My Watching the Impeachment Hearing Blues…

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If this is the “Deep State” that President Trump has been warning us about, I’d say we need more of ‘em!

After viewing much of the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment hearings, I’m left feeling proud, sad, and frightened. 

The proud part is easy. 

Of the 12 witnesses who testified—all Trump administration appointees—10 were career foreign service officials. I think The New York TimesMark Leibovich described them well:

“They are, in a sense,  the permanent beating, bipartisan heart of the government of the United States.They are deeply credentialed,  polyglot, workaholic, and respectful before Congress.

“They are graduates of Harvard and West Point, and veterans of Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. They take meticulous notes, are on key phone calls and give ‘readouts.’”

And so, when they uniformly and without rancor gave their pieces of the story concerning what President Trump has actually publicly acknowledged, they were believable.

They were also so very measured—even when attacked, as they were by some of the Republican committee members—so careful with their words, and so highly professional that they made this American proud of her country and hopeful that they will help lead us out of our current divisive, dangerous lawlessness.

Not one of them was there to attack the President; they saw their role solely as fact witnesses. But the facts they detailed showed overwhelmingly that President Trump had tried multiple times via multiple people to use Ukraine for his own political purposes. The fact that he was stopped does not make him innocent.

And the witnesses explained why these actions were dangerous not only to Ukraine’s national security, but to America’s as well.

They also made the case for why we should all care about Ukraine’s fate. It is a strong American ally and a bulwark against Russian aggression. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, it gained its independence in 1991.

Ukraine is currently engaged in a hot war against the Russians, who occupied Crimea in 2014 and want to subsume the entire country. More than 14,000 Ukrainians have died in that war.

Further Russian expansion will jeopardize peace in Europe and inevitably involve the US. Like it or not, we live in an interdependent world.

Ukraine’s new, democratically elected president, Vlodymyr Zelensky, won overwhelmingly after promising to try to end the war and rid Ukraine of the corruption that has been rampant there for so long. 

Zelensky immediately began making symbolically important changes. Independence Day, on August 24, had in the past been celebrated by what The New Yorker described as “the traditional Soviet-style military parade of soldiers and tanks and missile launchers, which he called ‘pompous and expensive.’” 

This year, in a tribute to the “second revolution” in 2013 in which snipers killed more than 100 protesters, Zelensky organized a “March of Dignity” in which over 1000 children lined the way to the site where the demonstrators had been killed.

“The children, dressed in white, clutched yellow-and-blue Ukrainian flags and bouquets of daisies.”

The marchers were “schoolteachers, doctors, social workers, and athletes.”

But Zelensky knows symbols aren’t enough. He is dependent on the US, and specifically, its President. He needs the weaponry that Congress overwhelmingly approved on a bipartisan basis but was mysteriously held up until Congress began its investigations. 

And he has been seeking a meeting with President Trump in the White House to demonstrate to both the Ukrainian people and Russia’s Putin that he has a reliable ally in the US.

Thus, the importance of the President’s words “I would like you to do us a favor, though…” in the phone call transcript that the President has described as “perfect” and his Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, publicly told the press that yeah, sure, it was a “quid pro quo,” but “get over it.”

In the hearings, piece by piece, the witnesses’ testimonies demonstrated that the President had no interest in Ukraine, its value as an ally, its status as a young democracy looking toward the US as its model, or its importance to US security. 

Rather, he sought to use the promise of aid and a visit to the White House as leverage to get Ukraine to open an investigation into alleged and debunked corruption by Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who’d been on the board of a Ukrainian company, Burisma.

(Let me state here that I believe Hunter Biden’s involvement in a Ukrainian company was not smart and looks terrible, although there’s been no indication of wrongdoing.)

The other favor was to validate the conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered with our 2016 election.

Importantly, American intelligence officials have recently informed Senators and their aides “that Russia has engaged in a yearlong campaign to essentially frame Ukraine as responsible for Moscow’s own hacking of the 2016 election,” reported The New York Times.

Once again, the President is promoting a conspiracy theory that accepts Putin’s word against the findings of US intelligence. 

