JohnRoberts

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #180 on: October 09, 2019, 02:37:03 PM »
The hardest part I have with this is why you believe these are 'good/correct/real/valid' investigations, however any other anti-Trump investigations are:
If there is real meat to this story, then what is it?  What is the evidence of wrongdoing, and who is doing the investigating?
Lots of partisan political meat, kind of like veggie burgers.  :o

A few tidbits from a federalist webpage  https://thefederalist.com/2018/02/03/5-things-fbi-never-told-fisa-court-trump-dossier/  Note: federalist reportedly has a right leaning bias.
Quote
1- Steele dossier  "The Clinton campaign and the DNC were the sole source of funds to the opposition research firm for the entire duration of Steele’s work on the dossier."

2-Steele's bias "The FBI also had reason to believe Steele might be politically biased. They learned shortly after the election he told a senior DOJ official in September 2016 that he was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” The FBI noted this indication of Steele’s bias at the time and in following official files, but never disclosed it to the FISA court.

3-dossier veracity  "FBI Director James Comey later referred to the dossier as “salacious and unverified” in testimony before Congress."

4-circular reference- "The FBI “cited extensively” from a Yahoo news report in its initial application to the FISA court that turned out to be based in part on information Steele leaked to the reporter, Michael Isikoff. So the FBI effectively used the dossier to corroborate the dossier, and incorrectly told the court Steele was not the source for the Yahoo news article."

5- Partisan source- "The official, then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, later provided the FBI with his wife’s opposition research, and it was apparently included in the information provided to the FISA court as a justification for authorizing surveillance. The FBI never disclosed the couple’s connection to the Clinton campaign-funded Fusion GPS, so the court didn’t know some of the information came from the wife of a DOJ official ultimately working for the Clinton campaign.

This stinks of political dirty tricks with support from inside the administration.
Quote
"Bottom line: The FBI and DOJ had four opportunities to disclose some or all of this information to the FISA court. Steele was fired for proving untrustworthy just nine days after the FISA court approved the first warrant in October, and the claims in his dossier quickly proved unverifiable. But according to the memo, the FBI chose not to disclose these developments to the court — nor the specific political context of his research — in three subsequent renewals of the warrant for 90 days each"

The FISA court judges will not appreciate being used for political dirty tricks but apparently that didn't bother some top FBI people pushing this narrative.

IG (Horowitz) apparently finished the IG report and turned it over to DOJ and FBI but since it has some 20% classified content it needs to be redacted before the public can see it.

====
A second independant investigation from Justice.

The Connecticut US attorney  (Durham) assigned by Barr to lead the Justice department investigations into questionable origins of the Russia-Trump collusion probe.  This started in May.

The Justice department investigation has teeth (unlike the IG report) and can lead to prosecutions and hard time, but it is unclear if that will happen. The political weaponization of both federal investigation and law enforcement communities is likely the largest political scandal we have seen so far, and would harm the public trust in government making it even worse than it is now.

I will not attempt to predict the future but there seems to be some real (political) meat at the bottom of this deep hole, stinking to high hell.  The Justice dept investigation  has not leaked as much as we have become accustomed to.   ::) For better or worse.

I am optimistic that a redacted IG report will get published eventually but could end up another ink blot test we all see differently if key evidence is concealed. A number of the obvious suspects have already walked the plank, but landed in cushy pillows (book deals and warm hugs from biased media), not Davey Jones locker..

If judges are willing to sentence parents to hard time for cheating to get their dumb kids into smart schools, maybe some of these government pukes need to wear stripes for breaking the public trust. This requires a delicate balance to not discredit our government any more than it already has been with evidence of overt political corruption inside the administration, eroding confidence in government even worse than it is now.

These investigations are both moving forward so be patient.

JR

Don't only half-ass tune your drums. Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.


bluebird

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #181 on: October 09, 2019, 03:48:10 PM »
I for one like a thread with "Lots of partisan political meat". There are almost 4K views on this so I'm not the only one. We should produce a left right and center podcast and make some money. Some people might dive over the desk and strangle others but what the hey. Better yet, make a video and post it on You Tube.

But seriously, lots of good information here. Seems its anger and rivalry that gives people the energy to post. Good for more information but bad because people have feelings... Just hope no body crosses the line and it disappears. Happened before...

boji

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #182 on: October 09, 2019, 07:11:59 PM »
Quote
That begs the question of what to do
True. Given his track record, and general contempt for data, people and principals that do not serve his plans, making a example of him will satisfy those who wish for a restoration of moral appearances, while offering no real solutions (He was elected by lots of citizens, and they are still with us, and will vote again). 
But to echo what has been said before, putting energy into displacing him would be better used to find a suitable, compassionate narrative to sway voters.  Also consider these trump replacements may be just as ruthless with their views on their opposition, but put more energy into concealing their schemes. To some degree, Trump's unpredictability is predictable, and is an evil we know.

Also if we continue to believe the candor of a single person in the oval office is how we get our nation back on a path towards the good, we're in bigger trouble than any future presidential plans can solve.

JohnRoberts

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #183 on: October 09, 2019, 08:21:47 PM »
I for one like a thread with "Lots of partisan political meat". There are almost 4K views on this so I'm not the only one. We should produce a left right and center podcast and make some money. Some people might dive over the desk and strangle others but what the hey. Better yet, make a video and post it on You Tube.

But seriously, lots of good information here. Seems its anger and rivalry that gives people the energy to post. Good for more information but bad because people have feelings... Just hope no body crosses the line and it disappears. Happened before...
I hope this isn't motivated just by personal anger, but there is some anger out there. Also some people are easily angered.

