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Moron's Watergate: should Trump argue that his 'quid pro quo' is not impeachable

In today’s House testimony, Philip Reeker helped fill in the story about how the Ambassador to Ukraine was unfairly removed, firming up the abuse of power argument, even if bribery and other actions were clearly evident.

(William) Taylor’s account has the ring of truth. It also seems to jive with the text messages and other evidence we’ve been allowed to learn about. Indeed, where Taylor’s account differed from the (to my mind) more suspect story told by Gordon Sondland (Trump’s ambassador to the EU), Sondland has since seemed to move in Taylor’s direction, not vice versa.

To cut to the chase, Taylor elucidates that there was a quid pro quo in the Trump administration’s conduct of relations with Kyiv. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, wanted both an Oval Office meeting (promised by President Trump in a May 2019 letter) and approximately $400 million in defense aid appropriated by Congress (which had to be transferred by September 30, the end of the U.S. government fiscal year, or it would be lost). Before delivering on these, President Trump pressured Ukraine to assist in what the diplomats referred to as the “investigations.”

Participants in the negotiations understood “investigations” to include

(a) the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation of the genesis of the Obama administration’s Trump-Russia probe;

(b) a possible inquiry into then–Vice President Joe Biden’s role as Obama’s point-man for Ukraine relations (potentially relevant to the Justice Department investigation since the Obama administration allegedly leaned on Ukraine to investigate Paul Manafort, Trump’s one-time campaign chairman); and

(c) a possible inquiry into potential corruption at Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that retained Biden’s son, Hunter, on its board — paying him lavishly at the same time as Vice President Biden was extorting Ukraine’s government to fire a prosecutor who was trying to investigate Burisma.


In theory, House Democrats could vote an article of impeachment alleging that the president abused power by leveraging his control of foreign relations for partisan political purposes — viz., to induce the Ukrainians to investigate a potential 2020 rival. Impeachment does not require proving a penal offense up to courtroom standards. It is a political act, not a legal one: the stripping of authority by the legislature, not the establishment of a crime in court.…

It’s the abuse of power, stupid. Even if it’s also bribery/extortion.
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