Impeachment

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Thad
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Impeachment

Postby Thad » Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:43 pm

Welp, it's happening, finally, sort of. At least, the leadership has finally stopped dithering and hemming and hawing and hairsplitting about whether there's any difference between an impeachment inquiry and an impeachment investigation and whether or not we're currently in one of those. No more of that. Now it's an official, formal impeachment inquiry.

The latest polls show support for impeachment at 35%. That may not sound like much, but there are a couple of points to consider: first, those polls were taken before the news that Trump had pressured Ukraine into digging up dirt on Biden; second, public support for impeaching Nixon was 19% when the House opened its impeachment inquiry in 1973. A competently-conducted investigation will move the needle. And is there any doubt that, under the pressure, Trump will act rashly and against his own best interests?

There are still a lot of variables we can't know yet, and a lot of ways this could fail (from feckless Democrats to feckless media). Even if the House impeaches -- and that's not a foregone conclusion, though I gotta say now that they've announced an impeachment inquiry it would be very damaging to Democrats' electoral chances if they concluded that there wasn't sufficient cause to impeach -- there are very slim odds the Senate will convict (unless there's an economic crisis, in which case all bets are off). But if public opinion shifts to favor impeachment, then fucking make every Republican up in 2020 (and beyond) run on defending Trump from justice against the public's wishes.

The news so far hinges on the whistleblower complaint against Trump, which at least partially concerns the aforementioned meddling with Ukraine. From what I understand, the Senate Intelligence Committee has voted unanimously for the release of that complaint, but I believe that means just the Committee will see it, not the public, giving the Republicans a chance to do what they did with the Mueller Report and come up with a misleading way to spin it to a credulous media before anyone else can actually see it.

Of course, the Ukraine story is just the latest development, and there are numerous other investigations into Trump's various crimes that can now be combined under the same umbrella -- Trump's tax returns, the Mueller Report, his payoffs to Stormy, his kill deals with the Enquirer, the emoluments cases...there's plenty to work with here.

Worth keeping in mind is just how important PR and media spin are going to be, and...Democrats ain't always great at that shit. They need to make the case to the public, and that's going to be tricky with the bothsiderist media (and FFS, Democrats, Fox News viewers are a lost cause, and if *they're* the audience you're trying to convince, then you've already made a grave error). But it's doable. For as slippery as Trump's been up to this point, this story has managed to capture the news cycle, it's being covered in a way that's very favorable to the Democrats...this has been handed to them; they just need to keep the attention directed at it. For starters, I think they should postpone their recess, which is currently scheduled to start next week.

Keep this in the news. And keep Trump apoplectic about it. The more time the news media spend on impeachment, the more foolish, self-destructive, self-incriminating things he's going to say.

Don't fucking miss.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Blossom » Tue Sep 24, 2019 10:09 pm

Nothing Trump did was enough for Pelosi to raise the topic until she had both her entire constituency and caucus demanding it, and he happened to do something that was aimed at Joe Biden. So now, an impeachment inquiry that will, mark my words, decide that impeachment is inappropriate at this time.
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Re: Impeachment

Postby Thad » Wed Sep 25, 2019 11:56 am

Blossom wrote:Nothing Trump did was enough for Pelosi to raise the topic until she had both her entire constituency and caucus demanding it, and he happened to do something that was aimed at Joe Biden. So now, an impeachment inquiry that will, mark my words, decide that impeachment is inappropriate at this time.

Perhaps, though this at least shows that she'll move when her entire constituency and caucus demands it. I try never to underestimate the self-destructive madness of the Democratic Party leadership, but I think that the momentum is going to be very hard to stop now.

I think that if they're not going to impeach, they'll dither until after the election to tell us. Going into the election on "just kidding about that whole impeachment thing" would be electoral suicide, and I'd be surprised by that even from the party that decided not to run on Enron in 2002.

