China/Ukraine request

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Seppia
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China/Ukraine request

Post by Seppia » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:28 am

For all the media buzz around Trump, so far I only felt a real dangerous line had been crossed once (the famous "Send Them Back" situation).

Regardless of where the impeachment action will end up going, i though Trump saying China and Ukraine should definitely investigate the Bidens was the second time a line was crossed:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... the-bidens

I looked at the video of the interview, and was blown away by how open / shameless he was.

Biden is one of his most credible adversaries in 2020, China is a dictatorship, and he is President of the USA in the midst of a huge negotiation with said dictatorship on trade terms.

I'm curious to hear the opinion of republicans on this.

Jason
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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by Jason » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:10 am

I think most Presidential scholars believe the template of the modern presidency began with Woodrow Wilson in the beginning of the 20th century when he institutionalized his idea (he was a political science PHD) that there were two sources of Presidential powers - the Constitutionally defined powers i.e. "legal executive" and those powers derived from his/her popularity i.e. "mandate." This was a seismic shift if one recalls that Congress wouldn't permit James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, to build a national university in Washington DC because it could not be justified constitutionally (even though the bulk of the funds were being supplied through George Washington's estate). Wilson pushed the limits of the idea when he tried to go over Congress's head and sign the Treaty of Versailles based on public opinion and failed. But it set a precedent and every President since Wilson has in some ways worked beyond the prescribed scope of the Constitutionally defined terms of what the Presidency allows, specifically within the context of the separation of powers. It goes without saying that the Founding Fathers would have brought up impeachment proceedings against FDR with his acronym a day government.

As a Republican, do I think Trump has gone beyond the Constitutional limits of the Presidential office and do I think his actions falls within my understanding of "high crimes and misdemeanors?" Yes. But impeachment is political. It is always "constitutionally defined Presidency" vs. "mandate permitting Presidency" and Trump, as he is wont to do, is playing high stakes poker with the stability and power of his mandate as he knows that it is the ultimate arbiter of how things will play out. If Republicans believe his mandate will stick with his big old ass, they will continue to keep their noses straight up it. If they see his mandate ass cracking, they will pull out and join the Democrats and we'll have some type of Civilwargate shitstorm. But I think its highly unlikely. Trump has done his job. Biden is now just not old but old damaged goods. Electing post-heart attack Bernie is electing his Vice President, and Wall Street would prefer the Great Depression over Elizabeth Warren being either President or one heart beat away from it. Can you imagine Trump vs. Mayor Pete? That poor guy will be hanging by his underwear before he was a chance to put on his gym clothes.

7Wannabe5
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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:30 am

My mother is the same MBTI as Donald Trump magnified by bi-polar disease, so it's like this juncture in history is a national stage reenactment of some of the worst events of my childhood. That said, since I am unfortunately all too familiar with dealing with ESTP* in leadership role, it's always mostly going to be bluster which quickly blows over, unless/until he can't get the toy out of the claw machine into which he dropped 10 quarters and finally won. That's when the cops may have to become involved.

*The type that is actually least likely to believe in rule of law.

Jason
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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by Jason » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:32 am

I think the issue is that Trump is the type of guy who doesn't need to get the toy out of the claw machine to declare that he won. He's actually the type of guy to say there was no claw machine even though there is a picture of Giuliani dangling a small child by his feet in order to grab a rubber ball for him. This actually serves to Trump's advantage as he can return to playing whack-a-mole, to which he has proven he is the game's Michael Jordan. So from a pedagogical standpoint, I think somewhere, we always knew how much our political system relied on people operating on good faith basis. That as much as we like to say we are a nations of laws, from a Constitutional standpoint, we are heavily reliant upon gentleman's agreement. Now that we have someone like Trump freely wandering the fairgrounds, it has become clear just how reliant we are on it.

7Wannabe5
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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:08 am

Absolutely. My father was an old school gentleman, so this has been apparent to me since approximately the age at which I was able to comprehend irony. The problem for me has always been at what juncture do you act on the reality that people who do not honor agreement exist? Obviously, the poor man whose business was ruined because he shipped pianos to Trump before demanding payment prior to project bankruptcy, should have taken this fact into his consideration.

CS
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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by CS » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:13 am

Few of the republicans in congress have much to say except 'no problem here, move along.' That is the worst part to me.

ffj
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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by ffj » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:30 am

I think shameless is the operative word here. Do you remember when he brought several of Bill Clinton's sexual abuse accusers to his debate with Hillary? That was shocking to me at the time. But it is illustrative that if he is attacked, he will dig deep and call out any inappropriate behavior by his opponents. A lot of whataboutism, but it's effective.

