Words of Advice:

"We have it totally under control. It's one person coming from China. It's going to be just fine." -- Donald Trump, 1/22/2020

“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here..and isn't it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama."
-- Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, 2/25/20

"I don't take responsibility for anything." --Donald Trump, 3/13/20

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Republicans Are Now Trying to Paper Over Trump's Impeachment With a Thin Veneer of Truth

A growing number of Senate Republicans are ready to acknowledge that President Trump used U.S. military aid as leverage to force Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his family as the president repeatedly denies a quid pro quo.
The pivot was the main topic during a private Senate GOP lunch on Wednesday, according to multiple people familiar with the session who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the meeting. Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) argued that there may have been a quid pro quo but said that the U.S. government often attaches conditions to foreign aid and that nothing was amiss in Trump’s doing so in the case of aid to Ukraine, these individuals said.
The veneer of truth is that conditions are often put on foreign aid: You want bulldozers, you have to buy them from an American company; we'll give you ten billion in military aid and gear if you send fifty soldiers to Afghanistan; that sort of thing.

What is not done, what is an abuse of power and what is, in point of fact, illegal as all fuck is to do that to solicit aid from a foreign government for a political candidate.

If Person A breaks into Person B's home and attacks B with a knife, B is justified in blowing A away. B is going to be congratulated by the cops, etc. Now if B is beefing with A and B walks up behind A and B shoots A in the back of the head on a public street, then B is going to go to prison until he dies (whether by natural causes or lethal injection).

Context matters. What Trump did was ask for an illegal quid pro quo. Getting a political favor is not much different from getting a bag of cash.

Republicans should wise up and stop drinking the Trumpist Kool-Aid. History will not be kind to any of them.


dinthebeast said...

He did it twice, the well documented shake down of Zelensky and also with his predecessor, Poroshenko, who he conditioned the receipt of Javelin missiles on the quashing of the investigation of Manafort and the discontinuance of cooperation with the Mueller investigation.

-Doug in Oakland

Comrade Misfit said...

It is basically soliciting a bribe.

B said...

The question of whether trump did what you claim or not *and whether it is illegal) notwithstanding, I have a question: Is a candidate's son immune to prosecution for illegal activities just because his father is a candidate for president?

Comrade Misfit said...

Of course not, which, by the way, is something that should concern Don, Jr.

But using the levers of power of the government to ask a foreign government to investigate the son of a political rival, no matter what the fig leaf of justification happens to be, is wrong.

Trump is concerned about corruption in Ukraine when it pertains to somebody named Biden? Other than that, he doesn't give a shit (see, Manafort; Paul).

It was a naked abuse of power and Trump will be impeached for both it and for obstruction of a Congressional inquiry.

I think Jeff Flake is right: If the Senate took a secret vote, they'd convict Trump by 80 to 85 votes. Which goes to show the political cowardice of the GOP.

Dark Avenger said...

You didn’t read the transcript, B?

Here are some of the claims the president has made over the past two days about the phone call and the whistleblower’s complaint, which included an accurate account of the phone call:

The president wrongly claimed that Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified that Trump’s phone call with Zelensky was “very normal.” Maguire did not characterize the phone call in his testimony before the House intelligence committee.
Trump falsely claimed that a White House-released memo on his July 25 phone call with Zelensky was “an exact word-for-word transcript of the conversation … taken by very talented stenographers.” The memo includes a “caution” note saying it “is not a verbatim transcript.”
Trump said that “the whistleblower never saw the conversation” and “wrote something that was total fiction.” The whistleblower said he received “a readout of the call,” and Maguire said the complaint is consistent with a White House memo of the call. (Trump also wrongly denied that Maguire found the two consistent.)
Trump claimed that Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell “put out a statement that said that was the most innocent phone call he’s read.” McConnell said it wasn’t an impeachable offense, but did not describe the call as “innocent.”
Trump also claimed that Sen. Rick Scott of Florida described the call as “a perfect conversation.” Scott didn’t use those words, but like McConnell he said he didn’t see the call as an impeachable offense.
Maguire: Complaint ‘in Alignment’ with Memo
On Aug. 12, an anonymous intelligence community official filed a whistleblower complaint accusing the president of “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.” The complaint included a description of a July 25 phone call that Trump made to Zelensky, who was elected the president of Ukraine on April 21.

On the call, “the President pressured Mr. Zelenskyy to … initiate or continue an investigation into the activities of former Vice President Joseph Biden and his son, Hunter Biden,” and assist a U.S. review of allegations that the “Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election originated in Ukraine,” according to the whistleblower’s complaint. Trump asked Zelensky to “meet or speak with two people the President named explicitly as his personal envoys on these matters, Mr. [Rudy] Giuliani and Attorney General [William] Barr,” the complaint said.

That description was confirmed by a memo of the call, which the White House released on Sept. 25.

“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” the memo says Trump told Zelensky. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”

The memo of the call also showed Trump asked Zelensky to “find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine” and the 2016 presidential campaign, and urged him to speak with Barr and Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney.

At a Sept. 26 House intelligence committee hearing, Rep. Joaquin Castro asked Maguire, the acting DNI, if the whistleblower’s complaint is “remarkably consistent” with the memo of the phone call that was released by the White House.

“I would say that the whistleblower’s complaint is in alignment with what was released yesterday by the president,” Maguire said.