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Old 3rd October 2019, 04:22 PM   #41
varwoche
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
disagree.
This would have been enough to impeach if Dems had had the House majority at the time and would have forced Trump to testify.
That was then, this is now.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 04:25 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by varwoche View Post
That was then, this is now.
Not sure there has been enough to impeach before now.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 04:55 PM   #43
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We need a poll, don't we?

Anywho, I vote "Guilty AF."
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Old 3rd October 2019, 05:34 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
We need a poll, don't we?

Anywho, I vote "Guilty AF."
Actually, I think what Meadmaker is calling for in this thread is a dispassionate (skeptical, even) examination of the legal issues in question, followed by a reasoned argument for or against guilt.

It's not really about how you vote, but why. So. In the context of this thread, why do you vote "guilty AF"? Is Cohen's plea deal the high water mark of evidence for you, or do you have some better evidence, perhaps even some other crime, in mind?
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Old 3rd October 2019, 05:43 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Actually, I think what Meadmaker is calling for in this thread is a dispassionate (skeptical, even) examination of the legal issues in question, followed by a reasoned argument for or against guilt.

It's not really about how you vote, but why. So. In the context of this thread, why do you vote "guilty AF"? Is Cohen's plea deal the high water mark of evidence for you, or do you have some better evidence, perhaps even some other crime, in mind?
This article presents the main case I would make.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 07:01 PM   #46
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I have no problem whatsoever with a president soliciting political favors from multiple foreign governments on the White House lawn while on live television.

It's too funny.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 07:17 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
This article presents the main case I would make.

Ok. Good enough.

I'll begin where they begin, with the emoluments clause. (Aside: This won't be short, so, fair warning, tonight I will end there as well.) Trump's alleged violations of the emoluments clause are frequently cited as impeachable offenses, so that's a fine place to start.

And a good place to start that discussion is by citing the clause itself.

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And 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.

And since you are saying that the article's argument is your argument, it seems like we ought to quote something from the article.

One of the most-cited constitutional provisions during the Trump presidency is the foreign emoluments clause, an anti-corruption provision that prohibits government officials from receiving anything of value from foreign governments without the consent of Congress.

And already things get a little odd.

The constitution enumerates four specific things that officeholders may not accept without the consent of Congress. Those four things are "present, Emolument, Office, or Title" The article says "anything of value". Why the change in language?

In my analysis, I'm going to stick with the actual Constitution. Trump certainly hasn't received any titles or offices that I'm aware of. How about presents? Not that I'm aware of. Then there's that weird word I've never heard anyone say except when people are trying to impeach someone. What does that mean?

The most common thing I hear about when it comes to "emoluments" lately is diplomats staying at one of Trump's hotels. Does "emolument" mean "hotel fee"? I don't think so. Maybe it means, "anything of value"? If the article is right, that's what it must mean. Fortunately, we have people charged with the task of keeping track of the meanings of words, and they store their records in dictionaries. Let's see what the dictionaries have to say.

I'll go with merriam-webster.com, just because I've heard of them, and they came up first in the google search.

the returns arising from office or employment usually in the form of compensation or perquisites

An emolument is, specifically, a salary, or something salary-like, paid to you by someone because you hold an office or a position. It is something you get because of the office, not merely while you happen to be in office. If a foreign government gives a US office holder $1,000 a month, that's an emolument. What happens in Trump's case is that he owns a business, and sometimes foreign governments use the products (either goods or services, such as hotel rooms) provided by that business, and they are charged the usual and customary fees that anyone else would pay for that product. Try as you might, there's no way you are going to find a dictionary that turns a hotel room charge into an "emolument". They just aren't the same thing.

So, he hasn't gotten any presents, emoluments, titles, or offices from foreigners, at least not that we know about.

Emoluments are often mentioned in conjunction with "conflicts of interest". Wise politicians often divest themselves of business holdings or investments where such enterprises might present a conflict of interest. However, they do not have to do so except where provided by law. We are not in this thread to debate Trump's wisdom, though. His continued profit from business holdings may or may not be wise, but unless it violates a specific law, it isn't grounds for impeachment. His operation of Trump Hotel, or whatever it's named, might be a conflict of interest, but it isn't an emolument.

