• Ladies and Gentlemen of the Real Impeachment Jury…

    December 10, 2019

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    Posted in: 2020, Democracy, Impeachment, Trump


    Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the election for the next president of the United States is tomorrow, November 3, 2020. It has been a long few months since the Democrats impeached the president in the House, and the Republican-controlled Senate did not convict him. Since neither side really weighed what happened, it is up you, the purple and undecided voters, to serve as the real jury and decide what this all really means.

    Twitter doesn’t decide anything, nor do the Russians. Congress doesn’t elect the president. You do. So please give me your full attention as I sum up my case.
    A warning first, however. Ignore anyone who uses terms like “threat to democracy” or invokes the Federalist Papers. You have heard that malarkey for four years now. Remember all the things they tried to scare you with — wars with Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and China which never happened. Recession, economic collapse, trade wars. Trump is mentally unstable and might blow up the earth. He was a Russian agent. And ignore all the creative writing; just because you call something a shakedown, bribe, strong arm, or crime family, doesn’t mean it is and usually quite the opposite. Nope, this is all just politics.

    You should keep in mind how the Democrats acted when they were given the power to run the impeachment process as a clue to how they would yield power from the White House. This was the only modern impeachment done in a first term, and the only one not preceded by a formal investigation — you know, with rules of evidence and legal protections. It was based on a very select set of witnesses who first testified in secret as a kind of practice session, with curated leaks to soften you up. That’s how you ended up with “witnesses” with no first hand knowledge, and how when you got two of those it was counted as “corroboration.” Imagine the fun a defense lawyer in your home towns would have with a case against her client built around evidence from an overheard phone call a hostile witness shouldn’t have been listening too in the first place.

    Then there was public spectacle side of the impeachment, with a new and improved smoking gun promised daily, a sparkly uniform, and media running out of adjectives to describe the foreign service as if the FSOs were Lassie in pinstripes — brave, loyal, dependable, no accidents inside the house. If anyone questioned them, or raised a point of contention about a fat guy in uniform, they must hate America. You were told military people are loyal and trustworthy except for Mike Pompeo who graduated first in his class at West Point. Anything Trump wanted looked into was dismissed as a debunked conspiracy theory. But when the Dems accused him of being a Russian agent with no evidence, that required three years, falsified FBI records, and the full resources of the intelligence community. Think what that says about the Dems’ own respect for the rule of law, justice, and fairness, because if they are elected tomorrow you’ll get more of the same.

    That’s what happened. Why it had to happen is also worth your consideration. After the first two weeks of public impeachment hearings, 62 percent of independents — smart people like you — claimed the issue is “more important to politicians than it is to me.” When asked to rank 11 issues as top priorities, impeachment placed last among independents. And what you think matters: independents make up 38 percent of the electorate, greater than both Republicans and Democrats at 30 and 31 percent respectively.

    So you as independents are the most important group, and you don’t see impeachment as a priority, and the Democrats wasted the majority you helped give them in the midterms to do it anyway because Russiagate failed, the Emoluments Clause failed, the 25th Amendment failed, the Stormy-Avenatti-Michael Cohen show failed and they are afraid to let people vote again on the president, so the rule of “by any means necessary” meant setting aside the issues you care about to do this. Keep that in mind, too, tomorrow when you vote.

    But I promised you a look into the evidence, and like with Dorothy in Oz, it has always been with you. The actual moment when the president was to have committed his impeachable act was memorialized in the memorandum of conversation of the July 25 phone call between him and Zelensky. Now of course many of the same people who would not accept this official USG document as proof of what was said accept another guy’s uncorroborated rendering of a call he supposedly overheard in a restaurant. But you’re smarter than that.

    The July 25 memo is the only primary source in this entire case. It tells us what happened. The so-called witnesses only talked about what they think happened, or their opinions of what happened, or what someone else told them happened. Remember, none of the 12 impeachment hearing witnesses actually heard Trump explicitly tie the security aid to the investigations. That is a big, big deal. So it is essential to this case if any of you can point to any portion of the memo which explicitly ties the security aid to the investigations, which after all is the actual crime the president was accused of. But you can’t because it does not say that. That also is a big, big deal.

