December 19, 2019

House Votes To Impeach

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“President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday night.” AP News

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From the Left

The left supports impeachment.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) writes, “The facts in this matter are not in question. President Donald Trump called the president of Ukraine on July 25 and asked him to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, using critical military assistance and a coveted White House meeting as leverage. He put his own interests before those of the country and did so at the expense of our national security and the integrity of our elections. When he got caught, he refused to comply with the subpoenas of congressional investigators and ordered a blanket ban on White House officials’ testifying…

“If the Senate abdicates Congress’s power to impeach — or fails even to hold a serious trial — history will remember those senators for their failure to set party aside to preserve the rule of law.”
Steny H. Hoyer, New York Times

“If you're a Republican, imagine how you would feel if a President Hillary Clinton withheld congressionally appropriated military aid to a country under assault by the Russians with the request that they formally announce an investigation into her most formidable Republican rival in advance of an election. If you're being honest, you would recoil. Then consider the precedent that is being set: If you are opposed to impeachment in this case, then you are saying that future presidents should be able to abuse the unique power of the office for personal political gain. That is a recipe for disaster in our democratic republic…

“As divided as our nation is, there is far more public support for impeaching President Trump than there ever was regarding President Clinton, who nonetheless apologized for his actions and was condemned for his personal mistakes by Democrats at the time.”
John Avlon, CNN

None [of the Republicans who supported impeaching Clinton] can begin to explain how being untruthful over a private affair, even under oath in a deposition, is impeachable, but using the levers of presidential power, including congressionally approved military aid, to force a vulnerable ally into smearing a domestic political foe is not. How being tawdry in the White House justifies removal, but inviting foreign meddling in the next election is not… Clinton’s shameful human failings were no threat to America’s constitutional or electoral order. That cannot be said of Trump’s mendacity today.”
Editorial Board, New York Daily News

“Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already signaled that he will work with the White House to limit witnesses and frame the debate in ways designed to help Trump… Stop to think about that for a moment: the Senate jurors, who will be sworn to impartiality, are colluding with the defense lawyers to help ensure a favorable outcome at trial. Future Democratic presidents will look at this behavior and expect it of their own party, giving them a sense of invincibility. The actions of Trump’s Republican enablers aren’t good for the rule of law or constitutional government. Nor will they be good for the GOP of the future, when the tables inevitably turn.”
Editorial Board, USA Today

“The idea that Trump not getting convicted after being impeached somehow proves the futility of the whole effort is bizarre. While it’s understandable that people are discouraged, this is a demoralized moving of goal posts to a definition of success that has never once actually been met. By this metric, no president has ever received a consequence. That’s nonsense. Impeachment is real; it is an outcome in its own right and an enormously damaging one; it will stain Trump’s presidency forever with an official vote of his unfitness.”
Lili Loofbourow, Slate

Some, however, note that “In a CNN national poll released earlier this week, 45% said they supported the impeachment and removal of the President -- down from 50% who said the same in a mid-November CNN survey… And a CNN ‘poll of polls’ -- an average of all six most recent quality/credible national polling conducted between December 4 and December 15 -- showed 46% favored impeachment and removal as compared to 49% who did not…

“What the trend line in recent weeks suggests is that the intense focus on impeachment has marginally helped, not hurt Trump. The change in public opinion is slight, yes. And it may well be temporary. But for the moment, it's the sort of thing that has to make Democrats a little (and maybe more than a little) nervous about the path they have chosen.”
Chris Cillizza, CNN

“The speed of the inquiry… and the White House’s obstruction have left important questions unanswered, and a probably persuadable part of the public unconvinced… It will be up to Senate Republicans to ensure that Mr. Trump is fully and fairly judged. They can do so by rejecting the rushed trial Mr. McConnell appears to be contemplating and supporting the summoning of key witnesses whose testimony has been missing.”
Editorial Board, Washington Post

From the Right

The right opposes impeachment.

From the Right

The right opposes impeachment.

