I’ve heard Republican spokespeople argue that, with this impeachment thing, Democrats are simply trying to “overturn the will of the people.” This is not true. They are trying to act responsibly. (As I hope at least some Republicans were when they impeached Clinton on far less serious charges.) But leave that aside. The irony is: “the will of the people” was clear. By a 3 million vote margin, they wanted Hillary.*
Your fellow reader Tom and I both love our country, both care about the truth, and have both owned chunks of BOREF for a long time now. What’s more, he’s written some very kind words about my investment guide.
Yet we totally disagree on Trump.
“Gosh,” I wrote him in the middle of a recent exchange. “It’s remarkable that two good, smart people can see things so differently. Let me ask you this [hoping we could find something clear-cut on which we could agree]: do you think Trump has obstructed the impeachment investigation by defying all subpoenas for documents?”
Tom: “Of course not. He shouldn’t give the opposing party the time of day.”
Me: “So the Administration is exempt from Congressional oversight whenever it wants to be?”
Tom: “Congressional oversight applies ONLY to that which is read into legislation.”
Me: “I don’t think your interpretation of the Constitution is correct. But even if it is, Congress legislated – and the Department of Defense approved after its corruption review – the appropriation of $391 million taxpayer dollars to an ally under lethal attack from an enemy whom Mitt Romney famously characterized as our greatest geopolitical threat . . . an enemy that had staged a surprise attack on us in 2016 and that our intelligence agencies all agree plans to keep attacking us in 2020.
“So with 15,000 Ukrainians dead and the stability of our democracy at stake . . . (how stable can it be if people don’t trust the integrity of its elections and psychological warfare is effectively used to promote division and distrust between good folks like you and me?) . . . could it not be a “high misdemeanor” to withhold that desperately needed aid in order to gain personal political advantage?
“Could Trump’s motive in doing that — and in sending Giuliani and Barr and Perry on missions to do that — have been to bolster our national security? I don’t think so. I think his motive was to hurt Biden’s chances. You disagree. You think Trump gave this matter so much attention because — of all the corruption in the world — the corruption that MOST needed to be investigated was the possible corruption (debunked by all the evidence) of only one human on the planet . . . who just happened, in a crazy bizarre coincidence, to be his leading political opponent.
“Fair enough. We disagree. BUT THAT’S WHY WE SHOULD HEAR WITNESSES to help decide which of us is right. Ambassador Sondland agrees with me, Lev Parnas agrees with me, a whole lot of House witnesses agree with me. But maybe Bolton – though he apparently described the Giuliani/Perry thing as “a drug deal” – agrees with you.** Maybe Mick Mulvaney will show all these others to have been wrong – and you to have been right. I’m all ears.
“To argue, as Lindsey Graham and Ken Starr did, that a president’s lying to cover up a consensual sexual affair DOES justify removal from office, but — as they argue now — this little matter, with 15,000 dead and our leading geopolitical adversary attacking us, doesn’t even justify calling witnesses or subpoenaing documents . . . well, I find that inconsistent.
“What am I missing? If the president’s conduct was ‘trivial,’ as you’ve written, why did his people work so hard to hide it, immediately going to White House counsel with concerns and moving the record of the phone call to a top secret server?
“Does it strike you as odd that Trump would have secret meetings with Putin that not even his chief of staff is privy to? Or that from the get-go he wanted to lift sanctions on Russia? Or that he lied so many times about the Trump Tower meeting? Or that his first secretary of state was someone he had basically never met but had been awarded Russia’s medal of friendship? Or that his campaign manager had a contract with pro-Putin oligarch? That the one and ONLY thing Trump’s campaign fiddled with in the Republican platform was its condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? What’s YOUR theory on why that happened?”
Tom: “I’m sorry Andy, I’m just not interested in these issues. The House had their chance to investigate and formulate Articles of Impeachment. Why didn’t they do it, thoroughly, openly, and completely? Why did they stop with only two Articles. According to you, there must be 10 issues that could easily be proved. The Trump haters in the FBI, CIA, DOJ, DOD, etc., will be exposed, and I assure you that more than five (and I believe Brennan) will have jail time.
“Donald J. Trump is the most qualified person ever to become president. He has proven his ability with his accomplishments, even with the Democrats in full opposition. He already knew all the World and business leaders. He is genius at meeting. He never gives up, i.e. the wall, restricting 7 countries visiting the USA…and about to add more. The rallies are overflowing, everywhere he goes. He is stronger today than when he was elected. Unlike under Obama, the USA is truly respected around the world. Forget about what he says, watch what he does. HE FOLLOWS ALL ASPECTS OF THE CONSTITUTION. Democrats would like to destroy most of the Constitution.
“Adam Schiff is a very dishonorable man….so who could ever believe anything he says? Yes, he is very smart, but also dishonorable. Blatant lies. President Trump has followed the Constitution more faithfully than Obama. The reason Republicans didn’t impeach Obama is because they are not partisan hacks, and are in Washington to make the country a better place to live…not to undermine the Constitution with trivial, meaningless attacks on the President.”
→ But it’s instructive, no? I can’t imagine most Republican senators don’t recognize that Trump is lying, or believe Trump is the most qualified person ever to become president. But I don’t doubt Tom’s sincerity for a second.
And that’s scary.
Putin is winning — big-time.
*Not to gild the lily, but when you add in the third-party candidates, it was the will of 53.9% of the people he not be president.
**This was before the latest revelations.
Quote of the Day
I do count my blessings, but then I end up counting those of others who have more and better blessings, and that pisses me off.~Bob Mankoff New Yorker cartoon caption
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