There is one other way that the emoluments clause could conceivably be used in connection with Trump's businesses. Suppose it were discovered that certain foreign governments consistently did business with Trump or his organization. It might be possible to show that the payments are actually just a way to conceal something that is, if the truth be told, just like giving him a regular salary. e.g. They promise to funnel a certain number of customers to the hotel, or buy a certain number of Make America Great Again hats offered by Trump's company, or the Chinese government gives him a bunch of MAGA hats instead of making him pay for them. If you could do that, you would have an emolument, but until evidence is presented that such a thing is happening, it's just a business, and it's legal.

As is my custom, I've given an in depth answer, at least by forum standards, and to avoid too much reader fatigue, I will defer answer to the article's other elements until a later time. I will preview by saying that they make a case that is not absurd. I do think his conduct of foreign policy raises legitimate questions that could be the subject of an impeachment inquiry. However, it will surprise no one that I don't think they rise to impeachment level. The detailed explanation will be given in my next long response. (Sometimes, during the day, I give brief responses using my phone.)

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Old 3rd October 2019, 08:06 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post



There is one other way that the emoluments clause could conceivably be used in connection with Trump's businesses. Suppose it were discovered that certain foreign governments consistently did business with Trump or his organization. It might be possible to show that their motive is to control Trump, and that the payments are actually just a way to conceal something that is, if the truth be told, just like giving him a regular salary. If you could do that, you would have an emolument, but until evidence is presented that such a thing is happening, it's just a business, and it's legal.

One could make the case that itís understood that if a foreign dignitary wants to influence Trump, a good way to do that would be to stay in his hotels. But if that understanding violates the emoluments clause, one could also make the case that Hillary Clinton violated the clause because one way to gain influence with her was to donate to her familyís foundation which many foreign governments did. Indeed, such an argument has been made. Newt Gingrich made that argument but really mangled it by saying it covered spouses and other distortions . But, in its analysis of Gingrichís claims, Politifact says that itís possible that the broad language of the clause would indeed cover donations to the Clinton Foundation:

Quote:
Whether Hillary Clinton is guilty of violating the Emoluments Clause is unproven. Some experts say the layers of separation between Hillary Clinton and the foundation mean she likely did not violate the Constitution. Others say the clause is so vague that it could be broadly interpreted to include a scenario like the Clinton Foundation. A case has never been argued in court.
My own take? Trump is violating the clause. I mean thereís no doubt he directly profits from foreign governments renting his rooms. And some governments are renting out whole blocks of rooms and not even using them...
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Old 4th October 2019, 12:06 AM   #49
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I know this is really hard to grasp for some people, but...

HRC isn't actually President, and never was.

So this Whataboutism can go eff itself.
Also, just because someone got away with a crime doesn't exonorate everyone else who committed as similar crime.
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Old 4th October 2019, 03:55 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
HRC isn't actually President, and never was.

So this Whataboutism can go eff itself.
Also, just because someone got away with a crime doesn't exonorate everyone else who committed as similar crime.
I don't think xjx388's post was in any way an example of "whataboutism". The emoluments clause of the constitution applies to any office holder, not just presidents. He was referring to her time as Secretary of State, and I think he was just illustrating how the emoluments clause has been discussed in relation to people other than DJT.

I don't intend to discuss Hillary Clinton to any significant degree, but the emoluments clause applies to a heck of a lot of people other than Donald Trump. I think some comparison is unavoidable.
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Old 4th October 2019, 04:05 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
My own take? Trump is violating the clause. I mean thereís no doubt he directly profits from foreign governments renting his rooms. And some governments are renting out whole blocks of rooms and not even using them...
A "direct profit" is not an emolument. However, the second sentence above is interesting, and it is the sort of thing I was referring to. Having a business and continuing to operate it does indeed provide a channel for governments to funnel money to the President without being so blatant as sending a monthly check.

It's definitely worth investigating.

In general, maintaining business connections the way Trump has creates all sorts of conflicts of interest and possible moral hazards. I would have no objection at all if Congress were to watch it like a hawk and jump on any detected improprieties. If there are ethics laws already on the books, they should be enforced and violations of those laws could be grounds for impeachment.

For the moment, though, what I'm saying is that "emolument" is an English language word that has a meaning that can be found in a dictionary, and it doesn't mean making a profit off of a business venture whose customers include foreign governments.
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Old 4th October 2019, 05:53 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
I don't think xjx388's post was in any way an example of "whataboutism". The emoluments clause of the constitution applies to any office holder, not just presidents. He was referring to her time as Secretary of State, and I think he was just illustrating how the emoluments clause has been discussed in relation to people other than DJT.

