Zelensky had to be “leaned on”

    On what basis do you make this accusation?
    You then claim that the delay in aid was both trivial symbolism and also sufficient to compel Zelensky’s cooperation.
    Which was it? Choose.

    And if compelling Zelensky to act on Ukrainian corruption was so important, why did it suddenly become unimportant when Giuliani’s three stooges act and the telephone call of 25 July began attracting attention?

    Once again, the fact that there was a ceasefire does not make the issue of support less important to Ukraine, whether for military reasons, or for the indication of American intent to oppose potential Russian aggression.

    The obvious conclusion, as you now proclaim was “nailing Biden’s hide to the wall”.
    Yet no evidence has been shown that this was an appropriate objective of US policy, rather than a simple effort to procure the personal gain of an unsubstantiated smear against a political opponent.
    Without such evidence, the actions of Trump and his agents are wholly improper, requiring investigation, and potentially impeacheable.
    And for avoidance of toe curling embarrassment, the less said about the absurd “Ukraine meddled in the election” line the better.

    I would note that for all your disparaging of Zelensky as unconcerned with corruption, his resistance to the easy course of producing a trumped up accusation shows him in a far better light than those making such demands.

    Yes, the supposedly “corrupt” Ukraine shows a moral integrity that Trump and his partisans lack.

  78. JohnSF says:

    how explain Burisma’s attempt (invoking Hunter’s name) to dispute, with the State Dept., the charges of corruption made against it immediately after Zlochevsky’s properties were seized?

    This, again…. ?
    I’ll just copy a previous reply to you.

    The seizure of Zlochevsky’s property (property he had in effect abandoned two years previously when he fled Ukraine) was trivial.
    A masquerade.
    His remaining personal assets in Ukraine were insignificant compared to the amounts moved to various havens, let alone the billions total worth of Burisma.

    Said Burisma wealth was only endangered if his dealings before 2014 were placed in legal jeopardy. Which Shokin was not doing.

    After 2014 Zlochevsky was not running Burisma; the board at that time had every reason to want to keep him at a distance, and likely to strip him of ownership entirely. It would make their lives easier, and also open up valuable avenues for asset redistribution in Ukraine.

    In any event Shokin 2016 was NOT investigating Burisma 2016; he was SUPPOSED to be investigating Burisma 2002-2014.

    As Tramontano stated in 2016 there was no prima facie reason at that point to suppose Burisma the company, as opposed to Zlochevsky the nominal (and very much absent) owner, was corrupt.

    Shokin’s dismissal was precisely because, like his predecessor Yarema, he was dragging his heels on this; with the connivance of other influential Ukrainians who would prefer that the murkier aspects of the period of Russian dominance be forgotten. By late 2015 the EU, UK, US agencies etc. were all pressing for Shokin to be dismissed.

    It is true that Zlochevsky returned in 2018 (and subsequently left again) and remains the legal owner of Burisma; largely because the stonewalling of Yarema and Shokin owner rendered prosecution re. 2002-2014 enormously difficult.
    He is still a formal suspect of embezzlement; but proceeding are on hold because Ukraine has no legal confirmation of his current whereabouts (in fact he’s in Monaco).

    Shokin’s subsequent claims that he was dismissed to protect the Biden’s are quite obviously an attempt to exculpate his own failure, for whatever reason, to properly investigate Burisma 2002-2014.

    If there is evidence to the contrary, let it be presented, investigated and if appropriate prosecuted.

  79. @de stijl: I have thought of that skit more than once during all of this.

  80. @andros:

    Thank you. “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.”

    And herein lies the problem: Biden DID NOT STOP A PROSECUTION.

    And, AGAIN, this is not how investigations work.

  81. And BTW, please everyone stop with Jenos business. It is just taunting and not productive.

    At this point, I don’t even think that is who it is, although I will admit there are similarities.

    If it is him, he deserves pity for needing attention so badly as to come back yet again.