Talking calmly with friends (like us) is the best way to diffuse anger.

Several have been close to breaking the rules against ad hominem but most of us are big boys so can ignore the occasional slip.  I am really proud of the civil, thoughtful discussions we have. It wasn't always that way around here (trust me, or do a search going back several election cycles).

JR
Don't only half-ass tune your drums. Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.

hodad

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #184 on: October 09, 2019, 09:08:46 PM »

Let's examine your facts. "Trump called a foreign leader and used the power of the presidency to attempt to coerce said leader into aiding Trump's re-election campaign."



You can say it's not explicit (and remember, this is not a transcript--it's a summary of the call issued by the Trump administration), but when a president just happens to be holding up a couple hundred million (which both R and D congresspeople were concerned and puzzled by--it is not standard operating procedure) and asks you a political favor (and investigating Hunter Biden is absolutely that), then considering that a quid pro quo is not at all farfetched.  In fact one of Trump's own diplomats viewed it as such (you've read those text messages, right?) 
Also, Trump straight up asked China for election assistance (a request they graciously refused) --on camera.  Not a quid pro quo, but still not allowed. 


Out of curiosity:
Are you equally dismissive of right wing conspiracy theories (Benghazi, Hillary's emails, Vince Foster, etc.) that have been investigated beyond thoroughly with absolutely nothing to show for them? 

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #185 on: October 09, 2019, 09:53:29 PM »
I’m sorry, but I don’t think that’s correct. It is a transcript, not a summary. CNN reports it was developed from voice recognition software and note-takers along with experts listening. It’s not a summary - I haven’t seen any report describing it as a summary. There’s no need to obfuscate here.

We can talk about what we surmise his intentions were, we can speculate about his actions. But those are not facts. The previous fellow was talking about how anyone who didn’t agree with his facts was stupid and on drugs. It turns out they’re not facts at all.

I would offer an alternative. Suppose for arguments sake that Hunter Biden did benefit directly from his father’s position - like a waiver for age to be direct commissioned in the navy (before being resigning for cocaine use). Or a board level position paying something like $50,000 per month. That he got these things is facts; why he got them is conjecture.

Maybe this is nothing illegal. Maybe his son is a turd and implied he could trade access even if he couldn’t or didn’t; maybe Joe Biden can’t control the kid and is lily white.

Or maybe not. Maybe he’s as crooked as the day is long, and just good at the game. I suppose there are a lot of politicians of all stripes like this.

But here is my question. If there is corruption, and the person is running for office, what can you do? Does running for office grant you immunity for being investigated for...oh, say, abuse of power? Obstruction of justice? If you potentially broke a law in another country, should they not investigate you? Should someone other than the president ask this? I mean, what’s the right way to do this?

On the other hand, doesn’t that implicate  what the DNC did with President Trump? Wasn’t a lot of the information used in those FISA warrants obtained from foreign sources? Wasn’t it obtained through political channels? Wasn’t it actually paid for?

As for FEC Law - the law prohibits “ a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value”.  Is a criminal investigation really the intent of this statute? Read it here if you like.
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/52/30121

I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer...but I don’t think this is as cut and dry as you make it out to be.

////

I’ll gladly evaluate any political information on the merits. I don’t know what part of Benghazi or Hillary’s emails you think are conspiracy theories vs facts. There are facts and conjecture with both.

I do know as a naval officer with a secret (had no need for top secret) clearance that if a normie like you or me leaked the way some in DC leak these days we’d be in federal prison. If I handled top secret material they way Hillary Clinton did I’d be in jail.  I expect that’s true for people on both sides of the aisle. There are rules for politicians and then there are rules for everyone else. I don’t care much for that.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2019, 09:57:14 PM by dogears »

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #186 on: October 09, 2019, 10:26:03 PM »
Scott Adams had an interesting commentary in the WSJ the other day. I'll put some excerpts / summarize:

Quote
I’d like to offer a rule of thumb for evaluating political news: If a fact is reported the same by both the left leaning and the right-leaning press, it’s probably a fact. If not, wait and see.

He lists the following as mutually-reported and agreed-upon facts by both sides:
A whistleblower exists, at least in the minimal sense of using the whistleblower process.
A phone call was made, and the transcript seems to capture what was said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on the call.
The whistleblower contacted Rep. Adam Schiff’s office before filing the complaint.
Hunter Biden accepted the Burisma board seat, which paid $50,000 a month, while Ukraine was part of his father’s official portfolio.
Hunter Biden does not appear to be qualified for such a role.
Hunter’s taking that position wasn’t illegal but has terrible optics.
Joe Biden is on video bragging about getting a Ukraine prosecutor fired by using the threat of withholding U.S. aid in the amount of $1 billion.

There is conflicting reporting on the following (left says one thing, right says another):
Did the then vice president want the prosecutor fired because his son Hunter was on the board of Burisma, which was at some point under investigation by Ukrainian authorities?

Was Joe Biden's reason for getting the prosecutor fired because the prosecutor was ineffective and suspected of corruption himself? Or because the prosecutor was fighting corruption at Burisma?

Here is his conclusion:
Quote
If you strip out the parts of the Ukraine story we can’t yet know to be true, you still know enough to have a responsible opinion. Vice President Biden was handling the Ukraine portfolio while his son had a financial interest in Ukraine, and that is enough of a conflict to merit an investigation. We all agree that the sitting president is responsible for protecting the integrity of American elections and generally keeping foreign interference in U.S. politics to a minimum.