I don't intend to discuss Hillary Clinton to any significant degree, but the emoluments clause applies to a heck of a lot of people other than Donald Trump. I think some comparison is unavoidable.
The implication was that he was seeking Exoneration through Comparison: it's exactly the same as Trump claiming that he can't be corrupt if he corruptly investigates Biden's corruption.
It's BS.
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Old 4th October 2019, 06:03 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
The implication was that he was seeking Exoneration through Comparison: it's exactly the same as Trump claiming that he can't be corrupt if he corruptly investigates Biden's corruption.
It's BS.
Since he said he thinks Trump is guilty, I don't think your reasoning is sound.
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Old 4th October 2019, 06:23 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
The implication was that he was seeking Exoneration through Comparison: it's exactly the same as Trump claiming that he can't be corrupt if he corruptly investigates Biden's corruption.

It's BS.

HRC was the last time the emoluments clause was publicly raised. Arguments were made by pundits and scholars back then that may be germane.

This is set up as a public trial for possible crimes of Trump. In any legal proceeding, looking at past cases for precedent is part of good legal research. I looked for previous public discussions of possible emoluments violations and HRC was the one that most here will be familiar with. There was analysis of the clause at that time by various pundits and scholars that are germane here. I made no comment on her guilt or innocence and I approached it as a lawyer might; I.e. as if HRCís emolument concerns had been a previous case that set precedent.

Is it whataboutism for a lawyer to tell a judge, ďin case x v. y, it was ruled z?Ē
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Old 4th October 2019, 06:25 AM   #55
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That would be true if the case was even remotely comparable.
It isn't.
Unlike the Trump Foundation, the Clinton Foundation isn't a personal piggybank under direct control of the founder: Clinton doesn't get a dime from it.
In comparison, Trump's businesses are for-profit.

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Old 4th October 2019, 06:44 AM   #56
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The emoluments clause consists of archaic language that has never been tested by the Supremes. But I tend to think that "of any kind whatever" could / should(?) cover the Trump scenario. And to the extent we want to read the minds of the framers, it's clear that Trump's business arrangements opens the door for precisely the sort of corruption the clause was intended to address.

I would have no problem if it also covered the Clinton scenario, because that has the potential for corruption.
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Old 4th October 2019, 06:50 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
That would be true if the case was even remotely comparable.
It isn't.
Unlike the Trump Foundation, the Clinton Foundation isn't a personal piggybank under direct control of the founder: Clinton doesn't get a dime from it.
In comparison, Trump's businesses are for-profit.
But a foundation could be operated that way. The founder could have control over the checkbook. The founder could draw a large salary.

I'm not suggesting the Clintons did these things. For what little I know, it was entirely above board.
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Old 4th October 2019, 06:53 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by varwoche View Post
But a foundation could be operated that way. The founder could have control over the checkbook. The founder could draw a large salary.



I'm not suggesting the Clintons did these things. For what little I know, it was entirely above board.
I'm trying to remember if Bill Clinton took a paycheck from the foundation, while Hillary was at State.
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Old 4th October 2019, 06:55 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
That would be true if the case was even remotely comparable.
It isn't.
Unlike the Trump Foundation, the Clinton Foundation isn't a personal piggybank under direct control of the founder: Clinton doesn't get a dime from it.
In comparison, Trump's businesses are for-profit.


As Politifact points out, it depends on how broadly a court would interpret the clause. The whole point of bringing the HRC case into it is to introduce the fact that there is no precedent; itís unsettled law.

As an aside, I happen to agree with you. Trump profits directly; Clinton did not. It could be argued that Clinton benefited greatly or received value from donations to her Foundation, so I donít think itís quite so open and shut.
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Old 4th October 2019, 07:59 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by varwoche View Post
The emoluments clause consists of archaic language that has never been tested by the Supremes. But I tend to think that "of any kind whatever" could / should(?) cover the Trump scenario. And to the extent we want to read the minds of the framers, it's clear that Trump's business arrangements opens the door for precisely the sort of corruption the clause was intended to address.

I would have no problem if it also covered the Clinton scenario, because that has the potential for corruption.
I think any time an official is involved in financial transactions with foreign governments there is potential for corruption, and for a sort of disguised emolument. I think extreme scrutiny of such transactions is warranted. It is human nature that the oversight will be especially zealous if the official involved in the transaction happens to be a member of the other political party.