As Zelensky seeks to fight corruption in his own country, the President and his allies have sought to pull him into corruption in our country.

And the President might have succeeded were it not for the whistle blower whose report began the Congressional proceedings. The irony is extraordinary—as well as heartbreaking.

My sadness arose from the hyperpartisan, often brutal, nature of the opposition.

Here’s a sampling of those who testified and what they said.

Marie Yovanovitch spent 33 years in the Foreign Service and was widely respected by both Americans and Ukrainians. But she made a crucial career-ending error: with her legitimate anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine, she apparently stood in the way of the plans that the President, Rudy Giuliani, and others had for getting what they wanted from Ukraine’s president. 

She was recalled as ambassador, suddenly, amid what she called “unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives” and even though her boss told her she’d done nothing wrong.

As a result of her treatment, she said, “Bad actors” and not only in Ukraine, will “see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system. The only interests that will be served are those of our strategic adversaries, like Russia.” (All emphases mine.)

No one has questioned the right of the President to recall an ambassador, but many wonder why he did so, in these circumstances, and why he and others have vilified her and sought to destroy her reputation.

In her opening statement to the House committee, she said it was crucial for our embassy in Kiev (now also spelled Kyiv) “to understand and act upon the difference between those who sought to serve their people and those who sought to serve only themselves. 

Still a State Department employee, she was the first to defy the orders not to cooperate and accepted the subpoena to testify. Others soon followed.

As a result of her bravery, former US ambassador Swanee Hunt wrote for CNN,

“In a dismaying but no-longer unusual parallel, she faced the kind of bullying at home that she was fighting abroad.”

Yovanovitch acknowledges fearing for her personal safety based on threats she’s received.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, whose father brought him and his brothers to the US from Ukraine when he was 3 years old, has a purple heart and other medals for his combat service in Iraq and carries shrapnel in his body from his injuries there. 

As Director for European Affairs for the US National Security Council (NSC), Vindman felt it was his “duty” to report his concerns about the call between the President and President Zelensky, which he found improper (he used the word “shocked” in response to questions) to John Eisenberg, the NSC’s legal adviser.

“It is improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a US citizen and political opponent.

“It was also clear that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma, it would be interpreted as a partisan play. This would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing bipartisan [US Congressional] support, undermine US national security, and advance Russia’s strategic objectives in the region.”

Vindman has been subjected to vile attacks on his patriotism, character, motivations, and judgment—accused of dual loyalties and even espionage. In his testimony, he addressed his father, who was worried about the risks his son was taking in speaking out publicly. 

“Dad, my sitting here today..is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States. Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.” 

When asked if he is a “Never Trumper,” he said “I’m a ‘never partisan.’” He concluded his appearance by saying:

“This is America…here, right matters.” 

Yet according to Reuters,  the Army is prepared to protect him and his family, possibly by moving them to an Army base, if necessary.

The final witness on Thursday was Fiona Hill. Like Vindman, Hill is a proud immigrant (from England, where she was the daughter of a coal miner). Like him, she stressed how grateful she is to be a US citizen and to have been able to serve this country she loves. 

After graduating from college in Scotland, Hill received a PhD in Russian history from Harvard. She coauthored a book titled Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin, published in 2013, which has been called the most useful book about Putin for policymakers.

She’s worked in the Brookings Institution, as the senior expert on Russia and Asia at an internal think tank for US intelligence agencies, and—since 2017, as the senior director for European and Russian affairs at the NSC—first as a deputy to H.R. McMaster, and then to John Bolton.

In other words, her expertise and nonpartisanship are unassailable.  She even said she understood that President Trump had been offended by some things written about him in the Ukrainian press prior to his election. But she pulled no punches. Here’s her opening statement:

“Some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country—and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did.

“This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves. The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016.”

“President Putin and the Russian security services operate like a super pac. They deploy millions of dollars to weaponize our own political opposition research and false narratives.

“When we are consumed by partisan rancor, we cannot combat these external forces as they seek to divide us against each other, degrade our institutions, and destroy the faith of the American people in our democracy.” 