All sides can also agree that Mr. Trump was serving his own re-election interests by asking Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden. But we also agree our political system allows that - even encourages it - so long as the president is also clearly pursuing the national interest.

What we all agree to be true about Joe and Hunter Biden is that they had the types of interactions with Ukraine that raise eyebrows and invite a closer look. We also all agree that protecting the integrity of American elections should be a top priority for a president.

Matador

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #187 on: October 09, 2019, 10:31:24 PM »
I’m sorry, but I don’t think that’s correct. It is a transcript, not a summary. CNN reports it was developed from voice recognition software and note-takers along with experts listening. It’s not a summary - I haven’t seen any report describing it as a summary. There’s no need to obfuscate here.
It's literally on the first page of the link that you yourself put in this thread:

Quote
CAUTION: A Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation.· (TELCON) is not a verbatim transcript of a discussion. The text in this document records the notes and recollections of Situation Room Duty "Officers and-NSC policy staff assigned to listen and memorialize the conversation in written form as the conversation takes place. A number of factors can affect the accuracy of the record, including poor telecommunications connections and variations in accent and/or interpretation.  The word "inaudible" is used to indicate portions of a conversation that the notetaker was unable to hear.

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #188 on: October 09, 2019, 10:40:27 PM »
I think you should read the part you bolded a bit better.

A transcript is a written version of material that was original in another form.

A verbatim transcript is a written version of a discussion using exactly the same words as were used originally.

A summary is a version of a longer piece of information that intentionally omits detail for the sake of brevity.

This is not a verbatim transcript, but it is certainly a transcript. What that caution means is that the record may not match the exact same words. However, it is definitely not a summary.

hodad

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #189 on: October 09, 2019, 11:08:53 PM »
Scott Adams had an interesting commentary in the WSJ the other day. I'll put some excerpts / summarize:

Here is his conclusion:

Scott Adams writes Dilbert. 

Read bloomberg.com's reporting on the timeline of the Biden/Burisma thing, as well as all the other details surrounding it.  Solid reporting.  Hunter Biden was pretty obviously trading on daddy's name, but the actual chain of events doesn't really indicate  any wrongdoing on Joe Biden's part.

I have read, but cannot confirm, that parts of the conversation with Zelensky were elided, so that's not a transcript even by your definition.  Besides, here's the first definition I found:
a written, printed, or typed copy especially : a usually typed copy of dictated or recorded material

By that definition, not a transcript. 

I'll put this to you.  If I tell you that I'm hanging onto that money I was supposed to give you, and before I say I'll give it to you. I ask you for a favor--is this not at the very least unseemly, unpresidential,  with a huge whiff of quid pro quo?  Is it not worthy of investigation, to see if Trump was indeed abusing his powers for political gain? 



Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #190 on: October 09, 2019, 11:46:38 PM »
Quote
Scott Adams writes Dilbert.
I know who he is. That's like the definition of an ad hominem - discrediting the source. He's also a pretty entertaining political commentator and his "two movies" description of the political discourse in the US right now is a solid take. Why does it matter who it is? I think his list of mutually agreed upon information - facts - and things that are not agreed is good. Do you not?
Quote
Read bloomberg.com's reporting on the timeline of the Biden/Burisma thing, as well as all the other details surrounding it.  Solid reporting.  Hunter Biden was pretty obviously trading on daddy's name, but the actual chain of events doesn't really indicate  any wrongdoing on Joe Biden's part.
I don't think what you wrote is any different than what Adams wrote, except for the conclusion that it doesn't really indicate any wrongdoing.

Quote
I have read, but cannot confirm, that parts of the conversation with Zelensky were elided, so that's not a transcript even by your definition. 
My goodness.  So you have read, but cannot confirm, that it was edited? Great. If that's the standard here we can make up anything we like.

Quote
Besides, here's the first definition I found:
a written, printed, or typed copy especially : a usually typed copy of dictated or recorded material

By that definition, not a transcript.
This is a really, really strange point. I call it a transcript. CNN calls it a transcript. Bloomberg calls it a transcript. You say it's a summary. I say it's not because a summary intentionally omits detail for brevity, and this document specifically exists to memorialize detail, even if not guaranteed to be verbatim. Then you throw a random dictionary definition at me - a written, printed, or typed copy - and spike the football?  That memorandum absolutely is a typed copy of the conversation based on what CNN reports as speech to text software along with notes of people who were in the room, who's job is specifically to memorialize the conversation.

I mean, look. It is pretty strange to indirectly suggest that I buy into conspiracy theories when you're literally peddling one. Do you think the folks who took that conversation intentionally omitted detail? How many people do you think were in there? How many do you think were involved?

This whole line of discussion started because someone was talking about facts. We're not only off the rails from facts, we're literally saying that you don't even need evidence to back up your position. What's the point of having a discussion about this?

////

Quote
If I tell you that I'm hanging onto that money I was supposed to give you, and before I say I'll give it to you. I ask you for a favor--is this not at the very least unseemly, unpresidential,  with a huge whiff of quid pro quo?  Is it not worthy of investigation, to see if Trump was indeed abusing his powers for political gain?
Ok. If you think that's the case, what do you do about this?
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/09/27/flashback_2018_joe_biden_brags_at_cfr_meeting_about_withholding_aid_to_ukraine_to_force_firing_of_prosecutor.html

I mean you just made the case to investigate Mr Biden. It's like bonkersville.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2019, 12:18:33 AM by dogears »

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #191 on: October 10, 2019, 12:58:05 AM »
There seem to be many missed points here.