My objection is to the oft repeated claim that a business profit when the customer is a foreign government is automatically an emolument. It isn't. There are plenty of people who will insist that booking a hotel room to an ambassador is sufficient proof of guilt and sufficient grounds for impeachment. I disagree.
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Old 4th October 2019, 08:06 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
I think any time an official is involved in financial transactions with foreign governments there is potential for corruption, and for a sort of disguised emolument. I think extreme scrutiny of such transactions is warranted.
I disagree. I think that extreme anything is almost never warranted. Extreme scrutiny in politics just opens the door to all kinds of bad behavior.

I think reasonable scrutiny of such transactions is warranted.
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Old 4th October 2019, 08:25 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I disagree. I think that extreme anything is almost never warranted. Extreme scrutiny in politics just opens the door to all kinds of bad behavior.

I think reasonable scrutiny of such transactions is warranted.
potato potahto.

However, your point is well taken. The scrutiny itself can become a form of harassment and, ultimately, tyranny if the powers of the investigators are not restricted.
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Old 4th October 2019, 11:15 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Mueller has documented many cases of Obstruction of Justice committed by Trump.
This, IMO is sufficient grounds for impeachment and removal. Obstruction of Justice is exactly that for which Nixon was about to be impeached and removed when he resigned, after Republican members of Congress informed him that he was likely to be impeached and removed if he didn't resign. Specifically, he instructed the CIA to falsely tell the FBI that the Watergate burglary, committed by employees of his own re-election campaign, was a CIA operation and that therefor they should not investigate it further. I simply cannot see why Nixon's actions warranted impeachment and removal, whereas firing the FBI director for refusing to stop investigating allegations that his campaign committee had colluded with Russians does not.

Back then, congressional Republicans, at least most of them, had integrity and cared about the rule of law. This is apparently not the case now.
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Old 4th October 2019, 11:22 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
With all due respect, there are a heck of a lot of people who are unconvinced that Michael Cohen's conviction proves that Trump committed a crime. Indeed, most people are unconvinced. However, this thread is an opportunity to change that with respect to your fellow.isf denizens. Give it your best shot, if you are inclined to do so.

As for Clifford and dougal, never heard of them. I guess I'll Google.
Clifford is Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels. I'm not sure, but I think Dougal is the other woman to which Cohen paid hush money.
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Old 4th October 2019, 05:33 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by CORed View Post
This, IMO is sufficient grounds for impeachment and removal. Obstruction of Justice is exactly that for which Nixon was about to be impeached and removed when he resigned, after Republican members of Congress informed him that he was likely to be impeached and removed if he didn't resign. Specifically, he instructed the CIA to falsely tell the FBI that the Watergate burglary, committed by employees of his own re-election campaign, was a CIA operation and that therefor they should not investigate it further. I simply cannot see why Nixon's actions warranted impeachment and removal, whereas firing the FBI director for refusing to stop investigating allegations that his campaign committee had colluded with Russians does not.

Back then, congressional Republicans, at least most of them, had integrity and cared about the rule of law. This is apparently not the case now.
I only want to do one in depth post per day, and I said I would do another one on the article KellyB posted, so I won't get to this today.

The preview of the answer, as suggested earlier in the thread, is that a jury wouldn't buy the idea that the item's Mueller listed in the report actually constituted a "corrupt intent". I'll do more in depth next time I do a longer post. Possibly tomorrow, possibly a bit later. I'll be going through one section of the Mueller Report, and discussing his breakdown of the three requirements for an Obstruction of Justice charge. Since you brought up the firing of Comey, I'll pick that one to analyze.
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Old 4th October 2019, 07:45 PM   #66
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Woe is me.

I spent a lot of time on a fairly lengthy post about that article, and then I hit some wrong buttons, and it was lost.

Readers are spared my Great Thoughts on the subject for today.

I hate it when that happens. It would have been a pretty good post. I especially liked my line about...….oh, never mind. It will come again. Maybe even in a more concise form.
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Old 4th October 2019, 08:05 PM   #67
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congratulations
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Old 5th October 2019, 07:36 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Woe is me.

I spent a lot of time on a fairly lengthy post about that article, and then I hit some wrong buttons, and it was lost.

Readers are spared my Great Thoughts on the subject for today.

