Trump Repeatedly Pushed Ukraine To Investigate Biden’s Son

The details about President Trump's attempts to get Ukraine to investigate the son of one of his potential 2020 rivals keep getting worse for the President.

As further details emerge about the phone call between President Trump and the President of Ukraine that apparently is the focus of a complaint from a whistleblower inside the intelligence community the worse things are looking for the Trump Administration even as it pushes back against the suggestion that the President did anything wrong, Based on reporting that has been confirmed by both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post reports that President Trump sought to influence the Ukrainians to open an investigation of the son of former Vice-President Joe Biden and that he was apparently using an arms sale that had already been authorized by Congress to do so:

President Trump pressed the leader of Ukraine to investigate the son of former vice president Joe Biden in a call between the two leaders that is at the center of an extraordinary whistleblower complaint, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Trump used the July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to pressure the recently elected leader to pursue an investigation that Trump thought would deliver potential political dirt on one of his possible challengers in 2020, the people said.

The descriptions of the call provide the clearest indication to date that Trump sought to use the influence of his office to prod the leader of a country seeking American financial and diplomatic support to provide material that could aid the president’s reelection. After spending much of his presidency fending off allegations that he welcomed 2016 campaign help from Russia, Trump now stands accused of soliciting political ammunition from a country next door to Russia.

Trump on Friday repeated his denial that he has done anything untoward in his conversations with world leaders, but he refused to address whether he had raised the issue of a dormant investigation of a company that previously employed the Democratic presidential contender’s son, Hunter Biden.

“It doesn’t matter what I discussed,” said Trump, who criticized journalists for covering the issue. “It’s another media disaster,” Trump said, even though the intelligence community’s inspector general has assessed the whistleblower complaint as credible and a matter of such urgency that it should be disclosed to the relevant committees in Congress.

One source familiar with the contents of the phone call said that Trump did not raise the issue of American military and intelligence aid that the administration was at the time withholding from Ukraine — indicating that there may not have been an explicit quid pro quo expressed in that conversation.

The call, however, is part of a broader set of facts included in the whistleblower complaint that is at the center of a showdown between the executive branch and Congress, with officials in the Trump administration refusing to divulge information about the substance of an Aug. 12 complaint to the inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community.

Other former U.S. officials familiar with the substance of the whistleblower complaint said it alleges that Trump at some point came closer to conveying a proposed quid pro quo. They said the complaint described a “promise” the president made or an offer of some benefit to a foreign leader.

The revelation that Trump pushed Zelensky to pursue the probe of a company with links to Biden, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, helps to explain why a U.S. intelligence official who apparently learned about the call felt compelled to file a whistleblower action against the president

For those wondering, there are several statutes that would cover a situation where a politician or candidate sought to get a foreigner to interfere in an American election. Not the least of these is 50 U.S.C. 30121(2) which states that “It shall be unlawful for… a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation [of a thing of value] from a foreign national.” Additionally, there would be potential violations of 18 U.S.C. 371(1) which states:

If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

If the latest allegations are true then it’s hard to understate what the President is doing here. Just as he did when, in a speech at a campaign rally, he called on Russia to “find” the “30,000 emails” allegedly deleted from Hillary Clinton’s email server, (video here) the President is asking for the help of a foreign government in the context of a Presidential election. In 2016, it was Russia. In 2019, it appears to be Ukraine. Even while Congress is still engaged in an effort to get the information it needs to thoroughly investigate what happened in 2016 and the apparent efforts of the Trump White House to impede the investigation of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as other allegations that have been made against this President, we’re now presented with something entirely new to investigate.

As with the Russia investigation, there are two things that need to be looked into. The first involves the allegation made public by these latest reports that the President, both by himself and through his private attorney Rudy Giuliani has attempted to influence a foreign government to investigate a domestic political rival. The second involves the handling of this whistleblower complaint and why the Administration has blocked the Director of National Intelligence and the Inspector General from following regular procedure, which would mean providing the House and Senate Intelligence Committees with a copy of the Complaint and access to the whistleblower. After all, as more than one person has noted in the past several days has said, if the contents of his conservation with the Ukrainian President are being even halfway accurately reported then he is essentially admitting to having conspired to break the law.

Writing in the Washington Post, George Conway, the husband of Trump Adviser Kellyanne Conway, and Neal Kaytal, former Solicitor General in the Trump Administration, call these latest allegations “over the top,” and they’re right:

Simply put, the framers viewed the president as a fiduciary, the government of the United States as a sacred trust and the people of the United States as the beneficiaries of that trust. Through the Constitution, the framers imposed upon the president the duty and obligation to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” and made him swear an oath that he would fulfill that duty of faithful execution. They believed that a president would break his oath if he engaged in self-dealing — if he used his powers to put his own interests above the nation’s. That would be the paradigmatic case for impeachment.

That’s exactly what appears to be at issue today. A whistleblower in U.S. intelligence lodged a complaint with the intelligence community’s inspector general so alarming that he labeled it of “urgent concern” and alerted the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Though the details remain secret, apparently this much can be gleaned: The complaint is against the president. It concerns a “promise” that the president made, in at least one phone call, with a foreign leader. And it involves Ukraine and possible interference with the next presidential election. The complaint is being brazenly suppressed by the Justice Department — in defiance of a whistleblower law that says, without exception, the complaint “shall” be turned over to Congress. 

We also know this: As he admitted Thursday night on CNN, the president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, has been trying to persuade the Ukrainian government to investigate, among other things, one of Trump’s potential Democratic opponents, former vice president Joe Biden, and Biden’s son Hunter about the latter’s involvement with a Ukrainian gas company.