  82. andros says:

    @JohnSF:
    Gimme a break. The properties “actually used” by Zlochevsky, seized pursuant to a court order of 2-2-16, include “a housing estate with a total area of 922 square meters, a land plot of 0.024 hectares, a garden house with a total area of 299.8 square meters, a land plot of 0.0894 hectares, a Rolls Royce Phantom . . .” (Court Seizes Property of Ex-Minister Zlochevsky in Ukraine, Interfax-Ukraine, 2-4-16.) It was immediately thereafter that Burisma, through Blue Star Strategies, invoking Hunter’s name, protested to the State
    Dept. that the charges against it were groundless. Biden demanded Shokin’s dismissal within days. The public interest requires a full investigation of this matter. And tell me, just what did the replacement prosecutor, Lutsenko, praised by Biden as “solid,” do about Burisma?

  83. andros says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    You think I come here to audition for the house choir?

  84. David M says:

    @andros:

    As you’ve repeatedly been informed, the publicly available timeline shows that to be complete horseshit: https://www.justsecurity.org/66271/timeline-trump-giuliani-bidens-and-ukrainegate/

    Any response to this, or are you going to just stay in your protective cocoon of disinformation?

  85. Jax says:

    @andros: Trump’s choir, maybe, but not this choir.

    Jenos was a former commenter here who got banned several years back.

    For the record, I don’t think you’re him, either, despite some similarities in syntax. Just another garden variety Trumpie who….declines to see anything that might cast aspersions on your hero, and instead relies on this made up stuff that you consume elsewhere and present to us as “facts”, but refuse to provide the evidence for.

  86. @andros:

    You think I come here to audition for the house choir?

    Clearly not. Nor, in fact, is that what I want.

    I want cogent arguments backed by evidence.

  87. JohnSF says:

    @andros:

    “a housing estate with a total area of 922 square meters, a land plot of 0.024 hectares, a garden house with a total area of 299.8 square meters, a land plot of 0.0894 hectares, a Rolls Royce Phantom . . .”

    Is this supposed to prove something?
    Are these seizures meant to be significant?
    We are talking about a billionaire here.
    These seizures are trivial.

    And “actually used” by Zlochevsky!
    This is absurd.
    They might have been “actually used” by him in the past.
    In 2016 they had not been “actually used” by him for at least two years, because, TO REPEAT THIS YET AGAIN Zlochevsky had made a hasty exit from Ukraine after the revolution of 2014.

    Shokin’s seizures are generally viewed by anyone who has looked at Ukrainian affairs seriously, as a tissue thin cover for his actual failure to investigate Burisma/Zlochevsky 2002 to 2014.

    By 2016 the stonewalling of prosecutors Yaremna and Shokin since 2014 (and the collusion of various Ukrainian figures involved in pre-revolution oligarchic self-dealing) had rendered the uncovering of hard evidence from 2002-2014 almost impossible.

    Though there are still formal charges outstanding against Zlochevsky, there is now virtually zero chance that evidence remains that can legally strip him of ownership. Lutsenko, and his successors, had little chance by that point of ever mounting a successful prosecution.

    immediately thereafter that Burisma, through Blue Star Strategies, invoking Hunter’s name, protested to the State

    After, but not necessarily (or, in fact, credibly) because of.

    Tramontano was quite reasonably pointing out to the State Department that there was no reason for a board independent of Zlochevsky, that had been appointed post-2014, to, in 2016 to be implicated in his dealings during the period 2002-2014.
    Again, yet again: Burisma 2016 ≠ Zlochevsky/Burisma pre-2014

    The public interest requires a full investigation of this matter

    The public interest requires no such thing, as this matter is a trivially transparent masquerade to justify extorting a political smear.

    If there’s any good reason or evidence contrary, show it.
    But don’t try to hide behind a ludicrous, and possibly deliberate, misrepresentation of the whole Burima/Zlochevsky/Shokin sequence of events.

  88. David M says:

    @JohnSF:

    These late actions by Shokin in 2016 can reasonably be seen as similar to Trump getting on the phone and saying “no quid pro quo” and releasing the aid after the whistleblower had reported his crimes.

    In both cases, they knew the jig was up and they were caught, so these are nothing more than desperate CYA attempts, and should be viewed as evidence of their guilt, not innocence.

  89. An Interested Party says:

    And what part of the Constitution was offended when Trump elected to work through someone he could trust, thus avoiding “leaks” from malcontent underlings?