I hate it when that happens. It would have been a pretty good post. I especially liked my line about...Ö.oh, never mind. It will come again. Maybe even in a more concise form.
Bummer. I've been looking forward to your analyses. And appreciating your willingness to take and examine each legal claim as it comes. I hope you'll find the energy to rewrite today's post. Regardless, thanks for your efforts so far.
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Old 5th October 2019, 09:15 AM   #69
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On to the article KellyB linked. It focuses on the Ukraine issues.

Before beginning, there are two things I want to bring up, whose significance will be discussed as I discuss the contents of the article.

The first is the nature of impeachment and what it means. Democracy matters. It’s very, very, important. Its something I feel strongly about, and I hope everyone else does as well. Of all the offices we vote for, President of the United States is the one that really matters in people’s minds. It’s far more important that we vote than who wins when the votes are counted. To borrow a concept from a famous saying, there are many Americans to whom I would say, “Sir, I deplore the way you vote, but I would fight to the death to defend your right to vote that way.”

In other words, impeachment is a big, big, deal. It isn’t just changing the face that sits behind the desk in the Oval Office. It should only be done for a really important reason. I might vote for a candidate because they are aligned with me ideologically. There are some things a candidate might do that I find offensive in such a way that it might make me not vote for them, even though they are aligned with my ideology. Finally, there are some things that are so bad that it makes the candidate unsuitable for office, and we cannot even wait until the next election to remove them from their current office, and we cannot take a chance that the voters will re-elect them anyway.

That last step is a doozy.

The second preliminary I want to bring up is my favorite fallacy, which is the fallacy of equivocation. Around ISF there’s lots of talk about the straw man, and begging the question, and even no true Scotsman, but equivocation is a very underrated fallacy, in my opinion. The fallacy occurs when a word or phrase has two meanings, which can vary by context, and the author substitutes one meaning for the other in an argument. It happens a lot in political discussions, and it happens over and over in discussions about impeachment.

Preliminaries aside, on to the substance.

The article devotes a great deal of space to the dangers of foreign interference in US government and US elections. It quotes several of the founding fathers of America on the subject describing just how much we ought to fear this foreign influence. The fact that Donald Trump would invite such interference is cited as a main reason why we should remove him from office. The article says,

“By pressuring Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election on his behalf, Trump has damaged our national sovereignty and sought to corrupt our election process.”

It’s balderdash.

Donald Trump didn’t invite the President of the Ukraine to interfere in our elections or our government. What is the nature of the supposed interference? Were they expected to tell me how to vote? Were they expected to corruptly bribe our officials and make them beholden to foreign influence, as our founders feared? Not in the least. Not even a little bit. This was a case where our government, and specifically our President, was attempting to interfere in their internal affairs, not the other way around.

What is the fear? That the Ukrainian government would actually conduct an investigation, and publish the results, and the knowledge of what was going on might cause an American voter to change his mind about how to vote? That’s not interfering.

The article also discusses the implication of the potential investigation as campaign finance reform. It cites the very law that I earlier referenced as one of the hardest laws to read that I have ever encountered. It is in this section where the equivocation occurs most blatantly.

The law deals with campaign finance. The fact that it is called a campaign “finance” law suggests that perhaps it deals with money, and indeed it does. However, everyone knows that some people attempt to get around laws and policies that deal with bribery or corruption by giving something other than money. The law mentions several of them specifically. People give sports tickets, or cars, or gym club memberships (yes, that’s specifically in the law) instead of cash. The law says that those examples are the sorts of things that might be considered campaign contributions, or might be treated similarly to monetary exchanges for other purposes of the law, but of course they cannot enumerate every single possible transaction that might be made, so they say “anything of value”. Of course what they are talking about is monetary or material value.

We also talk about intangible items as being valuable, or of having value. A candidate’s good looks could be valuable to him. Knowledge is valuable. The endorsement of an influential politician or celebrity can be valuable. These things are all valuable, but they are not covered by campaign finance laws. To say that they are covered, because campaign finance law includes anything of value, is a fallacy of equivocation.

An investigation could conceivably dig up something damaging to Joe Biden’s candidacy, and if it did, that would be valuable to Donald Trump, but it is not a “thing of value” covered by campaign finance law.

Finally, the article barely hints at the one problem with the Ukrainian interactions that a lot of people find most troubling. Donald Trump clearly manipulated US foreign policy toward his own benefit. That’s bad.

How bad is it? Well, he didn’t turn it on its head and totally change course. It wasn’t a complete change of policy driven by a personal agenda. The US has been pressuring Ukraine to root out corruption for a long time. Trump just took that existing policy and twisted it to meet his needs. Is that enough to justify removal from office? Is it “a doozy”?