(…)

Trump has already done more than enough to warrant impeachment and removal with his relentless attempts, on multiple fronts, to sabotage the counterintelligence and criminal investigation by then-special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and to conceal evidence of those attempts. The president’s efforts were impeachable because, in committing those obstructive acts, he put his personal interests above the nation’s: He tried to stop an investigation into whether a hostile foreign power, Russia, tried to interfere with our democracy — simply because he seemed to find it personally embarrassing. Trump breached his duty of faithful execution to the nation not only because he likely broke the law but also because, through his disregard for the law, he put his self-interest first.

The current whistleblowing allegations, however, are even worse. Unlike the allegations of conspiracy with Russia before the 2016 election, these concern Trump’s actions as president, not as a private citizen, and his exercise of presidential powers over foreign policy with Ukraine. Moreover, with Russia, at least there was an attempt to get the facts through the Mueller investigation; here the White House is trying to shut down the entire inquiry from the start — depriving not just the American people, but even congressional intelligence committees, of necessary information.

It is high time for Congress to do its duty, in the manner the framers intended. Given how Trump seems ever bent on putting himself above the law, something like what might have happened between him and Ukraine — abusing presidential authority for personal benefit — was almost inevitable. Yet if that is what occurred, part of the responsibility lies with Congress, which has failed to act on the blatant oquobstruction that Mueller detailed months ago. 

As things stand today, we don’t know the whole story here. We don’t know exactly what the President discussed with the President of Ukraine during that July phone call. We don’t know if there was a formal quid pro quo put forward by the President regarding the release of the hold on arms sales to Ukraine and an investigation of the Biden affair. We don’t know if there were any subsequent conservations during which this was raized. We don’t know if such an offer was made during Rudy Giuliani’s visits to Ukraine. We also don’t know what it was about this July phone call that set off alarm bells for both the whistleblower and the intelligence community Inspector General, and we don’t know on what legal basis or why the White House insisted that the complaint not be turned over to Congress as generally required. All of this must be investigated thoroughly and the facts need to be put before the American public. Instead of allowing that to happen, the White House is doing everything it can to prevent the truth from coming out. The reader can determine for themselves why this is the case.

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

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    Yes, Trump is a criminal. He belongs in prison.

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  2. Teve says:

    Guy I just blocked on Social Media about 4 minutes ago:

    How is this any different from Obama?

    Social Media can go from a negative to a positive in your life once you decide to just ban the dumbest assholes.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Occam’s Razor says guilty as charged.

    giuliani’s razor says, “Deep State!”

    kellyanne’s razor says, “Alernative facts!”

    trump’s razor says, “Leave me out of this.”

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  4. de stijl says:

    James Joyner when there is a Republican President:

    Gosh! This is regrettable. Too bad there is no remedy. Everybody cope.

    James Joyner when there is a Democratic President:

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  5. de stijl says:

    @Teve:

    I squarely in the camp of “just don’t”.

    I tweeted a what I thought was a cool pic of a pangolin being feisty, and I got hate crap.

    Just don’t, but if you do, realize it’s a sewer. And you absolutely cannot “win” any argument in any conventional sense. So disengage.

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  6. @Doug:

    We don’t know if there was a formal quid pro quo put forward by the President

    I think that having the President of the United States make a suggestion of this type, even if not in the context of explicit quid pro quo, if nonetheless an implicit quid pro quo.

    If a far less powerful country is in need of aid from a far more powerful country, one does not need to be explicit in these cases.

    And, of course, the implicit ask is typical of organized crime bosses.

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  7. Chip Daniels says:

    The Constitution of course, has a remedy for a corrupt and lawless Executive.

    But it doesn’t have one for a corrupt and lawless Executive, corrupt and lawless Senate, Justice Department, and SCOTUS which all work to protect and shield the lawbreaker.

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  8. CSK says:

    Well, what do you expect from a failed casino operator?

    ReplyReply
  9. Teve says:

    David Frum
    @davidfrum
    ·
    1h
    Can we please drop this nonsense about Trump asking Ukraine to “investigate” Biden? As Anders Aslund, a real expert, notes: there is no honest accusation against Biden. What Trump wanted was a fabrication, not an investigation.

    Anders Åslund
    @anders_aslund
    · Sep 20
    For the record: VP Joe Biden did a stellar work on Ukraine. He had the support of the whole Ukraine community, pressing President Poroshenko to do more for the rule of law & he achieved substantial results. Biden deserves only praise for his work in Ukraine!

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  10. Nickel Front says:

    Oops. typo

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  11. Nickel Front says:

    Are we all just going to ignore the actual quid pro quo between Obama/Biden and Ukraine?

    Wouldn’t getting more details about *that* deal be important to ensure the integrity of the 2020 election?

    Don’t we all deserve to know why Biden didn’t want an investigation into his son? I want that truth to come out.

    Then there’s that whole routing a phony dossier thru a foreign power to justify spying on a presidential campaign… But I digress.

    And can we please stop with the idiocy around Trump “asking” for Russia’s help with Hillary’s emails. It was a joke. Come on, dude.

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  12. Nickel Front says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    What’s worse?

    An explicit quid pro quo involving the VPs son?

    Or a suggested quid pro quo?

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  13. Lounsbury says:

    @Nickel Front: what is worse is Bolshevik style dezinformatsia in a Politburo over Rule of Law attitude, although Trump has learned well from his KGB friend, Mr Putin.

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  14. Moosebreath says:

    @Lounsbury:

    “although Trump has learned well from his KGB friend, Mr Putin.”

    I suspect that Nickel learned from his brother Storm.

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  15. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Nickel Front:

    I’ll assume for now you’ve asked these questions earnestly.

    Wouldn’t getting more details about *that* deal be important to ensure the integrity of the 2020 election?

    The allegation Trump is trying to raise is that Biden behaved improperly while in office in pressuring the Ukraine gov to fire a prosecutor investigating his son.

    First, were the allegations to be true, that has nothing to do with the integrity of the election. Whereas evidence that the POTUS is using the power of his office to pressure foreign governments into investigating his political opponents is a threat to the integrity of the election.