Biden is expendable at this point. The Dems don't care that he goes away if they can hurt Trump in 2020. If Biden were a stronger candidate, then I guarantee you this whole conversation would have never been brought up as it hurts him. As much as Trump is playing a dangerous game with his rhetoric, the Dems are playing a more desperate hand. Especially after the disastrous Mueller " no, I'm not familiar with Fusion GPS" hearings and findings.

Interpretations are situational in the political world.

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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by Jason » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:52 am

The reason Republicans were able to approach Richard Nixon during the Watergate proceedings and say "You gotta go" and were successful in moving him towards resignation is that despite the psychological issues driving his activities, they knew Nixon had a basic respect not only for government but for the importance of the perpetuation of the Republican party as it existed at the time. They knew he wouldn't burn the whole edifice to the ground during and after removal from office. Republicans have no such assurances and know quite well Trump takes everyone with him. Trump has no such allegiances and has proven it during his first term. Mitch McConnel becomes "Mitch The Bitch." Mike Pence becomes "Pencel Neck." You know he says Clit Romney when its just him and Kellyanne in the room. Everyone goes down and everything goes up in flames.

Supposedly Trump simultaneously promised Pence, Gingrich and Christ Christie the VP slot. I do wonder if Christie would have been gone by now if he had actually been chosen.

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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by jacob » Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:12 pm

In many ways we're experiencing a cold civil war between Team Red and Team Blue that for the most part remains confined to the media and social media and only rarely devolves into street fights. To make a European equivalent, compare it to a soccer rivalry complete with the occasional hooliganism(*) except this is a game that lasts four years and nobody cares about the details.

(*) In the US violence between sports fans is very rare. In European soccer, it's part of the culture.

There are various slogans supposedly defining the gentleman's agreements, but in this match, it's generally "party over country" as long as there's no easily identifiable enemy. It's important to acknowledge that lines are rather extremely blurry and not everybody cares about the same lines. In the Ukraine case, it's about national sovereignty, so it's understandable that people from the national security apparatus would put somewhat more weight on matters of nation state. For a lot of others, it's just a talking point with the appropriate sports-fan gear: https://www.amazon.com/Rather-Russian-T ... B07G7GFKPL

I think the civil-war metaphor is useful because this is also a situation where each side has its own information outlets. The respective sportsfans thus not only have different versions of reality, they are also most certainly not watching the same reality. On one channel, the game is presented as a game of baseball and on the other, it's a game of football.

The actual players are actually secondary to the fans... but as a way to demonstrate how the party over country works, note that individual congress members are likely to impeach in exact proportion to how secure their seat is. The lower your margin as a democrat, the more proof/solid case is required before you're willing to impeach lest you lose your seat to a republican. The lower your margin as a republican, the more you have to at least mention the various game violations lest you be replaced by a democrat in the next election... but you can't say too much either, because then you'll be replaced in a republican primary challenge.

I'll just note that the actual president was an actual game show host. He never really left that role(*). There's no trade negotiation of any relevance going on. Like the wall, it's more like an underlying story arch that provides a bit of distraction when needed. "Oceania is at war with Eurasia"-type stuff :-P Of course this kind of leadership does create problems in the real world, but as long as the damage only affects a small number of people, most people quickly forget/find it irrelevant ... because it's after all just entertainment. It's only when the damage is surprisingly large that the WH reacts.... typically by generating some volatility around the signal. It's really quite similar to when someone tries to get away with saying something outrageous and then, if called on it, claims it was "just a joke".

(*) The question is whether Trump has reformed the game into the reality TV show it is now ... or it was already well on its way there with Ailes and Facebook and Trump is just the ultimate symptom. Thinking about reality shows, "malignance tempered by incompetence" does describe the most entertaining ones typically with about 1/4 of the cast ending up in prison after the show is over. This administration is already on track to beat Jersey Shore and Sons of Guns on that account.

It seems that most sportsfans don't really care what's happening to the game as long as their own side is winning. This also means that they only care greatly about the rules of the game when their own side is losing. It's not hard to find Republicans from a few years ago lambasting Obama for doing exactly what Trump is doing now. But hypocrisy is only relevant when there's a shared reality and that's not the case. This is why whataboutism (a cold war propaganda strategy) is so effective. Team X only hears about the problems of Y.