- Negotiating with the president of another country IS within Trump's duties as chief diplomat.
- Withholding aid allocated by congress goes against Trump's duty to faithfully execute laws.
- The only exception to the president's duty to faithfully execute laws is in matters of national security.
-  We have no reason to believe that Trump withheld aid for reasons of national security.
- It is NOT normal for the president to involve his personal attorney in international diplomatic negotiations

I think it's up to interpretation whether or not the president withheld aid to pressure the Ukrainian president into a quid pro quo. But I think we can all agree that it wasn't within Trump's powers to withhold aid unless he had a pressing reason related to national security.

- Using public office for personal gain is NOT within the president's powers

The constitution explicitly sets out the emolument's clause:

No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

- Trump is the only president in recent history who refused to divest from his personal businesses
- It is clear from the phone call that Zelensky was patronizing Trump's hotels to gain favor

  "Actually, the last time I traveled to the United States I stayed in New York near Central Park and I stayed at the Trump Tower"
-Zelensky

- Any president with a sliver of decency would have immediately addressed Zelensky's hint at bribery -- "my businesses are separate from my public service and I take personal insult at that remark"
- Instead, Trump responded to the bribery hint positively.
- It's clear that Trump's businesses have benefited from his presidency. Whether Trump personally asks public officials to use his hotels is up to debate. But we know that diplomats and politicians have been using his hotels, and we can all agree that has helped Trump financially while he's in office.
- Whether or not Trump colluded with Russia, it is clear from the Mueller report that Trump used his office to hamper the investigation.
- If you don't trust the Mueller report, you can still agree that Trump actively used his twitter account and public stage to sow public distrust of the Mueller investigation.
- Whether or not Trump asked for an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden for political reasons, we can all agree that the investigation into Biden would help Trump politically.
- Whether or not Trump used his office for political gain, we can all agree that there is nothing in the phone call to warrant 'top secret' classification on the transcript.
- Trump's Attorney paid a porn star hush money during the height of his election campaign, which could be interpreted as illegal campaign contributions. Even if it wasn't illegal, it was a sh*tty thing for a president to do.

Ok, so let's say that absolutely nothing Trump has done since he took office is an impeachable offense. Even if Trump is legally ok, is Trump's behavior something you admire in the leader of the free world?? Is it something you'd want your kids to look up to for inspiration? Someone who uses Twitter as his main platform for communication?? Trump has misspelled words in official communication to the public. Trump encouraged his supporters to beat up protesters at his rallies. He has had 3 marriages. What does this say about his ability to maintain relationships, and isn't that an important ability for the chief diplomat? Trump cheated on his current wife. I know he's not the only president who has cheated or been a misogynist, but do we want a misogynist as a president? The list goes on of things Trump has said that lower the office.

- Ok, so maybe you like him cause he's a rebel
- He says it like it is
- He doesn't take sh*t from the political establishment

But how much has that accomplished? Are any of us better off since Trump took office? One of the main duties of a president is to compromise, but Trump seems incapable of that. His main tactic seems to be strong arming congress and re-allocating emergency funds when things don't go his way. His negotiation strategies will not work as a long term solution for any of our issues as a nation.

Maybe I'd be ok having someone like Trump live in my town. But I would NEVER work with someone like him. I would NEVER be ok with a family member dating someone like him. I would NEVER befriend someone like him. I would NEVER hire someone like him.

Impeachment or not, Trump has a sh*tty personality, and if I don't want to work with him, why would any politician want to work with him?

« Last Edit: October 10, 2019, 01:32:31 AM by jeremyaaron »

hodad

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #192 on: October 10, 2019, 09:21:10 AM »

////
Ok. If you think that's the case, what do you do about this?
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/09/27/flashback_2018_joe_biden_brags_at_cfr_meeting_about_withholding_aid_to_ukraine_to_force_firing_of_prosecutor.html

I mean you just made the case to investigate Mr Biden. It's like bonkersville.

That's not for personal political advantage--he's acting as an agent of the US govt. and not for personal benefit.  You seem to have a hard time figuring stuff like this out for yourself--is it that you don't want to understand or that you can't understand?

If you went to Bloomberg instead of Scott Adams for info, you'd know that there was no active investigation into Burisma at the time Biden went after the prosecutor.  You'd also know that most of the US's European allies were also advocating for the prosecutor's removal because he was notoriously corrupt.   Read some actual reportage next time.   

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #193 on: October 10, 2019, 10:00:36 AM »
That's not for personal political advantage--he's acting as an agent of the US govt. and not for personal benefit.
That's a presumption, not a fact. His motivations here are not a given, and him acting for personal benefit and as an agent of the USG aren't mutually exclusive. This is the entire point, in fact, because it applies as strongly to Mr. Biden as it does to President Trump.

You asked - If I tell you that I'm hanging onto that money I was supposed to give you, and before I say I'll give it to you. I ask you for a favor--is this not at the very least unseemly, unpresidential,  with a huge whiff of quid pro quo?  Is it not worthy of investigation, to see if Trump was indeed abusing his powers for political gain?

What Mr. Biden did - and this is an absolute fact - was exactly what you described. Not implied, not conjecture. President Trump did not in that call make any explicit quid pro quo, even if it could be read into the conversation. We don't have to do this, we have Mr. Biden in his own words saying he did it.

Is this not at the very least unseemly, unpresidential, with a huge whiff of quid pro quo?

Is it not worthy of investigation, to see if Mr. Biden was indeed abusing his powers for political (or personal) gain?

That tickling you feel in your brain is called cognitive dissonance.