    Now, that is not to say that these allegations, were they to be true, shouldn’t be a campaign topic. Indeed, that behavior by Biden would be hugely consequential, but the Trump Campaign would have to be entity engaging in the opposition research/investigation. Trump the President using his powers to engage foreign countries in campaign work would be quite illegal.

    Don’t we all deserve to know why Biden didn’t want an investigation into his son? I want that truth to come out.

    Thankfully, the truth is already out. This Ukrainian investigation into Hunter Biden, and more importantly Joe Bidens pressure on the Ukraine gov to fire a prosecutor, wasn’t exactly widely reported in the US so you can be forgiven for not knowing the timeline. But the reason it wasn’t covered much isn’t because of a MSM conspiracy, but simply because there’s no there there.

    A Ukraine prosecutor was part of an investigation into a natural gas company on whose board Hunter Biden sits.

    That investigation ends, without charges filed.

    The prosecutor in question who was on the investigatory team was widely seen as corrupt, as are many gov officials in Ukraine, as Trump has acknowledged.

    A full year after the investigation ended, Biden as part of a larger push to tackle corruption in Ukraine, pushes the Ukraine government to fire that prosecutor. Considering the length of time that had passed since the closure of the investigation into the natural gas company, and considering the investigation filed no charges, Bidens actions are entirely appropriate.

    Here’s a documented timeline: https://news.yahoo.com/timeline-ukraine-probe-casts-doubt-040001982.html

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  16. JKB says:

    Here we are in the weekend news cycle with the news filled with discussions of Joe Biden’s brag about blackmailing the Ukraine government, with Biden’s assertion of Obama’s full support, to fire a prosecutor who was investigating a company where Hunter Biden was a board member. All the appearance of impropriety.

    Oh and subtext, that the intelligence community is monitoring the President and these days is willing to take action to subvert the President.

    Naval Ravikant asked :

    Naval @naval Sep 19

    Does it bother anyone else that our elected officials live in a panopticon run by our intelligence agencies?

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  17. Neil Hudelson says:

    @JKB:

    With the exception that none of things you describe have happened, you raise a great point.

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  18. Teve says:

    Too bad this site doesn’t have Social Media’s capabilities. 😛 😀

    ReplyReply
  19. steve says:


    Oh and subtext, that the intelligence community is monitoring the President and these days is willing to take action to subvert the President.”

    Just reporting what the president did is subversion? Trump fans may be true and total believers, but I think most of us are OK with having communications monitored. That should be the case no matter the party of the officeholder.

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  20. michael reynolds says:

    @Nickel Front:
    Nice try troll. No one’s buying. This ain’t the stoopid forum.

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  21. wr says:

    @Nickel Front: “Are we all just going to ignore the actual quid pro quo between Obama/Biden and Ukraine?”

    Gosh, little Nickel Troll, you’ve really got us there. Clearly the real villain here is Biden and Trump is merely trying to shine a light on a hidden truth.

    One question, though: If Trump really believes that Biden is guilty of corruption, why didn’t he simply ask his justice department to start an investigation? And once it was under way, the investigators could easily and legitimately reached out to the government of Ukraine. Why did Trump go directly to Ukraine’s president, without involving US law enforcement, and why did he desperately try to keep this secret?

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  22. Nickel Front says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Great.
    So you don’t care that Obama and Biden actually did what Trump is accused of doing.

    If you think Trump is guilty of treason here but Obama/Biden’s actions were no big deal you can’t be taken seriously.

    Also, I’m obviously a Russian Bot, not a troll. Get your flippant responses right.

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  23. Raoul says:

    What’s Trump trying to do here-is he really going to extradite Biden pursuant to a warrant in the middle of an election? The GOP is ok with this?

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  24. Guarneri says:

    Sewer journalism, sewer bloggers, sewer commenters.

    This is how an honest person reports. You know, an award winning investigative journalist, not a sewer dweller:

    https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/436816-joe-bidens-2020-ukrainian-nightmare-a-closed-probe-is-revived

    Much of the article deals with whether Joe Biden used his political office and influence improperly. The Ukrainian prosecutor who succeeded the one Biden got fired seems to think there is a problem, but that’s an open issue yet to be resolved. However, that prosecutor did in fact reopen the Burisma investigation, and apparently wanted to bring up some findings with the US AG:

    “But then, as Biden’s 2020 campaign ramped up over the past year, Lutsenko — the Ukrainian prosecutor that Biden once hailed as a “solid” replacement for Shokin — began looking into what happened with the Burisma case that had been shut down.

    Lutsenko told me that, while reviewing the Burisma investigative files, he discovered “members of the Board obtained funds as well as another U.S.-based legal entity, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, for consulting services.”

    Lutsenko said some of the evidence he knows about in the Burisma case may interest U.S. authorities and he’d like to present that information to new U.S. Attorney General William Barr, particularly the vice president’s intervention.

    “Unfortunately, Mr. Biden had correlated and connected this aid with some of the HR (personnel) issues and changes in the prosecutor’s office,” Lutsenko said.

    Nazar Kholodnytskyi, the lead anti-corruption prosecutor in Lutsenko’s office, confirmed to me in an interview that part of the Burisma investigation was reopened in 2018, after Joe Biden made his remarks. “We were able to start this case again,” Kholodnytskyi said.

    But he said the separate Ukrainian police agency that investigates corruption has dragged its feet in gathering evidence. “We don’t see any result from this case one year after the reopening because of some external influence,” he said, declining to be more specific.”

    Golly-gosh. Unlike the portrayal among sewer rats in media, the Dem Party and the blogosphere painting a picture of Trump, motivated by political gain, unilaterally encouraging – who knows? bribing? – Ukraine to open or pursue investigation, in fact its the other way around. Ukraine reopened the Burisma investigation, discovered concerns and expressed a desire to relay those concerns and issues to US authorities. Something about “external influences” you see. I’m shocked! Shocked!!