At least they're off to a promising start:



That's the right way to do it. I was worried about people's susceptibility to the "look, he never actually threatened anyone" excuse. Getting out in front of it on day fucking one with the "it would be a shame if something happened to it" analogy is absolutely the perfect play, and a much cannier move than I was expecting. This is how you shape a narrative; keep it up.

I listened to a little bit of the coverage on NPR, and it's about what I expected: pretty supportive of the Democrats, with a little sprinkle of bothsiderism. Who gives a fuck what Trump tweeted after the announcement? And if you're going to quote Kevin McCarthy complaining that this investigation is political, you should damn sure point out that he bragged about the Benghazi investigation hurting Clinton's poll numbers.

But still, it's a promising start. Trump's already making it worse (of course). There are still a million ways the Democrats and the news media can fuck this up, but...so far they've made it 18 hours without doing that, and I guess my expectations are low enough at this point that that feels like a win.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Thad » Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:15 pm

Trump said he was going to release a full, unredacted transcript.

Then he released a "memorandum of a telephone conversation" that says it's "not a verbatim transcript". And which still incriminates him, his AG, and his personal lawyer.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Friday » Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:20 pm

Yeah, I knew immediately when he kept saying he'd release the transcript that he wouldn't actually, because that's, you know, obvious.
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Re: Impeachment

Postby Büge » Wed Sep 25, 2019 5:47 pm

ahahaha

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Blossom » Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:24 pm

Friday wrote:Yeah, I knew immediately when he kept saying he'd release the transcript that he wouldn't actually, because that's, you know, obvious.


Pretty much, yeah.

I mean, even if "a transcript" came out, did anyone actually think he'd release an actual, real, authentic transcript of an actual call? And not a fiction?
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Re: Impeachment

Postby Friday » Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:48 pm

Very Real Transcript of Call from Trump to Ukraine President Guy, I forget his name whatever

President Guy-
"Hello?"

Trump-
"Hello yes this is The President of the United States of America, Donald Trump!"

President Guy-
"Oh yes hello! I love your golf courses, they are really the best golf courses. Here are their locations (locations redacted)"

Trump-
"Yes that is true they are the very best. Also my steaks. Anyway I am calling to confirm I am not in any way asking you to do anything massively illegal."

President Guy-
"Yes."

Trump-
"Yes thank you. Witch hunt! Also, say I am handsome, because I am. The most handsome."

President Guy-
"Yes, you are. And also, you are not doing anything illegal. PRESIDENTIAL HARRESMENT!!! (sic)"

Trump-
"Yes thank you for saying that. The very best golf courses. Goodbye."
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Re: Impeachment

Postby Thad » Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:57 am

Pretty good, but missed the part where Trump still incriminates himself in his totally-not-incriminating version.

Anyhow, caught a bit of the House hearing with the acting Director of National Intelligence. The Republicans seem to be going with the "the REAL scandal isn't what the president said, it's that it was leaked to the press by DEEP STATE CONSPIRACY" narrative. I don't think that dog's gonna hunt outside the Fox News audience.

The DNI, meanwhile, is going with "Hey now, we didn't fail to comply with a congressional subpoena; we always intended to comply, and the only reason we missed the deadline is because our lawyers disagreed with yours about the legal definition of the word 'urgent'."

Meanwhile, a declassified version of the whistleblower complaint is out. I haven't found a readable copy of the full document, but the summaries I've seen so far mostly reinforce what was in yesterday's not-transcript, with additional details about followup meetings with Zelensky.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Thad » Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:49 am

Actually, there's one other important detail revealed in the complaint: White House officials sought to "lock down" the transcript of the phone call; they removed it from the computer system where transcripts are typically stored and put it on another system reserved for "especially sensitive" information.

This speaks to a couple of important things: one, they knew how fucking bad this call was, and didn't want people to know about it.

And two, there is a separate computer system where White House staff store incriminating transcripts that they don't want people to know about.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Mongrel » Thu Sep 26, 2019 1:07 pm

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Thad » Thu Sep 26, 2019 4:06 pm

"Determined" may be too strong a word. When he says "Pence did nothing wrong, and the transcripts will prove it," he may actually believe that. He didn't seem to understand that anything in the transcript he released yesterday made him look bad.