She reaffirmed the warning about Russian intervention in our elections that Robert Mueller had delivered during his testimony to Congress, in July, adding her own warning about those whom another The New Yorker  article called “the useful idiots inside the United States who, deliberately or not, serve to further Russia’s goals.” 

“Russia’s security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 election. We are running out of time to stop them. In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.”

Her words evoked self-righteous indignation from some Republican committee members who had been doing just that, including Devin Nunes, the ranking member, who stated that falsity in his opening remarks.

Others then rushed to affirm how concerned they’ve been about Russian intervention (though not enough to tell their President that he should stop denying what the entire intelligence community had found indisputable).

The most incriminating part of her testimony came when she responded to the Republican staff counsel’s questioning about her dispute with Gordon Sondland, who’d been appointed ambassador to the European Union after donating $1 million to the Trump inaugural committee.

She said she had become “testy” with Sondland because he wasn’t coordinating with the other agencies involved.

While other witnesses had said there were two channels operating in Ukraine—one traditional, the other “irregular,” led by Rudy Giuliani (who has ongoing financial interests in Ukraine that are barely being discussed) and designed to get Ukraine to do President Trump’s bidding—Sondland had said there was only one channel: he reported to President Trump and worked with the others who were following the President’s orders.

He had added that Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo, and Chief of Staff Mulvaney were all involved. 

After watching Sondland’s testimony, Hill said that Sondland “was absolutely right because he was being involved in a domestic political errand and we were being involved in national-security foreign policy, and those two things had just diverged.”

She added:

“And I did say to him, ‘Ambassador Sondland, Gordon, I think this is also going to blow up.’ And here we are.”

 

And here’s why I’m frightened…

Just one day after Robert Mueller’s unfortunately lackluster Congressional testimony, which was far more condemnatory to Trump than the public understood—in part due to the phony spin that Attorney General Barr had put on the findings—the President had that “Do us a favor, though” phone call.

We now have incontrovertible evidence that President Trump withheld both a sought-after White House meeting and much-needed security aid that Congress had approved in order to get the President of Ukraine to open an investigation into Joe Biden and the alleged Ukrainian—not Russian—involvement in our 2016 election.

In other words, this President feels he’s above the law. Yet Republican legislators continue to follow him, to lie for him, to fail miserably in upholding the oaths they took when they were sworn into office.

And what will public reaction be to all this? Who cares about Ukraine? Who cares about foreign intervention in our elections? Who cares that the President of the United States invariably sides with Russia and Putin against US interests?

A recent poll showed independents becoming less supportive of impeachment and more approving of the President. Why?

Have we reached such a hyperpartisan state that Americans don’t care that our President is not only corrupt, but is willing to enlist foreign countries to ensure his reelection—our national security and the US Constitution be damned?

Bret Stephens, a conservative columnist for The New York Times, wrote that he hadn’t initially been in favor of impeachment.

But the hearings convinced him that President Trump must be impeached and removed from office because “his highest crime isn’t what he tried to do to, or with, Ukraine. It’s that he’s attempting to turn the United States into Ukraine.” 

He cited several “themes” to illustrate his premise. For more specifics on the comparisons, his column is here.

*”The criminalization of political differences.” (“Lock her up!”)

*”The use of political office as a shield against criminal prosecution and as a vehicle for personal and familial enrichment”

*”The netherworldization of political life, in which conspiracy theories abound, off-stage figures yield outsized influence, and channels of formal authority are disconnected from the real centers of power; [and] the person who is both the principal consumer and purveyor of those falsehoods is the president of the United States…even now, this should astound us.”

*”Covert Russian interference, usually facilitated by local actors.”

Stephens concluded:

“It’s to the immense credit of ordinary Ukrainians that, in fighting Russian aggression in the field and fighting for better governance in Kyiv, they have shown themselves worthy of the world’s support. 

“And it’s to the enduring shame of the Republican Party that they have been willing to debase our political standards to the old Ukrainian level just when Ukrainians are trying to rise to our former level.”