    And we certainly can’t have a US president talking to his Ukrainian counterpart, who knows, even encouraging, inquiry into obstructionist “outside influences” or corrupt US political influence. Especially when those concerns were brought to him first. No effing way, man. He should just STFU. In fact, there is clearly only one rational avenue: impeach the President.

    US media, bloggers, Schiff and other sewer dwellers. What a joke. But Bernie, Lizzy and Kamala must be giddy.

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  25. michael reynolds says:

    @Nickel Front:
    I said nothing about Russians, you’re just a dishonest cultie.

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  26. michael reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    I told you you’d end up defending treason and criminality.

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  27. charon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    If a far less powerful country is in need of aid from a far more powerful country, one does not need to be explicit in these cases.

    And, of course, the implicit ask is typical of organized crime bosses.

    I believe those are concepts beyond the ken of the very imaginative people of SCOTUS.

    ReplyReply
  28. wr says:

    @Nickel Front: “Also, I’m obviously a Russian Bot, not a troll. ”

    No, you’re the same old troll who used to post here all the time. Finally come up with a new screen name. Woo-hoo. You’re still as tedious as ever.

    ReplyReply
  29. Gustopher says:

    @Nickel Front: Nick, did you read @Neil Hudelson’s comment, or the story that he linked to?

    It really would help clear up your confusion as to what happened, and raises other questions like “why did Joe Biden pressure the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor who had cleared his son a year before?”

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  30. michael reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    Sunk costs. “In economics and business decision-making, a sunk cost (also known as retrospective cost) is a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered.” See, that’s your problem. You made a bad investment. You thought it’d go up, but it just keeps dropping. And you lack either the honesty or the courage to accept reality. Which is how you ended up pimping for a con man.

    This is a very common syndrome, and it’s one of the biggest reasons why con men are hard to prosecute. The suckers, er, victims, can’t admit they were conned. It hurts their ego too much. So they just keep on protecting their own ego by protecting the con man.

    This is non-recoverable for you now. You’ve tossed aside everything you used to say you believed in, you’ve gone all in for your grifter. If nothing else you lack the courage to admit that I was right and you were wrong. It would take some integrity to do that.

    Now, hell, if we had video of Tump raping a child you’d make excuses and yell ‘squirrel!’ Whatever integrity you ever had as a man you have now squandered in a pathetic defense of the very guy who put you in this position. You have the respect of no one. On the plus side I have you well-fixed as a character – I’ll be able to use you some day as a cautionary tale. It’ll be comedy.

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  31. mattbernius says:

    @Guarneri:

    This is how an honest person reports.

    “Reports” huh. Let’s check the notes.

    From link:
    “The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill.”

    Section that the link appears in: “Opinion” (meaning there is no editorial oversight or fact checking).

    It’s great to see you cannot seem to tell the difference between “reporting” and “editorial” content.

    Further if you read John Solomon’s bio, you discover he’s been a conservative reporter who transitioned into commentary. You also discover that he’s got a long history of stretching the truth while reporting. But he confirms your biases so you look right by that don’t you cause you need those conservative inc narratives injected right into your veins…

    Oh, and I can’t seem to tell what awards he’s won.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Solomon_(political_commentator)

    The key part of the Wikipedia page on John Solomon:

    In May 2018, the editor-in-chief of The Hill announced that Solomon would become an “opinion contributor” at The Hill while remaining executive vice president of digital video.[17] This came in the wake of reports that Solomon’s colleagues at The Hill criticized Solomon’s news reporting as lacking rigor and context.

    He was such a good “reporter” that his own organization is preventing him from calling what he does reporting.

    But I get it, this is how an honest person like you presents facts.

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  32. Liberal Capitalist says:

    “As things stand today, we don’t know the whole story here. We don’t know exactly what the President discussed with the President of Ukraine during that July phone call.”

    No. No we don’t. and THIS is why there is not a frogmarch out of office.

    This has blown up very quickly, and we do not even know for certain that this is what the whistleblower complaint is about.

    Mind you, I am no fan… but unless there is a tape, or witnesses to the call (that can be corroborated), or people stepping forward in the Ukraine willing to testify in an impeachment or court… then this is nothing.

    A tragedy, and a continuing one, but nothing actionable.

    “People familiar with the complaint….” Nope. Not good enough.

    When you come at the king, you best not miss.

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  33. @Nickel Front:

    And can we please stop with the idiocy around Trump “asking” for Russia’s help with Hillary’s emails. It was a joke. Come on, dude.

    Because, after all, who wouldn’t find humor in a person seeking to be the CINC asking for a foreign adversary to hack into the computers of the former Secretary of State?

    Hilarious!

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  34. @Nickel Front:

    So you don’t care that Obama and Biden actually did what Trump is accused of doing.

    Who is accusing Biden of seeking political dirt on his political opponents by leveraging his office to influence a foreign government (all in an effort to influence the outcome of an upcoming election)?

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  35. @Guarneri: I am going to state that I do not have a sufficient command of what Biden and son allegedly did to come to a firm conclusion.

    I will even say that if Biden did something untoward, he shouldn’t be the nominee and, just for kicks state that if he really did anything illegal, he should be punished.

    BUT THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH A DEFENSE OF TRUMP USING HIS OFFICE FOR POLITICAL GAIN BY ASKING A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT FOR DIRT ON A RIVAL.

    I would ask why this is so hard to understand, but I know that understanding isn’t your goal.

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  36. Raoul says:

    @Guarneri: I read the article- it is all insinuation without evidence. Also, more to the point, it is a deflection. The issue today is whether Trump conditioned military aid to a foreign country on the condition that they investigate a political opponent. Full stop.

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  37. Teve says:

    Lindsay Beyerstein
    @beyerstein
    · Sep 20
    It’s like if the media went off chasing the DNC after the Watergate burglary. What were they HIDING that Nixon would want to break into their offices?

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  38. Nickel Front says:

    @mattbernius: now we’re into dismissing information because you don’t like the author.

