Despite it all, there’s much cause for hope.

Trump may mock TIME’s 16-year-old Person of the Year, but for a lot of us — including President Barack Obama — she and her generation inspire — he takes a couple of minutes here to explain.

Browse through President Obama’s reasons to feel hopeful, from the cure that’s been found for Ebola to a simple act of spontaneous kindness at a Waffle House.  Each with a link to “the rest of the story.”

And then again, there’s also much cause for concern, when so many good, bright people have more trust in Putin’s propaganda and FOX News than in the FBI and the New York Times.

I’ve been going back and forth — cordially! — with my classmate from that dinner I wrote about earlier this month.  Yesterday, he offered this:

Here is an unimpeachably well-reasoned methodical non-emotional debunking of the impeachment articles.  I challenge you to find any flaws in its case that there is the complete absence of provable facts that relate to the Constitutional language on impeachment.  Your party has now saturated America in the world of fact-free — ergo lawless — Congressional promulgation.  This action will indefinitely stain the Democratic Party as an unabashed abuser of the rule of law.  I expect you and countless sane other ordinary Democrats will come around to seeing it an extraordinary political mistake and will eventually condemn Pelosi for it.”

This is the same guy, whom I’ll call “Bob” — charming, smart, good-hearted, gracious, and open-minded — who told me Hillary had diverted $2 million from the Clinton Foundation to pay for Chelsea’s wedding.  He was blithely spreading totally false, damning information, violating the motto of his alma mater and the Ninth Commandment about bearing false witness.  The good news?  When I sent him the link debunking it as utter nonsense, he agreed that maybe it wasn’t true after all.

So I replied:

→ Thanks, Bob.  The piece you sent me says:

. . . The allegation is that President Trump somehow abused his authority by attempting to make foreign aid to Ukraine, or else a White House visit for the Ukrainian president, contingent on that country helping investigate 2016 election meddling and/or Joe Biden’s interference in the Ukrainian justice system. . . .

First off, I’d strike the word “somehow.”

Second, I’d note that Trump aides on the famous “Javelin missiles / I’d like you to do us a favor though” call were sufficiently alarmed that the transcript was sequestered onto a secret server, released (like the Javelin missiles) only after the whistle-blower blew the whistle.

Third, I’d note that Joe Biden didn’t interfere in the Ukrainian Justice system for his own gain, or his son’s, he was executing United States policy that coincided with the policy of our allies. Read the whole story in the Financial Times.  And note the pivotal point: we and our allies were all focused on getting rid of that prosecutor not because he WAS coming down hard on companies like Burisma, but because he WASN’T.

Fourth, I’d note that a Republican Trump appointee, who had given $1 million to Trump’s Inaugural, and who initially may have fudged the truth a little to protect the president, subsequently testified under oath on TV — as you’ve likely seen — that “yes” there was a quid pro quo and “everybody was in the loop.”  And 16 other witnesses, including 3 I think requested by the Republicans, were on basically the same page.

So what if, as surely seems to have been the case, Trump DID hold up desperately needed aid to an ally . . . an ally that had been invaded and was under attack by Putin’s Russia . . . as leverage to get that ally’s president to go in front of TV cameras and announce an investigation into Trump’s leading political rival . . . as those 17 witnesses, in varying ways . . . and as the transcript itself . . . (and as common sense) . . . say he did?

Is that OK?  Or does it rise in your mind to the level of an abuse of his presidential power?  (I.e.: using his power for his ends rather than the ends of the American people.)

Your email takes the position that even to CONSIDER the answer to that question, as the impeachment proceedings are meant to do, “indefinitely stains the Democrats who are asking it as unabashed abusers of the law.”

But if you don’t consider THAT question legitimate, let me ask you where you would draw the line.

What if, instead of invading Ukraine, Russia had annexed the Loire Valley and Trump had conditioned aid to France not just on announcing an investigation into his opponent, but also on a secret promise to let him build a hotel across from the Louvre once he was out of office?

If THAT would strike you as a clear abuse of his power, help me understand why Ukraine instead of France makes a difference.  Why a potentially lucrative hotel deal instead of help destroying his leading political rival makes a difference.

Please read that Financial Times article and let me know whether it’s helpful at all in seeing why Democrats are making the case we are.

Thanks for keeping an open mind!

(And as for literal indictable felonious “crimes,” what do you make of this – which I thought should be added as a third article of impeachment, along with maybe a dozen others?)

Your pal,


Have a great weekend!




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