Quote
If you went to Bloomberg instead of Scott Adams for info, you'd know that there was no active investigation into Burisma at the time Biden went after the prosecutor.  You'd also know that most of the US's European allies were also advocating for the prosecutor's removal because he was notoriously corrupt.   Read some actual reportage next time.
Scott Adam's commentary was published in the Wall Street Journal. If it had been published to Bloomberg would you approve of it?

How about we forget Scott Adams, though, who wasn't reporting but offering a commentary, and move from the Wall Street Journal  to the Washington Post. Does that pass your credibility test?
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/09/24/democrats-investigation-might-do-more-hurt-biden-than-trump/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/as-vice-president-biden-said-ukraine-should-increase-gas-production-then-his-son-got-a-job-with-a-ukrainian-gas-company/2019/07/21/f599f42c-86dd-11e9-98c1-e945ae5db8fb_story.html

Facts:
1. Mr. Biden lied to reporters about whether or not he has ever spoken with his son about his overseas business dealings. (As reported in the Post and the New Yorker)
2. The possible conflict of interest was raised to then-Vice President Biden by a  member of the Obama Administration in 2015 (also reported in the New Yorker).

How about a New York Times article from 2015 which raises this very issue?
https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/09/world/europe/corruption-ukraine-joe-biden-son-hunter-biden-ties.html

You parse your words so carefully. "There was no active investigation". The Washington Post says it is "unclear how seriously Shokin - who was under fire by U.S. and European officials for not taking a more aggressive posture toward corruption overall - was scrutinizing Burisma when he was forced out." Facts, not opinions, please.

From the Post article:
Quote
So, Biden was fully aware of his son’s involvement with Burisma when he pressured Ukraine to fire the prosecutor in 2016. He should have known that his using U.S. aid as leverage to force the prosecutor’s dismissal would create, at a bare minimum, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Federal ethics regulations require “all employees to recuse themselves from participating in an official matter if their impartiality would be questioned.” Biden violated these rules. Imagine if Trump pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who was investigating a company that employed Donald Trump Jr. as a board member. No one would be giving Trump a pass.
Do you disagree?

/////

I'm not even particularly into defending President Trump. I didn't vote for him. I won't vote for him in 2020. I don't feel any obligation to ride to his defense, or to show how he's the best guy ever. I just think this is political theater and a lot of garbage, frankly. There's enough corruption in the world to last ten lifetimes, but most folks seem to only want to point out the corruption  of the other guys.



living sounds

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #194 on: October 10, 2019, 10:03:11 AM »
But to echo what has been said before, putting energy into displacing him would be better used to find a suitable, compassionate narrative to sway voters. 

Ah, pragmatism.  :D

But this one is about long-term consequences, the rule of law, constitutional duty. Just because one party is willing to throw most principles over board doesn't mean the other has to follow suit.

There is also strategic value in the investigative powers a formal Impeachment inquiry bestows upon the House.

Finally, it might not be bad at all politically: A majority now supports impeachment and removal:

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/fox-news-poll-record-support-for-trump-impeachment

Approval for Impeachment ist higher now regarding Trump than it was at the same time for either Nixon or Clinton.

But we'll see how this turns out. There may be grounds to impeach Pence as well, and prosecute half the cabinet. This surely is the swampiest of swampy US governments in ages. I wonder what Trump has got on all these people to make them fall in line like this. I hope there's a dossier and it all gets out. And then I'd like to see what Putin has on Trump.

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #195 on: October 10, 2019, 11:16:22 AM »
@jeremyaaron

This is a bit of a Gish gallop - arguing by volume rather than particular quality... but I'll respond anyway.
Quote
- Withholding aid allocated by congress goes against Trump's duty to faithfully execute laws.
- The only exception to the president's duty to faithfully execute laws is in matters of national security.
-  We have no reason to believe that Trump withheld aid for reasons of national security.
This is a terrible take. In modern times the office of the President has extremely wide latitude and discretion on the execution of laws, even including refusal to enforce them, and total latitude in diplomatic negotiation. There's also extremely wide legal authority for the executive branch to transfer and reprogram funds appropriated by congress.

And it isn't like this is without precedent. President Obama suspended the delivery of materiel to Israel in 2014 and subsequently required that all weapons deliveries to Israel be reviewed by the White House in response to actions in Gaza. In 2013 the Obama administration cut off sales of F16s and M1A1 tank kits, Harpoon missiles, and helicopters in Egypt for purely diplomatic reasons - pressuring Egypt to allow the Muslim Brotherhood back into politics after a military takeover. President G. W. Bush suspended Israel from the Joint Strike Fighter program to get them to cancel their support of a Chinese drone. President G. H. W. Bush threatened to withhold a $10Bn loan guarantee and $3Bn in aid from Israel until they halted settlement expansion. President Reagan did something similar in 1981 with F-16s when they bombed a nuclear reactor in Iraq. Going back further, President Eisenhower threatened to cut of aid when Israel captured the Sinai peninsula in 1956.

All guilty? None?

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- It is NOT normal for the president to involve his personal attorney in international diplomatic negotiations
This is also a bad take. The US has been using extra-official (called special, personal, secret, or extraordinary) agents for diplomatic affairs since the beginning. One simple example is Thomas Barclay who negotiated a treaty with the Emperor of Morocco in 1785. There was a big fuss raised by the senate in 1893 when Blount was given authority to even employ military forces of the US if necessary in Hawaii. A senate committee in 1894 concluded: "A question has been made as to the right of the President of the United States to dispatch Mr. Blount to Hawaii as his personal representative for the purpose of seeking the further information which the President believed was necessary in order to arrive at a just conclusion regarding the state of affairs in Hawaii. Many precedents could be quoted to show that such power has been exercised by the President on various occasions, without dissent on the part of Congress or the people of the United States. . . . These precedents also show that the Senate of the United States, though in session, need not be consulted as to the appointment of such agents."