    And by the way, was any aid actually withheld? Delayed is not withheld, you know that. And since no one proved when the Ukrainians even learned of any delays, even that does not seem to have mattered. And can any of you tell me what investigations took place? Because there were none.

    In sum, there were no witnesses to “the crime.” The only primary document has no explicit evidence of “the crime.” And no aid was withheld and no investigations took place. A smoking gun requires there to be a dead body on the floor. Without the media keeping this all alive, you would be left wondering exactly what it is we’re still talking about.

    That said, there are some things Trump said in the call (“I would like you to do us a favor”), and some titter-tattle Democrats think adds up to an illegal quid pro quo. So let’s talk about that.

    It is always easy to forget the basics. Here they are, and they were established long before Trump. The president makes and conducts foreign policy, and has extraordinary latitude to say what the U.S. national interest is. Not the NSC, not the State Department or its ambassadors, no matter how smart they are, or think they are. Foreign aid is never a gift. It is a policy tool and the U.S. offers it to nations in return for something. As an exasperated Mulvaney told us, of course it has a quid pro quo attached to it — vote our way in the UN, let us have a military base in your country, help us negotiate with your neighbor. The president can and many times before has withheld or delayed aid. An investigation is not meddling. We ask foreign governments to work with us on criminal, financial, and other investigations all the time. The Democrats asked Ukraine to help investigate Trump/Russiagate in 2018. Providing accurate information is not interfering in our democracy. Wordplay.

    Now to the thing Trump supposedly asked for, that investigation of Joe Biden and any Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election. Much has been made of the idea those things benefit Trump personally and not the United States. But if you think this through, can you claim there is no value to the people of the United States, specifically you the undecided voters, in knowing what Biden and his son were up to in Ukraine, that even looking into that is wrong? And you can’t say “there’s no evidence they did anything” because no one has really looked. If it was Ivanka instead of Hunter at that Ukrainian gas company you know we’d all be losing our minds.

    To legitimately believe Trump attempted bribery in asking Ukraine to investigate the Biden family is to claim the American people have no stake whatsoever in knowing whatever the truth is about the Biden’s.

    Almost everything a politician does is done with an eye on how it affects him as a candidate and/or in the history books. While their decisions are usually thought to be for the benefit of the country as well, it is damned hard to find too many times a politician has done something he did not seek to also benefit from. What else do you think Obama meant when he told the Russian president off-mic he’d have more flexibility after he was re-elected?

    Trump might have benefited from the investigation but voters would benefit either way — Biden is clean, Biden is dirty, factor that into your choice. Now of course if an investigation revealed something bad about Biden, that would also benefit Trump as well as the voters. In such a theoretical, would you want to assign a ratio to it, say 51 percent good for Trump and 49 percent good for the voters to know? What if you conclude it was 99:1? You want to impeach over a percentage?

    So you need to look not only at what was done, but whether it fits the seriousness of impeachment. We all have heard how the Constitution is vague on what exactly is an impeachable act, but we do have precedent. Just in the last two decades we had a president who lied us into war, set up a torture program and spied on Americans, and sat on his hands as the economy crashed. No impeachment. We had a president whose military incursions into Libya, Syria, and Yemen set off the worst refugee flows Europe has seen since WWII, who illegally spied on Americans (complete with a whistleblower), who assassinated Americans by drone, and who hid forever the torture program, who gave trillions to Wall Street in bail outs while Main Street floundered, and no impeachment. But an internal power struggle between the careerists and political appointees over not-really-matters Ukraine, now that is what the Founders had in mind?

    That’s where I’m stuck. Because if we can’t answer those questions, then the conclusion this is all a political hit job is unavoidable. Weigh that carefully, , ladies and gentlemen of the real jury, because a lot depends on your answer when you vote tomorrow.

     

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    Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...

      1

      Dude, you got to take a step back. This is about the world judging US. As you document, we are a lawless superpower. Why should we the people expect justice?