Methinks the framework will only change if both sides begin to feel like they're losing. This means that a majority has to feel the pain. The greatest threat to Trump or any modern president is therefore a recession. He's slowly baking that in because the fake trade war does have real effects. However, he has the option of ending the trade war shortly before the election which will probably be good for 500-2000 points on the Dow (just guessing) and sell it like some genius deal as things return to normal. I suppose there are other ways too.

However, we already know that there are a lot of people in the western world for whom crossing a line in the sports game of democracy is not a foul as long as it was their own team doing it. We just see it as a way as pwning the other side ... or we don't see it at all because it wasn't reported to our side. Anyway, THAT is the dangerous line ... and while much of the population seems okay with their own team crossing it, it appears that most professionals working in the state apparatus are not.

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by Dream of Freedom » Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:23 pm

I think Biden should be investigated. It sounds like he got a prosecutor off his son's back. That doesn't mean that Trump should call in favors against a political rivel. They both look bad.

The Old Man
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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by The Old Man » Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:26 pm

Jason wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:10 am
But it set a precedent and every President since Wilson has in some ways worked beyond the prescribed scope of the Constitutionally defined terms of what the Presidency allows, specifically within the context of the separation of powers.
You are forgetting about Abraham Lincoln. To Lincoln nothing - including the constitution - was more important than maintaining the union. He is considered to be a great president.

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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by Jason » Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:33 pm

I think national sovereignty is signifcant because its universally agreed upon as the foundation for the existence of all nation states. The irony is that our nationalistic President who got elected on building walls and throwing his opponents in jail, picks up his Batphone to shoot the shit with The Joker, The Riddler and The Fucking Penguin. I think ever political player in either party knows that can wind up being a big non-theatrical problem irregardless of whether they are blue or red. You have to think there's some unemployed Ukranian right this moment, refilling his shot glass while photoshopping pictures of Mike Pence with a stripper dressed in a nun's outfit after he couldn't locate the real ones so Trump can remind that silvered hair water walker who buttered his wafer in the first place. They probably have a 1-800-GET-RUDY line set up in every Ukranian prison by now.

Jason
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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by Jason » Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:53 pm

The Old Man wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:26 pm
You are forgetting about Abraham Lincoln. To Lincoln nothing - including the constitution - was more important than maintaining the union. He is considered to be a great president.
Oh, please. Lincoln wasn't sitting in his outhouse, basing his decision to suspend habeas corpus on Pony Express opinion polls. There were unique and hopefully unrepeatable exigencies that may or may not have required him to put down the Constitution, a document he was not only aware of, but thoroughly versed in.

IlliniDave
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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by IlliniDave » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:57 pm

Seppia wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:28 am
I'm curious to hear the opinion of republicans on this.
Well, I'm not a Republican (nor a Democrat, fwiw), but I'm familiar with some of what's being talked about living in a red state as I do.

This is the infamous video clip of Biden admitting a quid pro quo to get a Ukrainian prosecutor fired who allegedly had been investigating a Ukrainian Energy company that was paying his son.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXA--dj2-CY

It's arguably worth noting that in 2014 Biden's son had been expelled from the Navy (for drug use) and within a year or two landed some pretty lucrative gigs in Ukraine and China (where JB as VP was Obama's "point man"/envoy). Many people are skeptical of coincidence like that.

Seems like John Solomon has been among those at the forefront of journalistic investigation into Ukraine's connections to Biden and Ukraine's role (which they have "confessed" to) in the 2016 election. The link below was the first one that came up when I googled Solomon and Ukraine.

https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/46 ... aine-story

For those who like to think about the legal side of things, some interesting points I've heard brought up:

-The President is the chief federal law enforcement official under the Constitution. Can he be removed from office via impeachment for advancing investigations into potential corruption involving federal officials? (bonus points for knowing how many countries federal officers approached for assistance investigating Trump during his campaign at the behest of Obama admin officials, and throughout the Mueller probe at the behest of Democratic officials).

-Does running for election against an incumbent official/party give one immunity (else it's using powers of office to investigate political rivals)?

My own personal opinion is that Trump used characteristic lack of grace in handling the situation but I think impeachment is a bad idea given what we know so far. Without a crime clearly identified (they have a quid, but no pro quo outside of speculation and "parody"), much less a high crime, it's a bad precedent. It would fundamentally be a partisan political impeachment. The long term implication of that precedent if successful would mean future president's serve at the pleasure of Congress, not the people. We the people have an opportunity in a little over a year to throw Trump out of office. I believe impeachment is meant to be reserved for what amounts to national emergencies when waiting until the next election is too grave a risk to tolerate. I don't think that's the case here. Ironically, so far it seems mostly like a group of politicians attempting to use the power of their political office against their political rival.