You can read the whole thing here. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3305465?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents.

Basically the President can send whomever he likes as a special agent, and there are *tons* of examples of this. That the person is trusted enough to be his "personal lawyer" is completely and totally irrelevant. He could send his son, his wife, his best friend, his dad, it literally does not matter.

I love the quote of Chief Justice Marshall from Marbury vs Madison: "By the Constitution of the United States the President is invested with certain important political powers, in the exercise of which he is to use his own discretion, and is accountable only to his country in his political character and to his own conscience...and whatever opinion may be entertained of the manner in which executive discretion may be used, there exists and can exist no power to control that discretion. The subjects are political."

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- Using public office for personal gain is NOT within the president's powers
I think this is an interesting thing to talk about. Of course I agree, on the face of it. But we need to define personal gain. Executing the office well will likely result in a second term. This is certainly a personal gain. Executing the office in a popular way will absolutely result in millions of dollars in book deals, speaking engagements, advisorships, etc. Whatever we may wish the case to be, the fact is that being the President of the United States is a hugely enriching office. I think this is something that everyone agrees with, but will draw wildly disparate conclusions about what, in practice, it actually means.

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- It is clear from the phone call that Zelensky was patronizing Trump's hotels to gain favor
I don't know if it is clear that he was patronizing the hotel to gain favor. That's not a fact, we have no idea why he patronized the hotel, or when. What is a fact is that he said it, and as parsed and rehearsed as these kinds of conversations are, I think you're correct that he did it for flattery purposes.

After this you kind of go off the rails.
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- Any president with a sliver of decency would have immediately addressed Zelensky's hint at bribery -- "my businesses are separate from my public service and I take personal insult at that remark"
- Instead, Trump responded to the bribery hint positively.
  ::) This is really only worthy of an eyeroll. "I stayed at your hotel the last time I was in the US" is not a bribe. Responding the way you suggest is completely unreasonable in a diplomatic setting. Seriously, even if it was perceived as a bribe, your response would be disruptive to any diplomatic objectives to be made in a conversation like this. Bad take.
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- It's clear that Trump's businesses have benefited from his presidency. Whether Trump personally asks public officials to use his hotels is up to debate. But we know that diplomats and politicians have been using his hotels, and we can all agree that has helped Trump financially while he's in office.
We can not agree. President Trump promised to to donate to the U.S. Treasury all profits from foreign government patronage of his hotels. He turned over $151,470 in 2018 and $191,538 in 2019 to the US Treasury. 

I actually did not know this until fairly recently, so there's no shame if you didn't either. I'm curious, does knowing that change your view on the last point above?

Here's s good overview report on the things you're talking about. I think this is a legal question that remains to be answered.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-emoluments-clause/2019/09/17/f0b2ad9c-d975-11e9-a1a5-162b8a9c9ca2_story.html

After this you really go off the rails.
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- Whether or not Trump colluded with Russia, it is clear from the Mueller report that Trump used his office to hamper the investigation.
- If you don't trust the Mueller report, you can still agree that Trump actively used his twitter account and public stage to sow public distrust of the Mueller investigation.
Did Mr Mueller recommend charges? Did President Trump break the law? Does being under investigation for an unnamed crime curtail any citizen's first amendment rights? Why are we even talking about this in this context?

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- Whether or not Trump asked for an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden for political reasons, we can all agree that the investigation into Biden would help Trump politically.
Of course it would. See my point above though - that's not necessarily wrong, or even undesirable. Doing a good job also helps President Trump politically. I'll reiterate my earlier question: If Mr. Biden has broken the law, does being a candidate for President prevent the USG from investigating him for fear of benefiting President Trump?

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- Whether or not Trump used his office for political gain, we can all agree that there is nothing in the phone call to warrant 'top secret' classification on the transcript.
It wasn't classified top secret, it was classified Secret, and the various paragraphs were marked NF for "not releasable to foreign nationals". It's a diplomatic call between heads of state, taken in the situation room. Of all the things you wrote, this is the least surprising or interesting. A secret classification on this transcript is almost certainly routine and the default for information like this.

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- Trump's Attorney paid a porn star hush money during the height of his election campaign, which could be interpreted as illegal campaign contributions. Even if it wasn't illegal, it was a sh*tty thing for a president to do.
I don't really see how this is relevant to the topic at hand. Is President Trump kind of gross? Yes.  Did he break campaign finance laws? I don't know. If he did, he should be subject to the law just like any other citizen.

Maybe his campaign should be fined, the way President Obama's 2008 campaign was?
https://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/obama-2008-campaign-fined-375000-085784

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Ok, so let's say that absolutely nothing Trump has done since he took office is an impeachable offense. Even if Trump is legally ok, is Trump's behavior something you admire in the leader of the free world?? Is it something you'd want your kids to look up to for inspiration? Someone who uses Twitter as his main platform for communication?? Trump has misspelled words in official communication to the public. Trump encouraged his supporters to beat up protesters at his rallies. He has had 3 marriages. What does this say about his ability to maintain relationships, and isn't that an important ability for the chief diplomat? Trump cheated on his current wife. I know he's not the only president who has cheated or been a misogynist, but do we want a misogynist as a president? The list goes on of things Trump has said that lower the office.
The rest of this is an appeal to emotion. No, I don't admire President Trump's behavior. I don't want my kids to look up to him, but to be fair, I don't want them to look up to President Obama or President Bush either. I'm vain enough that I want them to look up to me. I don't mind an iota that President Trump uses twitter as an avenue for the bully pulpit. I actually kind of like his use of the platform, even if I find the way he uses it ridiculous and grating.