    Re the Yahoo piece: “Shokin said he believes he was fired because of his Burisma investigation, which he said had been active at the time.”
    So, active or no?
    Seems like he sure thought it was still open.

    I fully expect this We Finally Got Him This Time story, based on the word of someone without first hand knowledge of the conversation, to just fizzle out, as with every other Got Him story.
    But your lie is out there, so mission accomplished

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  39. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Raoul:

    Honestly, the issue is whether or not Trump asked a foreign country to investigate a political opponent in and of itself. Whether or not a quid pro quo was involved is a question of additional illegality.

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  40. wr says:

    @Nickel Front: “Seems like he sure thought it was still open.”

    No. It seems like some right-wing hack who was too unreliable for The Hill (!) to publish with a straight face has made a claim that editorial will not verify because he’s technically writing an opinion column.

    If this is “dismissing information because you don’t like the author,” so is my refusal to believe the crazy homeless guy down the street when he’s screaming about outer-space aliens living on the block. This is how human discourse works — we don’t just accept anything anyone says as truth, especially if we have reason to understand the speaker is a liar.

    Kind of why no one gives a damn what you’re saying.

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  41. Raoul says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I wrote “conditioned” which means quid pro quo.

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  42. mattbernius says:

    @Nickel Front:

    now we’re into dismissing information because you don’t like the author.

    Yes, but not in the way that you think. This was called “reporting.” I’m showing why that is incorrect (i.e. it wasn’t reporting) and providing evidence why the author cannot be trusted to be fairly presenting information.

    I am demonstrating that John Solomon is not a *reporter* and what he is doing is not *reporting*. That’s an opinion piece. And that means that Solomon doesn’t have to abide by the rules of reporting. It also means that the Hill doesn’t have to stand behind the story (if fact, they explicitly state that this doesn’t reflect the *opinion* or *beliefs* of the Hill). In fact, it means that Solomon doesn’t have to have any external fact checking or editing on the piece.

    That’s really important distinctions.

    Solomon could write that “Joe Biden slept with Shokin” and that would theoretically be ok because opinion pieces do not have the be accurate.

    Further, I’m pointing out that — for some reason — the Hill stopped publishing Solomon’s work as “reporting.” That means his own organization doesn’t have enough faith in the accuracy of his work to stand behind it. That Solomon has a long history of not reporting context for the purposes of shaping a political attack also means that his reportage cannot be trusted on its own.

    That means he’s doing commentary — i.e. propaganda. It’s kinda like how Sean Hannity can on the reg make claims that the Fox News Department has to say are wrong. And yet he can continue to say those things — one might say “lie” to his viewers — despite the corrections. The reason for that is his *opinion* show doesn’t have to be accurate reporting.

    That’s a really critical difference — between news and opinion. The fact that you want to treat an “opinion” piece as facts tells us far more about you (and your media literacy) than it does about me.

    “Shokin said he believes he was fired because of his Burisma investigation, which he said had been active at the time.”

    Of course he doesn’t mention the widespread protests and calls for his removal for corruption from across the globe. It’s kinda like how Roy Cohen protested to his death of AIDs that he wasn’t gay — despite having slept with primarily men for his adult life.

    Beyond all that, like Steven and others, I have no issue with the idea of an investigation — the issue here isn’t that. It’s the fact the behavior of PoTUS — which I also note Nick that none of you defection posts address in any way.

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  43. @mattbernius:

    which I also note Nick that none of you defection posts address in any way.

    Indeed, it is all “what about Obama/Biden?”

    Am I understand that if Biden is guilty of X, then if Trump does it, it is okay? Keeping track of this so-called logic is difficult at times.

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  44. mattbernius says:

    I also suggest our more skeptical posters read some of the reporting from the period where Shokin was ousted to get a more accurate sense of what was happening at the time — especially if you think this was all about Biden:

    https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-protest-prosecutor-shokin-dismissal/27639981.html

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/30/world/europe/political-stability-in-the-balance-as-ukraine-ousts-top-prosecutor.html

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/eu-hails-sacking-of-ukraine-s-prosecutor-viktor-shokin-1.2591190

    (To be clear there was a conflict of interests with the Bidens. But to pretend Shorkin’s ouster was purely about Biden is ahistorical bullshit).

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  45. michael reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Yes, that is now the Official GOP/Evangelical Moral Posture: if anyone, ever, at any time, did anything, then it’s OK.

    You know, the way once Jeffrey Dahmer killed some guys and pan-fried their dicks it was OK for everyone. I mean, come on, be fair. Like you don’t ever cannibalize a hobo.

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  46. Teve says:

    Richard W. Painter
    @RWPUSA
    ·
    2h
    The United States will go down in human history as a country that impeached a president for lying about a fully consensual affair with an intern but would not impeach a president who, in two separate elections, colluded with a foreign power against a political opponent.
    Pathetic.

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  47. Steve V says:

    @mattbernius: Solomon is Sean Hannity’s favorite journalist, along with Sara Carter.

    ReplyReply
  48. charon says:
  49. An Interested Party says:

    These attacks on Biden and his son follow the playbook that Trump and his toadies have been using from the very beginning…whenever he is accused of anything, the charge always gets turned around and he/they try to pin it on the accuser or some relation of the accuser…it’s old and tiresome, and only the uninformed believe the lies and only the disingenuous spread the lies…sadly, there are a lot of uninformed and disingenuous people in this country…

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  50. mattbernius says:

    BTW, @Guarneri & @Nickel Front perhaps you could explain to me why Solomon’s reporting, which you hold so highly, doesn’t reference any of the previous interviews other News Organization have had with Lutsenko. Like the one in Bloomberg from when May when Lutsenko detailed the following?

    Yuriy Lutsenko, the current prosecutor general, said that neither Hunter Biden nor Burisma were now the focus of an investigation. He added, however, that he was planning to offer details to U.S. Attorney General William Barr about Burisma board payments so American authorities could check whether Hunter Biden paid U.S. taxes on the income.