“The only way to stop this is to make every effort to remove Trump from office. It shouldn’t have to wait a year.”

Are we up to this effort? Or are we seeing the end of democracy and the rule of law in the United States of America?

Annie

45 thoughts on “My Watching the Impeachment Hearing Blues…

  1. While they are part of history, I chose not to watch the hearings. No need to get more agitated. I picked up all I wanted to know from the NYT and several decent info sites.

    Got to get beyond woe is us, the end of the world is near and the sky is falling. I urge everyone Zi know to get engaged with leveraging the 2020 election by getting involved with their local Indivisible group(organization sends out dandy “to dos” each week), or the League of Women Voters or(andI have just done this with a group which meets weekly each Friday evening in my home town) Our current assignment for the latter is to ask, via handwritten postcards, Democratic voters in Florida to sign up to vote by mail and provide the phone number of the County office which handles. (Yes, there is a staffed office just for this in counties down there!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dennis, I watched the hearings because I felt doing so was my civic duty. I wish more Americans had done so because they were extremely uplifting—they demonstrated what The New York Times cannot: that our government is not the hollowed out shell bereft of people of conscience and competence despite this administration’s efforts to make it so. I see these folks as our salvation—if we can inform enough people of their experiences and testimony—a vital counter to the lies and conspiracy theories that abound. My goal is to better inform, and I hope and believe I am reaching people who do not have access to the Times, etc.

      Of course civic involvement is essential. I have written such encouragement in this blog and elsewhere and have, of course, acted on that premise throughout my life.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. PS to my last. Each of us so inclined must, in addition to getting directly involved with doing something -such as I described- to impact the 2020 election outcome-urge their family members and friends to do likewise and, hopefully, these individuals will pass the word as well. Yes, it takes a village, a big village!

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    1. I would add that anyone so inclined should consider sending even small donations to the candidate(s) of their choice, not just to Presidential, but to House and Senatorial candidates too. I am especially thinking of the House members from quasi-Republican districts who courageously and publicly came out for the impeachment investigation, knowing this move may jeopardize their reelection.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Annie, all of what you’ve written is so true, and very well said. I also watched as much of the hearings as I could. There is no doubt. to me, that Trump has done a number of things that are impeachable, from the evidence of the hearings, and also from the Mueller Report (I hope the Judiciary Committee, when writing articles of impeachment includes that too, as it certainly supports obstruction of justice by the President and his cronies). Even if the likely ultimate outcome is that the House impeaches and the Republican-dominated Senate doesn’t remove him from office, I hope his name, along with the names of the Republicans who didn’t stand up to him, are damaged enough that they lose badly in November, 2020, and their political careers are destroyed. Here’s hoping! Happy Thanksgiving, too!

      George

      Liked by 2 people

  3. There are many Ukrainian immigrants in Alberta.

    One wave came in the 1890s.

    And the other wave came in the 1920s to escape Bolshevik persecution.

    They are a very hard working and industrious people.

    Excellent farmers.

    Hopefully the people of Ukraine will finally weed out the corruption that infects their post Soviet democracy and go on to become one of the great nations of the world.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It looks promising for them under Zelensky—and if their allies (US) continue to do the right thing in supporting them. I was very moved by the “March of Dignity” that replaced the tanks on Independence Day. Ironically, our President thought tanks on Independence Day were just the right image.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “… or are we seeing the end of democracy and the rule of law in the United States of America?”

    First, thank you for this post. It was a great summary of the hearings and some of they key testimony. I wish every concerned citizen could read this. But as to your final sentence, quoted above, I am afraid that I think we are, indeed, witnessing the fall of democracy in our country, and it breaks my heart to see it happening right before my eyes.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, my friend. I try hard to be optimistic, but the fact that more Americans don’t seem irate and engaged at this point is discouraging.
      I wouldn’t ordinarily make this request, but you said you wish every concerned citizen could read this. As you reach many more people than I do, would you consider reblogging?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll try, but for some reason that the Happiness Engineers at WordPress have not been able to explain, my reblog button isn’t working. But if I can figure out a way to do it, I will.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Really great point Annie about financially supporting candidates for office at all levels.