The rest of the crap is basically just reasons and lists of why you don't want to vote for him. You think he's not fit for the job. Great - don't vote. And anyone else who agrees with you - don't vote for him. I made my own assessment and also chose not to vote for him. But these are not arguments for impeachment. Listing these is shouting at clouds, as effective as screaming at refs in a football game.

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But how much has that accomplished? Are any of us better off since Trump took office? One of the main duties of a president is to compromise, but Trump seems incapable of that. His main tactic seems to be strong arming congress and re-allocating emergency funds when things don't go his way. His negotiation strategies will not work as a long term solution for any of our issues as a nation.
I'm better off, certainly. His tax cuts helped me a lot. But that "are you better" metric is kind of strange. Do you think the Presidency has so much control over your life? I don't. I was better sometimes, worse others under President Obama.

The president has absolutely no obligation to compromise at all. What's more, I don't think most presidents have been particularly compromising. This is just silly now. Every president strong-arms congress. Every-president reallocates funds. They're literally empowered by law to do this. If congress doesn't like it, they should change the law.
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Maybe I'd be ok having someone like Trump live in my town. But I would NEVER work with someone like him. I would NEVER be ok with a family member dating someone like him. I would NEVER befriend someone like him. I would NEVER hire someone like him.

Impeachment or not, Trump has a sh*tty personality, and if I don't want to work with him, why would any politician want to work with him?
Wow. Maybe you'd be ok with him living in your town? How gracious and accepting of you. My God, what is the alternative? If you land on the other side of that one  - after all, it's just a maybe - what is it exactly you're suggesting? You'd move?

Yeah, I don't think I would hang out with him either. Different kind of crowd. I don't know. He may be a cool guy to hang out with. I've never met him. I wouldn't mind having a beer with any president, though, to be honest.

This is just noise, though. I don't really care if any politician wants to work with any other, if they're effective at their job.

Recording Engineer

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #196 on: October 10, 2019, 01:27:00 PM »
making a example of him will satisfy those who wish for a restoration of moral appearances, while offering no real solutions (He was elected by lots of citizens, and they are still with us, and will vote again). 
But to echo what has been said before, putting energy into displacing him would be better used to find a suitable, compassionate narrative to sway voters.

I see that both bring absolutely no real solution, so I’m not sure one is really better than the other. However, I do know that if there’s enough probable cause to start an investigation, that should be done. And if enough evidence is gathered revealing criminal behavior, it should go to trail and presented there. And a jury must decide to convict or acquit. Absolutely no different than anyone else! Anything less throws everything out the window! Again, anarchy!

I’m the case of Trump:

If the Committees and The House make asses of themselves, by allowing it to get to The Senate without real hard and strong evidence, so be it. If The Senate chooses party-lines for their own seat instead of rule of law for The People, so be it. Either way, we get to take care of that with our vote. But again, way too many simply vote by nothing more than party-lines, exactly the way they want it, and that makes us the asses!

In the case of all deep state conspiracies Trump spouts daily out of thin air after hearing it from some conspiracy theorist:

He is the master! Say enough of them and few will eventually stick with the media. They will get it circling enough for probable cause to start an investigation. However, I’m pretty sure I’ve yet to see anything go to trail. Until then, it’s nothing more than that.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2019, 01:30:43 PM by Recording Engineer »

Gold

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #197 on: October 10, 2019, 01:36:23 PM »
And it isn't like this is without precedent. President Obama suspended the delivery of materiel to Israel in 2014 and subsequently required that all weapons deliveries to Israel be reviewed by the White House in response to actions in Gaza. In 2013 the Obama administration cut off sales of F16s and M1A1 tank kits, Harpoon missiles, and helicopters in Egypt for purely diplomatic reasons - pressuring Egypt to allow the Muslim Brotherhood back into politics after a military takeover. President G. W. Bush suspended Israel from the Joint Strike Fighter program to get them to cancel their support of a Chinese drone. President G. H. W. Bush threatened to withhold a $10Bn loan guarantee and $3Bn in aid from Israel until they halted settlement expansion. President Reagan did something similar in 1981 with F-16s when they bombed a nuclear reactor in Iraq. Going back further, President Eisenhower threatened to cut of aid when Israel captured the Sinai peninsula in 1956.

All guilty? None?

None. All that above was done out in the open for stated policy goals. This administration is still trying to come up with the policy goal to fit the transcript. So far it seems to be "corruption" although no mention of corruption was in the transcript. The policy goal was an investigation into his political rival. Even if the policy goal was to lessen corruption, starting the investigation with your political rival instead of say any other American or Ukrainian citizen seems like quite a coincidence.



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Basically the President can send whomever he likes as a special agent, and there are *tons* of examples of this. That the person is trusted enough to be his "personal lawyer" is completely and totally irrelevant. He could send his son, his wife, his best friend, his dad, it literally does not matter.

The President has broad discretion to execute policy goals as he sees fit as long as they are legal and constitutional . The President can't pursue policy goals that are not in the national interest (sworn to protect against all enemies foreign and domestic) or for personal benefit. When I read that transcript I see the President pursuing a policy goal which is primarily for personal political benefit.