    “I do not want Ukraine to again be the subject of U.S. presidential elections,” Lutsenko said in an interview Tuesday in his office in Kiev. “Hunter Biden did not violate any Ukrainian laws — at least as of now, we do not see any wrongdoing. A company can pay however much it wants to its board.” He said if there is a tax problem, it’s not in Ukraine.”

    Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-16/ukraine-prosecutor-says-no-evidence-of-wrongdoing-by-bidens

    Oh, and one key difference — Bloomberg is standing behind that reporting. Why isn’t The Hill standing behind Solomon’s reporting (after all he’s just an employee)?

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  51. Jen says:

    @JKB:

    Oh and subtext, that the intelligence community is monitoring the President and these days is willing to take action to subvert the President.

    I see you are still flogging this poor deceased equine.

    Calls with foreign leaders are routinely monitored, and the president is well aware of this. This, in fact, was part of his defense the other day, when he tweeted something along the lines of “would I really be dumb enough to say something inappropriate on such a heavily populated call.”

    The problem here is that he has *repeatedly* shown that he doesn’t really understand the contours of foreign diplomacy, nor a firm understanding of the law. I can totally picture him thinking it would be JUST FINE to “suggest” (repeatedly) that the new Ukrainian president investigate this matter, and oh, btw, we haven’t transferred all of that aid over to you yet, remember…and think that’s totally fine.

    On the other hand, the intel official, probably came close to having a heart attack. Why? Well, that’s a bribe/threat, and it’s against the law. And that makes *our* president a blackmail target. This is exactly the sort of thing that gives our intel community nightmares.

    So the intel official did exactly what he/she was supposed to do: ran it up the chain that has been established. We have an IG and oversight committees in Congress as a check.

    If the system had worked correctly, it’s entirely possible that none of us would have ever heard about it. You get that, right? This would have been a matter behind closed doors, dealt with the way that intel matters SHOULD be handled. Instead, we ended up with Barr’s DOJ throwing a wrench in the works, and a weird, incomplete notification to the Congressional committees that raised questions. THAT is what has kicked all of this into the public eye.

    Trump is utterly and completely incompetent, and things like this show us in full relief how bad it is.

    @HarvardLaw92: Great to hear from you, I, for one, have missed your commentary!

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  52. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Raoul:

    I understand that. I’m saying that simply asking a foreign country to investigate a political opponent, quid pro quo or not, is patently illegal. Even if there was no mention of a quid pro quo, simply making the request would be illegal.

    ReplyReply
  53. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jen:

    Thanks 🙂

    ReplyReply
  54. mattbernius says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Welcome back, it’s been far too long!

    ReplyReply
  55. @Jen: @mattbernius: Agreed.

    Nice to see you back, @HarvardLaw92.

    ReplyReply
  56. Kit says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Happy to see you back. Hope to see a lot more of you.

    ReplyReply
  57. de stijl says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You’ve been missed.

    To all who think otherwise, the entire affair should be investigsted:

    What Joe Biden did.

    What Hunter Biden did.

    What Donald Trump did.

    If any of the above (or others) did something illegal, then they should be prosecuted. If anyone did something that is legal, but embarrassing, that should be brought to light.

    We are a nation of laws.

    So let’s investigate this matter fully.

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  58. Matt says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Wow dude I’m so glad to see you post again.

    ReplyReply
  59. Jax says:

    @de stijl: And therein lies the difference between a Trump supporter and everyone else. Those of us who put stock in the rule of law, we want it all investigated, even if it means our preferred candidate gets knocked out of the race. Even if it doesn’t knock him out of the race, it would possibly change whether we would vote for him, because for us, morals still matter.

    A Trump supporter doesn’t think Trump should ever be investigated for anything, and even if it turns out it was a criminal act, they’d still vote for him. “Dead girl, live boy”, shooting someone on 5th Avenue, it’s really Team Politics at it’s worst. There is nothing he could ever say or do that would ever change their minds, they’re fully committed to their team, and fuck the rest of the country.

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  60. de stijl says:

    @Jax:

    Trying to puzzle out how my comment got a downvote when it’s more American than apple pie and hot dogs on the fourth of July.

    Perhaps someone thinks we should not investigate this thoroughly?

    Btw, I know you’re a country music fan. Have you been watching the Ken Burns documentary on public television? If so, what’s your take on his take?

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  61. drj says:

    @de stijl:

    Trying to puzzle out how my comment got a downvote

    It wasn’t me, but if I had to guess it’s because there is no honest accusation against either Biden.

    Shokin was a pro-Moscow crook, was rightfully removed, didn’t actually investigate Burisma and the timeline doesn’t even add up in the first place.

    So basically you want to investigate the Bidens based on an old Russian disinformation campaign that has already been exposed for what it is and that got picked up by the usual suspects at the White House and Fox News.

    In effect, you’re blaming the victim.

    As Kevin Kruse puts it:

    “The break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at the Watergate Hotel raises some troubling questions about just what it is that the Democrats are hiding there.”

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  62. Nickel Front says:

    Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko on Saturday denied suggestions U.S. President Donald Trump had put pressure on Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy during a phone call in July.

    Maybe next time guys.

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  63. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Damn. I missed all the fun today. Sigh.

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  64. Jax says:

    @de stijl: I haven’t watched it, I’ve been binge-watching Yellowstone. I’ll have to put it on my “cold winter night” list of things to watch. 😉

    I’m actually not a fan of “Top 40”, modern country at all. Can’t stand the whining, or the cookie-cutter voices. I prefer what I like to call “Storyteller” country (more like the older stuff, less beer drinking and line dancing), and I’m a sucker for a good banjo and stand-up bass, or any other kind of interesting stringed instruments. And the story! I still think the Decemberists are my all time favorite “musical storytellers”, but Dead South isn’t half bad, either.