    In thinking
    More as to why I chose to not watch most of the hearings, I guess it reflects my mindset about being bummed out about matters which I have been reflecting on lately – the Merrill Garlands matter, low election turnout , mean spirited nature of political campaigns and the like. Long coattails of oppression of African Americans and Native Americans, Gun violence et al. I am trying to better understand how and why our nation is where it is today. On my nightstand are Howard Zinn’a history of America’s and Michael Walkman’s book on the Second Amendment. I hope that both of these- and others????- can help me gain a better understanding.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Perfect summary. It is disheartening — and also such a colossal waste of resources — but what choice when it comes to defending our democracy? Thanks for your clarity, Annie. And keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great summation. You have every right to be worried. We all should be. Sadly, it appears one political party does not care and has sold their souls to this man. Yes, worried indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Right now, he is not. Greg has some ‘life’ issues to sort out. I’m hoping to have him back at some point. But the last year has been really hard for him and his family. So, for the foreseeable future, it’s just me.

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  8. I watched only some summary, but thanks for the report. I was struck by the calm professionalism of the witnesses contrasted to the grandstanding of all the questioners, but particularly the flailing “lets throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” of a select few.
    One thing that Vindman said was “We are better than personal attacks” but I’m thinking it’s not true anymore which is a depressing thought. How many times have we heard that in the past few years: that’s not us, that doesn’t represent our values, we are better than this. Well, maybe we’re not and most people would rather support an obvious liar and cheat because it’s more important to make liberal heads explode.

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    1. That is, indeed, a depressing thought—but one that’s hard to refute. The fact that Vindman said “we are better than personal attacks” even as he was being attacked (the onslaught had begun after his closed door testimony and before his public appearance) speaks volumes about the character of both this man and those who are maligning him.

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    1. Thank you, Matthew. I’m not sure how well-balanced I was: I’ve made no attempt to hide my biases. The witnesses were precisely as you describe, but their interrogators were flailing about to find damaging info about them and raising false narratives about the President. It’s so hard to see people so readily trashing the truth—and watch the public apparently unconcerned about the facts.

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  9. Well, here I am. You wonder why independents are tuning out and turning against these proceedings. Here is my take. Ever since the morning after the last election, Trump’s opposition has been on a search and destroy mission to take the dirty rotten cur out. Nothing has been spared, all efforts have been made. The media, the Democratic party, the entertainment industry, academia and others have spent every waking moment trying to take him out.

    I get that there are a lot of people who despise what he stands for. I am one of those Republicans who has been uneasy with many of his positions. I get that he is a loose cannon. But the whole impeachment thing strikes me as just one more thing to try after everything else has failed.

    My observations: First, an impeachment is ultimately a political tool rather than a legal one. But – process is everything. I don’t trust the process that is so clearly partisan as this one. It is being run by the intelligence committee (not judiciary) and and by only the Democrats on that committee. Much of the early stuff was in secret. The opposition gets to call no witnesses. We are seeing what is essentially a grand jury process which is all about what the prosecution can prove on its best day, with no opportunity for a defense. They missed a chance to get some buy-in, which they may well have gotten with a bipartisan committee making evenhanded rules.

    Second, I think this is a terribly, terribly narrow base for an impeachment. Trump should have his head examined for what he did. It was stupid. But like so much of what he has done, it was all bluster and no follow-through. There was no investigation into Biden and the aid package got sent. I don’t think Schiff is making his case. He has over-promised and under-delivered. Nixon got caught red-handed erasing tapes. Clinton was caught red-handed in a big fat lie. So far all we have here is hearsay that would not be admissible in evidence in a real court proceeding. Has there been a crime committed? If so, I have not heard the evidence of it yet.

    This is what I was afraid would happen. Instead of the opposition spending the last three years making a substantive case for their policies, the entire time has been spent in a takedown exercise. You cite the witness who was fearful that the Russians were ready to try to interfere again – I agree that they probably are. Yet here we are with all effort being spent trying to take out the Donald. Just nominate a decent candidate and beat him, already!