      If Big Dump Trump shits all over the Constitution with his morning constitutional, it is justice. Napalm in the morning smells like victory, but what comes out of Big Dump Trump smells like something died. We are still in denial.

      12/10/19 8:36 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      2

      Big Dump Trump is judged by the company he keeps

      Donald Big Dump Trump will take the three convicted war criminals he spared from consequence on the road as special guests in his re-election campaign, according to two sources who have heard Trump discuss their potential roles for the 2020 effort.

      Despite military and international backlash to Trump’s Nov. 15 clemency—fallout from which cost Navy Secretary Richard Spencer his job on Sunday—Trump believes he has rectified major injustices. Trump would like to have the now-cleared Clint Lorance, Matthew Golsteyn, or Edward Gallagher show up at his 2020 rallies, or even have a moment on stage at his renomination convention in Charlotte next year.

      Four more years. Cant wait for the sequel.

      12/10/19 10:04 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      3

      Bauer: are you even allowed to vote in the next election? Your opinion matter only if you are a registered voter. Can you verify that status?I await your answer via PVB’s blog.
      I have no idea what will happen in the 2020 election. I may abstain. If Hillary runs I will be forced to vote for Trump since Hillary wants to strap on a 1000megaton dildo and vaporize Russia (that’s an old riff of mine). So………..Bauer, I’m calling you out. Who would you vote for in 2020 if you are indeed an eligible voter?

      12/10/19 4:45 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      4

      JP,

      You are going to abstain from voting? You Russians can interfere in our elections but you cannot vote in them, no matter what Big Dump Trump wants.

      12/10/19 5:19 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      5

      Trump doesnt really think how his actions will affect him.

      If BDT thinks the FBI was after his ass, just wait until he loses the election.

      12/10/19 8:50 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      6

      Geez, even the Russian minister just called Big Dump a liar. Pompee had to support Big Dump that Russia was warned -wink wink- not to interfere in 2020 election.

      12/11/19 5:47 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      7

      Timeless Award for Ahole of the Year to Big Dump Trump who can shit out of both ends at the same time

      12/12/19 8:52 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      8

      Patience, Mr. Big Dump, you will be the Man of the Year next year…after you lose the White House and the House and the Senate.

      America should do what Greta did:

      America Shrugged: Poor Moscow Mitch is a politician caught between his rejected Ayn Rand bullshit ideology and the racist pseudo-populism of the Great Exaggerator who emerged from the political and moral void he and his party helped create. Trump, of course, will lose in 2020. But he will leave behind a Republican Titanic, headed for an electoral iceberg which will shatter the party for years to come.

      12/12/19 12:26 PM | Comment Link

    • Michael Murry said...

      9

      Rich Bauer: Your attempts to flatter John Poole by calling him a “Russian” have been duly noted. But you do tend to get carried away with your Slavic envy.

      However, had you actually wished to comment upon Peter Van Buren’s article, then you might want to skip the worshipful butt-kissing compliments and stick to an analysis of the Electoral College, Gerrymandering, voter-suppression through voter-roll purges, mass-incarceration (and loss of voting rights) to black and Hispanic male demographics, never-ending election campaigns, Court-certified legal political bribery, not to mention billions of dollars in media advertising (much of it free in Donald Trump’s case) that, in fact, explain corrupt U.S. elections without having to give credit for them to foreigners who have only had democratic elections since sometime after the voluntary and peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1989.

      Considering the the Russian mastery of not just their own reorganized political system, but that of the United States as well, and in such a short period of time, does indeed tend to produce a profound admiration such as you repeatedly express. It testifies to an obtuse lack of self-awareness, however, that you do so in a somewhat backhanded slap in the face to the United States which claims to have practiced “democracy” since 1789 but now finds itself a powerless pawn easily directed by a few thousand dollars of click-bait Facebook ads posted on the Internet by some lowly interns somewhere in St. Petersburg.

      All sarcasm aside, it makes Americans sound lame and weak to blame “Russians” (or any other nation or people) for America’s own fabulous fuck-ups. Try owning those, as Peter Van Buren attempts to do in his article. Then you might produce something worth reading.