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #198 on: October 10, 2019, 02:47:42 PM »
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None. All that above was done out in the open for stated policy goals. This administration is still trying to come up with the policy goal to fit the transcript. So far it seems to be "corruption" although no mention of corruption was in the transcript. The policy goal was an investigation into his political rival. Even if the policy goal was to lessen corruption, starting the investigation with your political rival instead of say any other American or Ukrainian citizen seems like quite a coincidence.
The other poster whom I was responding to said that the president witholding aid violates their duty to execute law. That's simply false. It's not true. And I'm sorry, but there is no requirement for any President or their administration to openly state policy goals about where and when they act within their discretion as prescribed by law.

I reject the premise of your point. You're speculating that there is a link between the funds, and the transcript of the phone call. You're begging the question with a kind of circular logic. The funds were frozen, no reason given was found in the transcript, therefore we can assume the worst.  But that's not actually supported by evidence, it's just conjecture.

The possibility exists, of course, that the funds and the phone call are completely unrelated.

You know what also wasn't in the transcript? Any mention of frozen foreign aid. You're presuming the frozen aid and the phone call are linked - and they may be. For example, they may be linked by President Trump asking Ukraine to pressure Germany to do better (responded by the Ukranian president saying he applied pressure to Germany and France over sanctions against Russia).  In fact this makes a good deal of sense, since shortly after President Trump and President Zelenskiy appeared at news conference where President Trump said he wanted Germany, France, and other European countries to contribute more to Ukraine's defense.

On the other hand, corruption concerns would be perfectly valid given the history of corruption in Ukraine. So what corruption are we concerned about?

The word corruption may not appear in the transcript, but President Trump mentions "the way they shut your very good prosecutor down" and "there's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution" and "Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it...It sounds horrible to me." Corruption in Ukraine is a policy goal of the United States - going back to previous administrations.

The prosecutor at the time, Shokin, is on the record saying before he was fired he had investigation plans that "included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the Burisma executive board, including Hunter Biden." Mr Biden said he got Shokin fired and replaced with someone "solid" - the current Ukranian prosecutor Lutsenko.

Lutsenko said when reviewing the Burisma files he found that "members of the Board obtained funds as well as another U.S.-based legal entity, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, for consulting services." Rosemont Seneca is  Hunter Biden's firm  (along with the stepson of John Kerry and one of his friends).  $3.4 million.

The lead anti-corruption prosecutor in Lutsenko’s office has confirmed that part of the Burisma investigation was reopened in 2018, after Joe Biden made his remarks. 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.

Ok, now be honest. Re-read that, replace Hunter Biden with Jared Kushner and Joe Biden with Donald Trump. Now pretend President Obama asked the president of Ukraine to investigate.

Nothing to see here? Not a smidgeon of concern?

It is interesting that the entire tenor of what President Trump said hinges not on his own actions but on whether or not Mr Biden used his office to influence an investigation for the benefit of his son. If Mr Biden did that, no foul; if he didn't it's questionable.

///////////

On the one hand, we're told that President Trump is this bumbling oaf, barely intelligent enough to speak properly; on the other, we need to parse his words extremely carefully, read between the lines, to determine his subtle-yet-effective statecraft.


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The President has broad discretion to execute policy goals as he sees fit as long as they are legal and constitutional . The President can't pursue policy goals that are not in the national interest (sworn to protect against all enemies foreign and domestic) or for personal benefit. When I read that transcript I see the President pursuing a policy goal which is primarily for personal political benefit.
Yeah, that's not really relevant to what I was responding to. The previous poster said it was irregular and bad that the president was using his personal lawyer in a diplomatic role. That's simply false. It's not irregular, and it isn't bad.

I'm all for an investigation. Let's have  BIG investigation. Let's investigate Hunter Biden, and Joe Biden, and John Kerry's step-son, and John Kerry. Their buddy Archer wound up being convicted of a conspiracy to commit securities fraud.

Let's investigate them. We already did the Trump thing with Mueller. If investigations are to find corruption, let's investigate. And lets prosecute people who broke the law. Frankly, as an unbiased observer I think there's at least as much to go on with this Burisma mess as there was when Mr. Meuller started up his investigation. Prosecute 'em all, I say. I'm sick of politicians heading to Washington poor and leaving filthy rich, never mind their kids and friends.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2019, 02:55:14 PM by dogears »

Gold

Re: impeachment stupidity
« Reply #199 on: October 10, 2019, 03:11:19 PM »
I'm sorry, but there is no requirement for any President or their administration to openly state policy goals about where and when they act within their discretion as prescribed by law.

Of course not. If the actions don't further administration policy goals what were the actions for? Seems like a perfectly reasonable question for Congressional oversight.

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And I reject the premise of your point. You're speculating that there is a link between the funds, and the transcript of the phone call. You're begging the question with a kind of circular logic. The funds were frozen, no reason given was found in the transcript, therefore we can assume the worst.  But that's not actually supported by evidence, it's just conjecture.

I am assuming there is a link but it doesn't matter if there is or if there isn't. The President asked a foreign leader to investigate a political rival for no stated policy goals. Like above if the policy goals were vague or non existent it doesn't make it wrong but it doesn't make it right either. The motivation is what matters. If it wasn't for a policy goal what was it for?

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Ok, now be honest. Re-read that, replace Hunter Biden with Jared Kushner and Joe Biden with Donald Trump. Now pretend President Obama asked the president of Ukraine to investigate.

Obama or any other President wouldn't have done it in the first place. If a President thought an American citizen was involved in corruption in a foreign nation it would have been referred to the DOJ to investigate. The DOJ would contact the appropriate Ukrainian authorities to help if they needed it. If the American citizen was a political rival any other President would have been extra careful to avoid an appearance of conflict of interest.