I can’t say that there is an objectively measurable “right” answer to that question. Let your conscience be your guide. In my mind, it doesn’t meet that standard. Due to the already lengthy nature of this post, I won’t defend that position today. I’m sure this will not be the last word on the subject. I am sure people will post their reasons why they think it is enough, and will call on me to defend my position that it is not. That’s ok. That’s what forums are for.

Last edited by Meadmaker; 5th October 2019 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 5th October 2019, 09:34 AM   #70
The Great Zaganza
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I very much disagree with your assessment.

first of all, you should be aware that the mere existence of an investigation is enough to cast a shadow over a campaign - HRC is the obvious example.
Even if an investigation would have cleared Biden, it would still have left a mark that Trump's campaign would have exploited.

So anything that makes it more likely that Ukraine would start an investigation is a political benefit for Trump, personally. How it benefits the US national interest is far from obvious.
Given the amount to pressure Trump has brought to bear on Ukraine to make this happen (Pence, Pompeo, Barr, Perry, the State Department, Ambassadors, Rudi, etc.) it is clear that Trump considered the opening of such an investigation something of tremendous value, more important than the normal function of government - and it definitely cost the taxpayer millions.

But most importantly, there is clear proof of repeated cover-up to stymie multiple attempts by the whistleblower to get heard by Congress. If this was no big deal or even a case of Trump fighting corruption, why the massive attempt to keep it hidden?
This is clear Obstruction.

Last edited by The Great Zaganza; 5th October 2019 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 5th October 2019, 10:27 AM   #71
Meadmaker
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
I very much disagree with your assessment.

first of all, you should be aware that the mere existence of an investigation is enough to cast a shadow over a campaign - HRC is the obvious example.
Even if an investigation would have cleared Biden, it would still have left a mark that Trump's campaign would have exploited.

So anything that makes it more likely that Ukraine would start an investigation is a political benefit for Trump, personally. How it benefits the US national interest is far from obvious.
Given the amount to pressure Trump has brought to bear on Ukraine to make this happen (Pence, Pompeo, Barr, Perry, the State Department, Ambassadors, Rudi, etc.) it is clear that Trump considered the opening of such an investigation something of tremendous value, more important than the normal function of government - and it definitely cost the taxpayer millions.

But most importantly, there is clear proof of repeated cover-up to stymie multiple attempts by the whistleblower to get heard by Congress. If this was no big deal or even a case of Trump fighting corruption, why the massive attempt to keep it hidden?
This is clear Obstruction.
If you are going to disagree with my assessment, you could at least address my assessment.

As it is, what you have done is to note that an investigation and/or its results might be valuable. In doing so, you demonstrated that you didn't really understand that whole "equivocation" section. Yes, it could be valuable, but it is not a thing of value. Yes, I mean exactly what I wrote. Furthermore, it is not some sort of Zen koan.

Then, you bring up some new charge of Obstruction, which wasn't something I assessed. Perhaps I simply don't understand the connection between your comments and my assessment.

And it's perfectly ok to bring up brand new charges of brand new (alleged) crimes, but I haven't assessed them, so they shouldn't be lumped in with a discussion of my assessment. Once again, I seem to have missed something, so you'll have to connect the dots for me if you want to convey some information or get a better response.

Last edited by Meadmaker; 5th October 2019 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 5th October 2019, 11:20 AM   #72
The Great Zaganza
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Mead, you claim that there is nothing wrong with Trump asking Ukraine to investigate Biden.
I clearly demonstrated that it is.
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Old 5th October 2019, 11:51 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Mead, you claim that there is nothing wrong with Trump asking Ukraine to investigate Biden.
I clearly demonstrated that it is.

I didn't, and you didn't.

For reference:

Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Thatís bad.
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Old 5th October 2019, 12:06 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Donald Trump didnít invite the President of the Ukraine to interfere in our elections or our government. What is the nature of the supposed interference? Were they expected to tell me how to vote? Were they expected to corruptly bribe our officials and make them beholden to foreign influence, as our founders feared? Not in the least. Not even a little bit. This was a case where our government, and specifically our President, was attempting to interfere in their internal affairs, not the other way around.
You're too literal in your thinking, and you overlook a rapidly emerging body of evidence. This isn't quite as bad as explaining a mob boss as a good deed doer who is generous with his complements and concerns, but it's a similar sort of cleansing away of obvious, pertinent facts.