    Trump Denies Giuliani Acted on His Behalf in Ukraine: ‘Rudy Has Other Clients’

    Uh oh…sorry, that lie doesn’t work anymore, you’re going to have to come up with a new lie…

  90. JohnSF says:

    @David M:
    Yes, exactly.
    In reality, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that Zlochevsky had personally approved these seizures.
    Compared to value of the legal title to Burisma Holdings, whose revenues are roughly $500 million a year, a few parcels of real estate and a car are chump change.

  91. andros says:

    @JohnSF:
    Rubbish. Here’s the verbatim language from one of the State Dept. emails:

    “According to Tramontano, there is no evidence of corruption, has been no hearing or process, and evidence to the contrary has not been considered.”

    This language obviously encompasses accusations of both past and present corruption. The protest came immediately after the properties were seized. The “actually used” language comes from the court order.

  92. David M says:

    @andros:

    You’ve totally lost the plot here, as these random emails you won’t link to are irrelevant to this discussion. It literally doesn’t matter what they say.

    This reminds of the Uranium One scam, where the entire scandal was predicated on refusing to understand how the US Government works, as well as the concept of time.

  93. wr says:

    @andros: “You think I come here to audition for the house choir?”

    No. House eunuch, maybe.

  94. David M says:

    As a reminder, people who take corruption seriously should be working overtime to remove Trump from office, not spreading disinformation to damage his opponents: https://thebulwark.com/trumps-turkey-corruption-is-way-worse-than-you-realize/

    Trump not divesting himself of his private businesses should be the end of the idea he cares one iota about anything but himself and his own private interests.

  95. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott F.:

    …too many in the US have been conditioned to believe that all politicians are corrupt.

    All politicians are corrupt because all human beings are corrupt. (Yes, I was brought up by Calvinists, why do you ask?) The key is that some human beings are less corrupt, some are more corrupt, and different people react to various types of corruption in different ways as Kevin Drum notes. How people react to corruption tells others about their values and character. What we learn from the current events in DC is that Republicans at large and nearly universally have no boundaries whatsoever as to what sorts of corruption they will explain away. Republicans–and by extension holders of conservative political philosophy–by large majorities and even among the so-called responsible voices for the movement have demonstrated that they will accept any sort of corruption and will defend whatever their leadership will do to the nation and its image in the world. To invoke the famous quote from the Army McCarthy hearings, at long last, they have no decency.

  96. de stijl says:

    One day Joyner will have a true buddy in his secret awesome clubhouse.

    andros is not the one.

    Just this week I got Parvati her perfect date in Outer Worlds with her dream girl. The fancy dress, the something backdraft casserole, the dessert. The whatever else fetch quest item.

    That was actually very well written and voice acted. Ashley Burch always kills it, but this was particularly affecting.

    Parvati, as a companion, is very well done and her companion mission is very touching. And it addresses asexualism and interplay with romantic desires.

    I was quite touched. I might even have been beset by allergies and had leaky eyes for ten minutes or so. Okay, so I cried my eyes out.

    I’ve never been happier to conclude a companion quest in a single player game.

    Parvati is the best and I love her. It made me happy to see her happy.

  97. de stijl says:

    Ashly (mispelled it earlier. It’s Ashly not Ashley) Burch is a phenomenal voice actor.

    She was Chloe Price in Life Is Strange, Tiny Tina in Borderlands 2 & 3, Aloy in Horizon Zero Dawn, had her own gaming comedy web series in Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’? with bro Anthony and featuring their mom and dad and was one of the best web shorts series ever, the aforementioned Parvati Holcomb, etc.

    In short, Ashly Burch is a total bad ass. Check her out. HAWP is one of if not my all time favorite YT channels.

  98. JohnSF says:

    @andros:

    This language obviously encompasses accusations of both past and present corruption.

    This language obviously encompasses no such thing.

    It would have been highly unlikely for her to assert that Burisma pre-2014 had been “clean” when everyone even peripherally involved was aware it was highly suspect, and many key players had been pressing for investigations and running up against Shokin’s delays.

    From the context it appears sensible to assume Tramontano was referring to the current operations of Burisma in 2016.