    How’s it going with your ankle? Did you find a good cane or walking stick? I’ve had my eye out whenever I go anywhere for something that would fit your personality. I’m thinking dragons and dragon glass. If I find one I’ll have to talk the bosses around here into sending me your email so I can send it to you. 😉

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  65. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: As far as I can tell, it’s already been investigated fully. This is just more of the same bullshit Repubs pulled on Benghazi. Investigate investigate invesatigate, not to find any illegalities, there aren’t any, but to keep it in the news and to keep idiots like nickelback frothing at the mouth.

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  66. charon says:

    @de stijl:

    Trying to puzzle out how my comment got a downvote

    It was not me either, but it totally deserved many downvotes, really stupid comment.

    It is already well established there is nothing to the accusations against Joe Biden and/or Hunter Biden. It’s just bullsh!t from Russia that was invented long ago, now resurrected for the 2020 campaign season.

    here: . https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/09/20/what-may-finally-ensnare-trump/ .

    or here: . https://twitter.com/PaulaChertok/status/1127260366952517632 .

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  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: More seriously, the standard is that if my political enemy does something wrong, no one else can be criticized or held accountable for doing the same thing. My mom, may she rest in peace, held the view that because of what Ted Kennedy “got away with” on Chappaquiddick Island, no one should be tried for murder in the US. And it wasn’t a particularly uncommon viewpoint. Another example on the same theme was that Nixon should be forgiven for the Watergate break-in because Democrats in Cook County, IL were reputed to have manipulated the 1960 Presidential election voter rolls in favor of Kennedy. BTW, this is the original “voter fraud” claim that started the argument that continues to this day.

    Now I realize that your comment was supposed to be snarky and clever, but the problem is really no laughing matter.

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  68. de stijl says:

    @drj: ,@charon:

    Do you guys not get “overstatement for effect”?

    Actually, it would be very smart to investigate everything Joe and Hunter have done as hard as we should what Trump did. Failing to do so would be stupid.

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  69. mattbernius says:

    @Nickel Front: huh…I notice that you ignore all responses (that undercut your argument) and keep agenda posting right wing talking points.

    With that “witty” potential pun in your two word name, you are the spiritual secessor to a departed past contributor to comment threads here at OTB.

    BTW, since that’s apparently the case, then I am sure you wouldn’t mind having the complaint be shared with the public.

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  70. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: You went of the thumbs up/down rail when you suggested that either Biden or Trump should be investigated. Some people simply cannot have their heroes threatened–especially when “the existence of the nation” is hanging by a thread (as it is now).

    As to which one, that would depend on which suggestion got you the thumbs up. It’s probably better to follow your previously mentioned social media rule for the next 12 or 13 months. 🙁

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  71. mattbernius says:

    @Nickel Front:
    Oh… Wait, let’s check the quote:

    “I know what the conversation was about and I think there was no pressure,” Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko told the Hromadske media outlet. “There was talk, conversations are different, leaders have the right to discuss any problems that exist. This conversation was long, friendly, and it touched on many questions, sometimes requiring serious answers.”

    Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ukraine-trump-zelensky-biden.amp

    Huh. So he wasn’t on the call or in the room.

    Interesting you didn’t mention that bit of context…

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  72. de stijl says:

    @Jax:

    I like super old school like Hank, mid century folks like Roy Orbison and Patsy Cline, early Elvis which was more C+W than rock, rockabilly, Buddy Holly, and late 90’s early 00’s Americana like The Jayhawks or Golden Smog. Or Wilco.

    I LUV LUV LUV The Jayhawks. (Disclosure – I know those guys)

    Start with “Blue” and if you like, branch out.

    Golden Smog is basically Wilco + The Jayhawks.

    These guys have dozens of great songs and might very well be within your wheelhouse. Check it out. It can’t hurt to try.

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  73. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Thanks for the feedback.

    This is a nothing little piss-ant beef.

    I’ll be fine.

    ReplyReply
  74. de stijl says:

    @Jax:

    The Decemberists are bad ducking ass.

    ReplyReply
  75. charon says:

    @de stijl:

    Actually, it would be very smart to investigate everything Joe and Hunter have done as hard as we should what Trump did. Failing to do so would be stupid.

    Investigating this Ukraine fake BS merely legitimizes it, gives low-information and inattentive people the false belief there is actually something to this nothingburger, thereby damaging Biden for no good reason. That would be super stupid.

    As far as investigating everything Joe and Hunter have done, again super stupid, no benefit to conducting oppo research on behalf of the GOP, let the GOP hire its own oppo research people.

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  76. de stijl says:

    @Jax:

    My ankle is dead. Life gets interesting when I have to put on socks and shoes. If I do it incorrectly, I can sorta “feel” that my toes are tucked under so I have re-do it.

    Also underwear and pants. Putting on pants when your foot is dead is rather difficult. It just sits there, doing nothing.

    I can walk, but it looks and feels weird. I just use my hip flexors and my thigh to fling my foot forward and do a quick weight transfer to the left leg / foot.

    It’s like walking on a peg leg. You can do it, but you have to concentrate and you’re unstable and you trip and fall 1000× more often than normal.

    I’m going walking stick for now. I don’t need the handle of a cane for the extra leverage for the weight transfer, but the balance point helps substantially.

    Plus, if I get into a fisticuffs situation, I can bash bad folks with it.

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  77. de stijl says:

    @charon:

    I’m not sure you understand how “optics” and partisan politics actually works in this era.

    ReplyReply
  78. de stijl says:

    @charon:

    I remember now.

    You’re the person who believes that Trump is objectively brain damaged, and that can be for some reason be exploited for partisan gain. Hi!

    You’re pettiness is duly noted.

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  79. de stijl says:

    @charon:

    If we want to investigate Trump in this matter, then we *have to* investigate the Bidens. I fail to see why you do not get that.

    Without a full and complete 360 look, it will be easily dismissed by the deniers.