      12/12/19 1:26 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      10

      Oh Mr. Murray,

      So flattered that someone of your intellect would read my comments.

      Since you asked, please go back and read the comments on the past one hundred articles on WMW I have made about this “great “ country. In a nutshell, the joke is on US. The Dems and Repugnicans are two wings of the Wall Street War Party, and the federal gov is the Entertainment Division of the MIC.

      As for John Poole, he gets paid by Mr. Putin to troll this site.

      Dont tell me you troll for free. You should make a living of it…or do you?

      12/12/19 6:11 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      11

      MM,

      As to your admiration of the “Russian mastery of its political, system, are all you comrades on dope?

      Just to show US which side (of the Atlantic) you are on, I m sure you will condemn here the rule of Vlad the impale one on the horse.

      Dont be afraid, it is perfectly okay for you to call Putin a fucking piece of shit. So here are some suggestions to start with:

      —Arizona senator and longtime Kremlin critic John McCain to bluntly explain why the United States should shut Putin ot of the G8:

      “Vladimir Putin is a thug and a murderer and a killer and a KGB agent,” McCain said on CBS’s “Face of the Nation”. Speaking two days later about Rex Tillerson, Trump’s pick for secretary of state, who received the Russian “Order of Friendship” in 2013, McCain said in a radio interview: ”Frankly, I would never accept an award from Vladimir Putin because then you kind of give some credence and credibility to this butcher, this KGB agent, which is what he is.”

      — Putin, who has ruled Russia since 2000, has created a regime under which his opponents are murdered; political prisoners are sent to Siberia for decades behind bars; minority rights are suppressed; opposition is quashed; foreign territory is forcefully annexed; and Syria’s bloodthirsty president, Bashar Assad, enjoys direct military support for his massacres.

      Here’s a non-exhaustive list of examples of Putin’s abusive rule in Russia.

      Murdering enemies

      The list of people suspected murdered on orders from the Russian leader or people close to him is long. It includes several of Putin’s early critics (paywall), among them liberal politician Boris Nemtsov, investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, and exiled former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. A UK government report showed that Litvinenko’s death—he was poisoned using polonium in London—while was “probably” approved by Putin.

      Both Politkovskaya and Litvinenko had tried to investigate a series of bombings in 1999, when Putin was prime minister, that killed some 300 people in four Russian cities. The authorities blamed the bombings on Chechen rebels and used them as a pretext to unleash a war on Chechnya, but there are strong suspicions 1 that they were a “false-flag” attack by Russia’s own own security services.

      Putin has run the country for 17 years as prime minister and president. In 2008, Russia extended presidential terms from four to six years;

      Russia has suppressed political opposition using an arsenal of techniques. These range from laws limiting free assembly and other civil rights 3, to jailing protestors for vague offenses such as “hooliganism,” to using the notoriously corrupt courts to convict opponents of embezzlement or tax fraud, to straightforward police intimidation, as well as murder. Prominent opponents have been forced into silence or exile.

      So yeah, Russia has mastered their reorganized political system..if you like a dictatorship.

      12/12/19 6:35 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      12

      The House Trumps the Trump White Animal House

      What can Trumpie say to defend his behavior?

      Trumpie: Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female guests – we did.
      [winks at Nancy Pelosi) But you can’t hold a whole party responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole political system? And if the whole political system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Schiff, isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

      Old white men struggle to stand and march out of the room to the old white people cemetary.

      12/13/19 10:27 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      13

      The Repugnicans and the Russians have more in common than affinity for white supremacy; they are dying off. In Russia:

      One birth every 18 seconds
      One death every 16 seconds
      Net loss of one person every 8 minutes

      FOX News would be No. 1 in Russia.

      12/13/19 10:58 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      14

      Trumpie 2020- It doesnt feel like impeachment.

      Trumpie 2022- It doesnt feel like imprisonment..

      The man has no feelings.

      12/20/19 2:24 PM | Comment Link

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