    If you insist on a decontextualised reading of Tramontano’s statements, remember we have seen only second and third hand reports of her statements, not the original versions, or her testimony on the matter. (It seems unclear even how her original statement were made: written or verbal etc.)

    Was Hunter Biden unwise to swim in the shark infested waters of the Ukrainian energy industry? Perhaps.
    Was Joe Biden over-optimistic at best on how easily the bidding of the US could reform the Ukraine business/finance/politics ?
    Looks like it.

    But the easiest way for the post-2014 board of Burisma to end the embarrassments of its tainted legacy of Zlochevsky’s pre-2014 dealing would have been to expedite his legal expropriation via prosecution, not to protect him.

    Maybe I shouldn’t put ideas in your head but, anyway: more effective than attacking the Biden’s on the non-prosecution of Zlochevsky and the protests over Burisma’s status by Tramonntano, it would be more logical to accuse Joe Biden of attempting to advantage his son by the uwarraranted attempted expropiation of poor innocent Zlochevsky (irony alert!) forced upon the diligent law officer Shokin (irony alert!)

    Anyway, even had both the Bidens’ been parading down Kiev High Street in clown costumes selling fake Burisma bonds to little old ladies while a Marine Corps Band marched by, Trump’s pressurising of Zelensky was both hilariously and horrifyingly incompetent as method of pursuing a proper investigation, and blatantly open to accusations of impeacheable self-dealing.

  99. andros says:

    In summation, the House Choir has been forced to aver that the unseemly tenure of the Bidens in Ukraine, including Joe’s apparent indifference to Hunter’s self-enrichment spree, to the tune of millions, with a notoriously corrupt concern, should not be investigated; that (in defiance of the transcript) Trump didn’t ask Zelensky to investigate corruption and cooperate with Barr; that Trump had no real interest in exposing the Bidens’ misconduct (see, he just wanted the announcement of an investigation on CNN); that he improperly relied on a trusted associate to develop information, bypassing leak-like-a-sieve staffers; that the media reports of the seizure of Zlochevsky’s properties are false; that “national security” was imperiled by (allegedly) delaying the delivery of anti-tank weapons, with a view to getting Zelensky committed to investigating corruption (despite the fact that a truce had been in effect since March, and the weaponry described by Ex-ambassador Yovanovitch as a “symbol” of support.)

    I rest my case.

  100. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @andros:

    I rest my case.

    Your case, J-enos, is at variance with the facts…per usual.

  101. JohnSF says:

    @andros:
    You have paid absolutely zero attention to rebuttals of your arguments, merely dodged, evaded, ignored, then repeated in slightly modified form and doubled-down.

    You repeatedly take one aspect of a thing which is, or at least may be, true and inflated it out of all recognition to cloak a whole convoy of non sequiturs.

    You use rhetorical tropes and sleights without regard to proportion or rationality (“unseemly … spree”) using emotional innuendos and exaggerations to disguise a paucity of hard evidence.

    You seem to feel that by assigning your opponents to a collective category of fanatic radicalism, then playing games with evidence and rationality on the part of yourself or your fellow partisans is excusable by the righteousness of your cause.

    And you simply gloss over the unethical self-serving of President Trump as being of no moment.

    Well, I am done with this particular debate.

    As I have no cause to be partisan for the Bidens’, I’ll leave here an invitation: if ever you stumble across genuine evidence of wrongdoing, please make it known.

    And if you can, perhaps, give a plausible explanation, not a feeble high school debating society excuse, why the President, were he truly concerned with corruption of Bidens and/or Ukraine, should pursue it so laughably incompetently, and not assign his Attorney General, Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to pursue if in an effective, coordinated and appropriate manner.

    Until such time, goodbye and good luck.

  102. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @JohnSF:
    You have spelled out the J-enos M.O.

  103. David M says:

    @andros:

    And just what do you suppose Giuliani was doing, if not investigating?

    Giuliani was shaking down the Ukrainians and helping corrupt officials aligned with Russia. Which seems right on brand for one of Trump’s goons.

    https://www.vox.com/2019/11/27/20985915/impeachment-giuliani-ukraine-payments

  104. @andros:

    I rest my case.

    A case requires presentation of evidence.