    Absent a full investigation of all the players, the outcome will be tainted / stained.

    Do you deny that?

    I’m truly trying to figure out your point.

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  80. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: Out of curiosity… why don’t they have you wearing a brace, so at least it’s like walking on a peg leg, and not walking on a peg leg with a floppy foot on the end?

    Is it a circulation issue?

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  81. Gustopher says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that having a son on the board of a foreign energy company is a huge conflict of interest?

    Joe Biden cannot control his kid, but as VP he should have been kept away from Ukraine. Avoid the appearance of corruption. The Obama administration was better at this than most recent administrations, but this could have been better.

    (The timeline doesn’t hold up for actual corruption here… pressuring the Ukrainian government to fire the prosecutor who declined to charge his kid is the worst quid pro quo ever… unless he hates his kid)

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  82. de stijl says:

    It’s a bit floppy, but not that floppy. It doesn’t wiggle about (it literally cannot). I can make it go in the direction I want, eyeball it and know it’s cool for weight transfer.

    The heel bone is basically the tip of the peg leg and the rest of the foot just goes along for the ride. If the foot is pointing in the correct direction and “feels” stable, you’re go for weight transfer.

    Think of it this way. You have a right foot peg leg with a chicken thigh affixed at the front.

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  83. An Interested Party says:

    Without a full and complete 360 look, it will be easily dismissed by the deniers.

    You’re being a bit naïve there…even if a new investigation turned up nothing on Biden and his son, the deniers would still be frothing at the mouth…

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  84. de stijl says:

    @Gustopher:

    I do wear a brace.

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  85. de stijl says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Not investigating the Bidens would be perceived and presented as much, much worse.

    Why is this point contentious?

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  86. Teve says:

    If we just have one more good solid investigation of Benghazi then the Republicans’ concerns will be satisfied and they will cease talking about it. 😛 😛 😛

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  87. de stijl says:

    @An Interested Party:

    I’m the opposite of naive.

    Not investigating the Biden’s would be exceedingly foolish. Do you not see how that would be exploited?

    Investigating Trump without investigating the other people plays exactly into their world view of deep state suppression and Obama hold-overs.

    I am completely flummoxed that this is not inherently obvious.

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  88. An Interested Party says:

    Investigating Trump without investigating the other people plays exactly into their world view of deep state suppression and Obama hold-overs.

    The sun coming up tomorrow plays into their world view…breathing oxygen plays into their world view…nothing will change their minds about deep state suppression and Obama hold-overs…if such people don’t already realize how corrupt and venal Trump is, they never will…I must admit that I too am a bit flummoxed that this isn’t completely obvious…

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  89. de stijl says:

    @An Interested Party:

    It is obvious.

    Go with your gut.

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  90. de stijl says:

    This thread got very weird in a way I did not predict.

    Chock full of foolishness.

    ReplyReply
  91. charon says:

    @de stijl:

    Who do you propose to conduct your investigation? Why would that investigation be credible? Credible to whom?

    ReplyReply
  92. charon says:

    @charon:

    Time frame? When does this happen?

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  93. Jen says:

    @charon:

    As far as investigating everything Joe and Hunter have done, again super stupid, no benefit to conducting oppo research on behalf of the GOP, let the GOP hire its own oppo research people.

    It is absolutely, totally, 100% a basic principle of campaigning that you do opposition research on yourself. You hire the best opposition research firm you can afford, and let them have free rein.

    When they come back with your results, a very small and select group of campaign strategists works quickly, as close to around the clock as possible, to develop your responses to whatever they find. Not doing so is a complete dereliction of campaign duty.

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  94. charon says:

    @Jen:

    It is absolutely, totally, 100% a basic principle of campaigning that you do opposition research on yourself. You hire the best opposition research firm you can afford, and let them have free rein.

    Of course. I know that, that is not what I was talking about.

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  95. charon says:

    @de stijl:

    I will respond in the open thread, as that’s pretty O.T.

    ReplyReply
  96. de stijl says:

    @charon:

    What are you talking about?

    Please be clear. If Joe Biden did something wrong or unethical I want to know that now not October 2020. Or his son.

    I surely want what Trump did investigated, but looking only at Trump will look like hyperpsrtisan hackery. I object to that.

    I have no idea that neither Biden or his son did anything wrong, embarrassing, or unethical, but I welcome the opportunity to know one way or the other.

    I do not want to go into the next election when the candidate is ethically challenged. It sucked in 2016. Even if it’s bullcrap. Bullcrap works.

    I’m not being unempathetic. You are very committed. I admire that, but not investigating the claims against the Bidens will backfire.

    What I want is for Trump to be gone off the national and international scene.

    And I want my vote to go to the best candidate to replace him.

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  97. wr says:

    @de stijl: “You are very committed. I admire that, but not investigating the claims against the Bidens will backfire.”

    The thing is, these charges HAVE been investigated. The results are out there. The charges are bullshit. It’s not hard to find the results online.

    The only reason Trump wants an investigation anew is so he can say Biden is under investigation for corruption. And, I assume, he’s been pressing Ukraine to come up with some evidence, no matter what it takes to manufacture it.

    Demanding another Biden investigation is like demanding another Benghazi hearing — the only purpose is to keep doubt alive in voters’ minds.

    Don’t fall for it.

    And I speak as someone with no interest in seeing Biden as the nominee…

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  98. charon says:

    @de stijl:

    You are very committed.

    What is it you believe me to be committed to?

    I am very opposed to Joe Biden for many reasons, not the least of which being his obvious poor stamina and obvious significant cognitive decline. Perhaps it is merely unusually rapid normal aging or maybe something else, but the dude has absolutely no business being President in his condition and likely farthur decline.

    I just think attacking him with BS Russian propaganda is a bridge too far, I cannot go along with that.

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  99. de stijl says:

    @charon:

    Let’s stop. We apparently do not mesh and cannot communicate.

    ReplyReply

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