I think he really may be drinking his own Kool-Aid, and actually believe that he's done nothing wrong and all of this is a witch hunt by partisan Democrats and biased media, and Fox News and the cheering crowds at his rallies represent what the public actually thinks, and any evidence to the contrary is Fake News.

It's also possible that he doesn't really have any concept of right and wrong at all, he thinks everybody else is as crooked as he is, and this is just about taking sides: Republicans defend Republicans and attack Democrats; Democrats defend Democrats and attack Republicans; and there's nothing more to it than that; the facts don't actually matter. (TBF, the entire Republican Party, and a non-trivial segment of the Democratic, seem to agree with this view.)

It's also entirely possible I'm overanalyzing it and the motherfucker just says whatever dumbass thought pops into his head without thinking about it.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Friday » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:14 pm

I think it's a blend between the last two. I don't think Trump understands or cares about the concept of morals or ethics. His life has been one of ruthless business, and lets not pretend that the people who he swam and swim with aren't just as amoral and merciless as he is. So yeah, the facts are not what matters. What matters is your side beating the other guys side.

And yeah also he's like, a feckless idiot.
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Re: Impeachment

Postby Brentai » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:29 pm

There's also been no evidence up to now that there's nothing he can't get enough people to believe if he just says it enough times, possibly after a quick bout of self-hypnosis for sincerity.

You can fool some people all of the time and as long as there's an electoral college in place you don't need to fool all of the people any of the time.
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Re: Impeachment

Postby Thad » Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:01 pm

I've seen several pundits advocate that approach. The reasoning seems to be, "look, none of that other stuff got people onboard with impeachment; this has. Focus on the thing that's working."

There are a number of reasons that reasoning is bullshit, including that it relies on the baffling assumption that further investigations into Russia, obstruction, Trump's tax returns, the payoffs, and the myriad other scandals won't reveal new information that convinces more people that Trump has committed impeachable offenses.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Grath » Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:53 am

The good news is now there's a second whistleblower, this time about Trump interfering with tax audits.

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Re: Impeachment

Postby Blossom » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:30 am

Thad wrote:I've seen several pundits advocate that approach. The reasoning seems to be, "look, none of that other stuff got people onboard with impeachment; this has. Focus on the thing that's working."

There are a number of reasons that reasoning is bullshit, including that it relies on the baffling assumption that further investigations into Russia, obstruction, Trump's tax returns, the payoffs, and the myriad other scandals won't reveal new information that convinces more people that Trump has committed impeachable offenses.


It's also the exact reasoning that killed the first Russia investigation. And is an insult to everyone who was pushing for impeachment before the Ukraine call.

Grath wrote:The good news is now there's a second whistleblower, this time about Trump interfering with tax audits.


And yeah, see? This is why it's so stupid.

But I'm sure the two week recess the Democrats are about to take will give them lots of time to think it over.
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Re: Impeachment

Postby Thad » Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:22 pm

Yeah, I wish they'd pushed back the recess, but at least it's an opportunity for some interesting town halls.

Anybody here in a swing district? Might be a good idea to see if your rep is going to be making any public appearances. Keep the pressure on; don't give the Democrats an opportunity for second thoughts, and make the Republicans sweat.

(My district is pleasingly boring on this issue; it's safely Democratic (it includes ASU) and Stanton came out in favor of impeachment months ago. Have I mentioned how much happier I am with him as my rep than Sinema?)

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Re: Impeachment

Postby zaratustra » Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:32 pm

Thad wrote:I think he really may be drinking his own Kool-Aid, and actually believe that he's done nothing wrong and all of this is a witch hunt by partisan Democrats and biased media, and Fox News and the cheering crowds at his rallies represent what the public actually thinks, and any evidence to the contrary is Fake News.


Trump believes he's never done a single thing punishable by law in his entire life, because so far everyone else has proven him right.

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