“Democrats have taken an episode of Mr. Trump’s reckless foreign-policy judgment and distorted it into broad claims of bribery and extortion. The evidence of weakness is that their own articles of impeachment include no allegations of specific crimes. Instead they watered them down to ‘abuse of power’ and obstruction of Congress. The first is so general that the majority can define it to be anything. Impeachment doesn’t require a criminal offense, but the virtue of including a violation of law is that specific actions can be measured against it. That is why every previous impeachment included charges of specific violations of law…

“The second article—resisting Congressional subpoenas—boils down to impeaching Mr. Trump because he has gone to court to protect the powers of his office. Every modern President has done that on some issue, including Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The article of impeachment claims Mr. Trump has gone to court ‘without lawful cause or excuse,’ but Democrats won’t even give the courts the chance to define what is a lawful cause.”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“Trump’s impeachment is… a straight-party-line impeachment, based on misconduct that is so nebulous and inconsequential that Democrats changed their theory of criminality multiple times (‘quid pro quo,’ campaign finance, extortion, bribery) until finally settling on no crime at all, accusing the president of ‘abuse of power.’ This new standard is so amorphous, it could be applied to any president. Every president, after all, abuses the awesome powers of the office from time to time, and the opposition party always cries, ‘Corruption!’”
Andrew McCarthy, New York Post

“Trump shouldn’t have asked Ukraine to announce an investigation of the Bidens. Even if he was motivated by serious concern about corruption, he should have sat this one out given his political interests in this case. But Congress could have easily tried other ways to undo and end this misbehavior by Trump. Whether through appropriations riders or other legislation, they could have attempted to block him from applying said pressure. Had the House tried and encountered resistance from the White House, then impeachment would have been riper. But the House did not try because House leaders didn’t want to end Trump’s misbehavior. They just wanted to impeach Trump.”
Editorial Board, Washington Examiner

“Three weeks into Trump’s presidency, Public Policy Polling found 83 percent of Clinton voters believed Trump needed to be impeached… At that point, Trump hadn’t committed any high crimes or misdemeanors. Trump had simply been himself; in the eyes of quite a few Democrats, Trump’s presence in the office of the presidency was an ipso facto high crime or misdemeanor. Impeachment became a way of expressing the belief that the 2016 election shouldn’t have ended the way it did…

“You can argue that a process as important and rarely-invoked as impeachment should be more than simply a cathartic expression of the furious condemnation of a House majority. But that’s what it has become. When it comes to ending the Trump presidency, the only real game in town is the 2020 election — which feels strangely under-covered compared to the wall-to-wall daily coverage of an impeachment process where the only unknown factors are the decisions of a handful of lawmakers.”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“Impeachment is both a legislative and political plus for Trump. After weeks of hearings, most polls show that support for impeachment and removal has gone down — especially in swing states. Before the impeachment hearings began, a GOP poll by Firehouse Strategies showed Trump trailing his Democratic challengers; now, in the wake of the impeachment hearings, Trump is leading them all. The politics will only get worse for Democrats going forward… When the Senate acquits Trump, as it inevitably will, the spirits of the ‘Resistance’ will be dampened — while Trump supporters will be energized by his victory and claimed vindication.”
Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post

Some, however, argue that “If conservatives are right to object to the abuse of power by F.B.I. agents, shouldn’t they be far more alarmed at the abuse of investigatory and other powers for political ends by the president of the United States?… That Trump didn’t get away with it is a relief, not an exoneration. That he continues to insist the call was ‘perfect,’ as he did Tuesday in his letter to Nancy Pelosi, means that he is likely to do it again. That he attempted to subvert the will of Congress by impounding congressional funds for his political ends threatens the separation of powers in ways that will haunt a future Republican Congress… I might think differently about impeachment if Trump had shown any sense of contrition. Or if Republicans had shown any inclination to censure him. But Trump hasn’t, and they haven’t.”
Bret Stephens, New York Times

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“While running for president in 2000, George W. Bush derided ‘nation building’ and said American foreign policy should be ‘humble’ rather than ‘arrogant.’ As president, Bush brought us the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq… While running for president in 2007, Barack Obama rejected the idea that the president has the authority to wage war without congressional authorization whenever he thinks it is in the national interest… As president, Obama did that very thing in Libya… A few years before his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said the U.S. should withdraw immediately from Afghanistan… As president, he sent more troops to Afghanistan…

“Three men with little or no foreign policy experience entered an office where they were surrounded by experts, and they quickly shed their initial skepticism of military intervention… we should worry about a president with little knowledge of the world whose military decisions are driven by anger or domestic political considerations. But it's not clear to me that such a president poses a bigger danger than the experts who have been disastrously wrong more times than we can count.”
Jacob Sullum, Reason

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