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unemployable
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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by unemployable » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:59 pm

Dream of Freedom wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:23 pm
I think Biden should be investigated. It sounds like he got a prosecutor off his son's back. That doesn't mean that Trump should call in favors against a political rivel. They both look bad.
Yeah, If you're so against corruption and favoritism in high office I'm not sure how to the answer to this is Joe Biden. Similar to how if you don't like candidates making grab-them-by-the-pussy comments you should find an alternative who isn't married to Bill Clinton.

CS
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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by CS » Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:03 pm

How about judging a candidate by her own (impressive) merits?

The quid pro quo doesn't matter. It's not good, but it still doesn't matter. Asking a foreign power for help in an election is illegal. It doesn't matter if they get anything for the help or not.

IlliniDave
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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by IlliniDave » Sun Oct 06, 2019 5:25 pm

CS wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:03 pm
How about judging a candidate by her own (impressive) merits?
Yes!! And that's our job.
CS wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:03 pm
... Asking a foreign power for help in an election is illegal. It doesn't matter if they get anything for the help or not.
It is (I think), but asking for help in a reasonably predicated investigation is not. That's why I made the comment above about the numerous times the Obama admin (during the 2016 campaign, no less) and later Democrat Senators, as well as Mueller, went to foreign govt's asking for help against Trump. I'm leaving out the connections one of Trump's opponent's campaigns had to foreign governments since until Barr is done that's a little speculative.

The quid pro quo only matters because that was what the whistleblower complaint alleged, and is the premise to whatever it is that Pelosi has launched. Since that (whistleblower's specific claim) appears to have fallen through (I don't think anyone expected the transcript to be released) we'll have to see what emerges to tip the scales between whether it is reasonable to look into the Bidens' Ukrainian activities for possible corruption/ethics law violations, and therefore proper for the two governments to cooperate on (we have a treaty with Ukraine that requires such cooperation); or is this just naked dirt-digging/smearing for electoral politics with no reasonable basis. I'm afraid the latter is going to be really hard to prove, despite the poor "optics".

But your first statement is the big one. It doesn't take proof of anything for we-the-people to judge him unfavorably and vote him out of office, assuming enough people want that outcome. People could vote him out because they don't like his spray tans or whatever. :) The house Dems just need to be careful that they don't overplay their hand to the point people become sympathetic with Trump ala Bill Clinton. We'll see if someone to oppose Trump emerges whose merits include a message that a broad swath of the population can get behind.

CS
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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by CS » Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:41 pm

I think Pelosi launched it based on asking a foreign power for aid in an election.

It is still illegal to ask for aid of a foreign power in an election. Dressing it up as an investigation of Biden's son does not change that.

There is also the constant violations of the emoluments clause. The decision to today about Syria just goes beyond the pale - and is straight up based in personal enrichment. The impact on the region, on our credibility, on so much, was all shoved under the bus for a license for two towers (because I guess two makes it okay).

I can see some of Jacobs' point about not getting the other side's news, because this whole spin of Biden investigation is news to me. But seriously, holding an entire country hostage already invaded for dirt on someone is just not what we need as president. And that doesn't even include the praise for autocrats, dictators and our sworn enemies. I'm glad those in the state apparatus are not okay with it. He needs to go.

Tyler9000
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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by Tyler9000 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:10 pm

IlliniDave wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:57 pm
-Does running for election against an incumbent official/party give one immunity (else it's using powers of office to investigate political rivals)?
Good point. Although if this is the new rule, that at least explains why certain political retreads can't seem to let their presidential aspirations go.

Whatever you think of the man, I'm actually not convinced Trump isn't playing this issue like a fiddle. Because convincing the Democratic base that soliciting a foreign government to interfere in a presidential election is an impeachable offense is quite the accomplishment right before the FISA report by the IG is released. I don't think this story is going to end the way most people expect.

IlliniDave
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Re: China/Ukraine request

Post by IlliniDave » Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:08 pm

Tyler9000 wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:10 pm
... right before the FISA report by the IG is released. I don't think this story is going to end the way most people expect.
Seems like there's been some backpedaling by both Brennan (~ I might have acted on bad information) and Clapper (~just did what the president told me to do) in the last 24 or so hours. Dunno if either reconsideration is related to the IG report, or if Durham is closing in on something, or they're completely unrelated. Wish we could impeach and expel all of DC and start over. :lol:

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