Do you sincerely believe that, as Trump claims, his actions have nothing to do with politics and everything to do with a genuine concern about corruption in Ukraine that coincidentally involves the Bidens?

Or do you think it's no big deal that a POTUS uses US foreign policy as a lever to damage a political opponent?
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Old 5th October 2019, 12:09 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by varwoche View Post
Do you sincerely believe that, as Trump claims, his actions have nothing to do with politics and everything to do with a genuine concern about corruption in Ukraine that coincidentally involves the Bidens?
No.

Quote:
Or do you think it's no big deal that a POTUS uses US foreign policy as a lever to damage a political opponent?
I don't think it's a big enough deal to warrant removal from office via any means other than an election.

ETA: I hasten to add that my comment only applies to this specific instance. I don't think this specific case is big enough to warrant removal from office.

Last edited by Meadmaker; 5th October 2019 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 5th October 2019, 12:36 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
No.
Thank you, not sarcastic. It's often hard to get simple yes/no answers in this day and age.

Quote:
I don't think it's a big enough deal to warrant removal from office via any means other than an election.
OK. I probably would have already known if I paid better attention, pardon me. Mob boss wise assery not applicable.

If Ukraine complies with a phony report that is damning to Biden, and Trump uses it in his campaign, does that rise to impeachability?

I ask that out of curiosity. However you answer, I'm left with an understanding that we're more or less in alignment on the facts, but way out of alignment on what should be done about it. Given the vagueness of "high crimes and misdemeanors", c'est la vie though I remain befuddled, perplexed and flummoxed.
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Old 5th October 2019, 12:50 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by varwoche View Post
If Ukraine complies with a phony report that is damning to Biden, and Trump uses it in his campaign, does that rise to impeachability?
Does Trump know it's phony? It could. Insufficient data in the hypothetical to give a yes/no answer with certainty.
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Old 5th October 2019, 01:02 PM   #78
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Enough of this! Let's get to the punishment phase! Keelhaul him!
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Old 5th October 2019, 02:12 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
I will preview my arguments by saying that I don't think the examples given in the Mueller Report could ever be used to gain a conviction on Obstruction of Justice. Specifically, the usual problem would be in establishing "corrupt intent".
Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
It pretty much comes down to the requirement of "corrupt intent". Mueller describes the requirements for the crime to be charged, one of which is "corrupt intent". He provides analysis on whether or not there was evidence of corrupt intent in each case where he talks about obstruction of justice. In my opinion, in every case, his "corrupt intent" boils down to having any reason at all to want to impede or obstruct the investigation. It practically doubles the first requirement, which was that it actually impedes an investigation In Mueller's view, it seems that the only thing about "corrupt intent" necessary was to do it on purpose.

In my view, it is corrupt intent if your purpose is to hide evidence of criminal wrongdoing. It is not corrupt intent if you are trying to protect your reputation, or your standing with other world leaders, or your reelection chances. Those sorts of things cover most of what Mueller writes, and in my opinion fails to establish a corrupt intent. You may disagree, and that's what the thread is for, to discuss whether or not there really is a clear case for obstruction of justice, and likewise for tax evasion, abuse of power, emoluments, or whatever else he is accused of.
I believe that you are misunderstanding Mueller's reasoning, and that your interpretation of "corrupt intent" is definitely wrong. The definition that Mueller is using is that the intent was corrupt if it was to get personal advantage inconsistent with his duties to faithfully execute the laws of the country, and/or to deprive others or their rights. There isn't really any serious question if Trump tried to impede the investigation "on purpose" but the question is, whose interests was he serving: his or ours?
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Old 5th October 2019, 02:23 PM   #80
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We internet legal beagles can fantasize all we want. To me, one thing stands out about the Mueller Report. Some 1,000 (one thousand) current and former prosecutors signed a letter stating that they would try anyone based on the evidence Mueller amassed. I give no small weight to those whose career it is to prosecute crime. If so many experts agree on the obstruction of justice spelled out by Mueller, I'll take it as given that these are indeed crimes worthy to try.

If not for that OLC memo, Trump would quite possibly (maybe likely) have been charged--or at least be liable to such in the absence of other considerations of the Office.

All this mental masturbation here is nothing more than navel gazing. Trump's a crook, and in a just world he would face a judge some day. But not here.
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