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    1. Aw, JP, JP, JP—

      I am saddened to see that my smart, principled Conservative friend is straying so little from the thoroughly discredited Republican talking points. Here we go:

      Both Clinton and Obama were hounded by the Republicans from Day One. Obama was met by McConnell’s saying he is determined to make Obama a one-term president and not even accepting his invitations to the White House (not to mention stealing his Supreme Court appointee). Yet there was not a whiff of scandal during Obama’s 8 years in office. The difference is that Trump has been performing illegal acts since before he was elected. Michael Cohen is in jail because he carried through with Trump’s payoff to women. Manafort is in jail, as are Gates, Flynn, now Roger Stone’s on the way, etc etc. He has clearly violated the emoluments clause with his properties. So to act as though this paragon of virtue, who was leading the American people for their greater good, is being persecuted for no reason is nonsense on its face. There is no precedent in our recent history for this man’s lawlessness. He was known as a Mafia-like thug in NY real estate, and he has followed through in the White House. There was enough in the Mueller Report to validate bringing charges—if there’d been an attorney general serving us, rather than Trump—and there’s plenty we’ll still hear about.

      The process is clearly partisan because unfortunately so few Republicans are upholding their Constitutional oaths. According to Jeff Flake and another former Republican Senator, if the Senate vote were held in secrecy, more than 30 Republicans would vote to convict. Do you recall the 10 Benghazi hearings (6 by Republican-controlled House committees), when Hillary Clinton had to testify for 11 hours and then there was no there there? Do you recall how incredibly partisan the Intelligence Committee was under Devin Nunes when the Republicans were in control? He was forced to step down as Chair, but that didn’t stop him from meddling. And now we find that he was in Ukraine with the unscrupulous guys under indictment or soon-to-be, apparently trying to dig up dirt on the Bidens. As to secrecy, Trey Goudy said when he was in charge that it was important to keep hearings secret because you learn more that way. The Democrats’ position is that having the initial hearings in secret prevented witnesses from meshing their stories. Indeed, Gordon Sondland has had to change his story twice to avoid perjury charges.

      It is simply untrue that the Republicans got to call no witnesses. Both Volker and Morrison were recommended by the Republicans. The fact that once under oath, they corroborated everyone else simply means that they realized they had to protect themselves by telling the truth. Volker even said Joe Biden is an honorable and honest man! Must have driven Trump nuts.

      “With no opportunity for defense.” Trump has stonewalled everyone. If they had a defense, you can bet they would have been encouraged to appear and relevant documents would have been released. But he even wanted everyone to defy the subpoenas. This is a clear violation of the Constitution’s Separation of Powers. Neither Nixon nor Clinton did that. I think the Democrats are thoroughly in their rights to regard the unwillingness to appear as further evidence of Contempt of Congress. And Trump will have plenty of opportunities for defense during his Senate trial.

      “It was all bluster and no follow-through.” The “bluster” involved our national defense: Republicans used to care about that. They also used to care that the Russians were manipulating everything. I don’t know if we’ll ever find out exactly what Putin has on Trump, but he sure is doing everything Putin hoped for. Trump is encouraging foreign meddling in our elections—as he did in 2016: “Wikileaks, if you’re listening…” And then all of a sudden all those emails came flying out. (And the great irony is that he campaigned against Hillary’s carelessness with her emails, while he and his children consistently use unguarded cell phones and personal computers.)The fact that he and his people are so inept that they couldn’t pull this thing off does not excuse them. And to say Clinton was caught in a big fat lie, when Clinton’s admittedly dreadful behavior had nothing to do with government, while Trump’s is encouraging Russian expansion and weakening an important strategic ally, does not sound very persuasive to me.

      If bribery and extortion are not worthy of impeachment, I don’t know what is. Bribery is in the Constitution. Abuse of power is manifest every day this guy prevents the wheels of justice from progressing as they should.

      “Just nominate a decent candidate and beat him already!” Nancy Pelosi was clearly not for impeachment—but when moderate first term Dems in Trump-leaning districts said they supported it and felt it was what they’d taken their oath of office for—knowing they may lose their seats—she decided it was the right thing to do.

      I realize the Senate won’t convict him, and I think it’s shameful that they won’t. I fervently hope the Dems come up with a candidate who will have broad enough appeal to defeat him (assuming the election isn’t sullied by foreign intervention). And then we’ll have to see if he’ll willingly leave office or…I hate to think of what this man can do to further destroy our country.

      I rest my case.

      PS: Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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      1. Now that everyone’s talking points have been covered, we should get back to your main question: why doesn’t everyone see what you see?

        I keep coming back to Schiff not proving his case. Here’s the thing – he doesn’t have to meet a burden of proof with you – you and the rest of the politically engaged left are already on board. Schiff’s job is to make the case to me and to those voters who are moderate to conservative and who are not all that sure about Trump. And there are lots of them. But Schiff isn’t doing that. He is playing to the cameras and to those already on his team.

        This will have two consequences – it will not get an impeachment conviction and will potentially push people into Trump’s corner at election time who might rather not be there because the other side has shown that it will stop at nothing to bury him. I am old enough to remember when Nixon’s support began to soften, when enough middle American former supporters decided that there was more to Watergate than political infighting. I am pretty sure we are not there this time.

        Oh well, at least we can agree to have a Happy Thanksgiving in our respective corners. 🙂

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      2. I wonder what could possibly make the case for you. He clearly tried to shake down a weaker ally whom we depend upon to stand in the way of Russian expansion. In refusing to allow people and documents to reach Congress, he is obviously violating the balance of powers our founding fathers wrote into the Constitution and has been a tenet of our government ever since. He is trying to manipulate our elections by digging up dirt from a foreign country about a political opponent. What would you need to be convinced? Or what more would he have to do for you to believe he had committed impeachable acts?

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  10. 1. Shaking down a weaker ally (or attempted shaking down perhaps) may be stupid, may be political suicide, but I have yet to hear some citation to the U. S. Code that that this runs afoul of.

    2. Refusal to provide documents and witnesses. The Executive and Legislative are co-equal branches. The Executive cannot force the Legislative to do anything (except via the Judicial) and the reverse is true as well. I do not consider asserting Executive rights against the legislative branch to be a criminal act. If Trump’s wrong, take him to court.

    3. Manipulating elections by digging up dirt from a foreign country about a political opponent. Wait – you mean the Steele Memo? Sorry, couldn’t resist. Again, is opposition research illegal? The Hunter Biden thing is a fascinating little side-trail – I mean what value could an idiot who has never had a real job provide to a Ukrainian energy company. Oh wait, his father was the VP. But does seeking to learn more about this violate any laws? I don’t know, but the fact that I don’t know tells me that it does not or we would be hearing about it 24-7.

    I get that lots of people can’t stand the guy, and that lots of people consider him a danger. But I don’t think its a bad thing to be a stickler about requiring that some actual significant crime be committed before impeaching a President. You don’t think I would sleep better at night with Pence in the White House? I think too many people are letting their anger and their hatred blind them – this is serious stuff and there should be more than a political vendetta, or else just watch it get turned back around on your guy some time in the future. I don’t think Impeachment should be used like that.

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    1. I just think it’s a lot more serious than you seem to. I am very scared that he’s destroying democracy. As Judge Jackson said in her 120 page ruling in the McGahn case, the President is not a king. I think he aspires to be a dictator, and every time he gets away with something, he reaches further. But at this point, I think we should just acknowledge this is not an issue on which we—you and I—can find any areas of agreement.

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  11. Annie,
    Another facet of what is going on through the impeachment proceedings and the talking points of both sides is that objective testimony or objective facts can no longer exist in the Trumpian world. This is so because Trump and his band of sycophants have derided every person who says anything against his administration is “partisan”. Testimony, documents, emails, etc are no longer judged by their content but by “whose side you are on.” This is one of the many many dangerous things that his administration has cultivated.

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