Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Bongo stool and table set by LEA, no date given, via.

So I didn't get my strongest possible case. Though we maybe did get the most elegant possible case, the most beautifully stripped-down, Danish moderne case.

I woke up thinking about those freshman congresscritters whose response to the Ukraine matter was the thing that seemed to be forcing Schiff's and Pelosi's hand, with their sudden eagerness for an impeachment, and how they now seemed so anxious to get it over with, as if they were regretting the impulse. Is that what it was? Had they misread their constituents in the excitement over the whistleblower, and were they finding that the voters didn't like the idea at all?

Wingnut concern troll Marc Thiessen seems to think it wasn't their idea in the first place—
Pelosi is adding to their woes by forcing them to vote to recommend the removal of a president that voters in their districts say they plan to reelect. Already, she forced them to vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry, and all but two did so. 
—but that's not how it struck me, or how it was reported at the time, when the pressure was thought to be working in the opposite direction, with
Pelosi... coming under increasing pressure to embrace impeachment as a growing number of freshman Democrats in swing districts rethink their stance after Trump’s alleged attempt to pressure Ukrainian officials in an an effort to tarnish the former vice president, the frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic nomination. (Politico, 23 September)
But what did they think they were going to accomplish with impeachment in the first place that they maybe don't think they're going to accomplish now? And if they still want it, why does it need to be done so fast? It feels as if the process is being driven by the people with the least understanding of what it is they're up to.

Jennifer Rubin is enthusiastic about the narrow approach; for one reason,
because the articles are not based on the Mueller report, Republicans will be hard-pressed to claim this is a two-year plot to impeach Trump. In fact, the Democrats effectively can say that they acted with forbearance in not pursuing impeachment based solely on the Mueller report; the straw that broke the camel’s back was the Ukraine incident. 
That's just backwards. It's the opposite: it encourages Republicans to claim that the aim was always to impeach first, on any pretext we could think of, in their serial version of the spaghetti-on-the-wall hypothesis (where we stop to see whether the current strand of spaghetti has stuck before flinging the next one): this was a constant in the hearing yesterday, as in Doug Collins's introductory remarks'
Today what we were supposed to get was like a lot of my friends on the majority of this committee said, Mueller, when we got the Mueller Report, it didn’t go real well, so we had a lot of hearings. Didn’t go real well. Then we finally got Bob Mueller and they said, this is going to be the movie version. In fact, what happened, they did. My colleagues on the majority had a live readings from Capitol Hill. They made dramatic broadcasts. They even wrote a comic book rendition that breathed life into the Mueller report and it didn’t work. So they brought Bob Mueller. This was the movie version. They told us. Robert Mueller’s testimony would be the thing that people watched and would be convinced. Guess what? They wasn’t convinced. In fact, it fell flat. But you know today I guess is the movie version of the Schiff report... (transcription with robot errors by Rev)
What I worry about most is that the narrow approach can make it look like all that other stuff wasn't even real, or why did we give up on it? That the only thing Trump demonstrably did wrong was this exotic maneuver with the Ukrainian government, and for what? To give a push in Ukraine to a calumny of Biden that already exists in the US? That's it? Is that really a thing? And since some Ukrainian dude in 2016 wrote an op-ed opposing Trump and some other Ukrainian dude revealed a Democratic party associate, Alexandra Chalupa, that Trump's campaign manager was a criminal (it was Paul Manafort, and he was most definitely a criminal, but this is what the Republican allegation of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election now boils down to, with the totally fictional material mostly deleted), aren't they all just the same?

The most reassuring thing comes from Intelligence Committee counsel Daniel Goldman and his insistence that
President Trump’s persistent and continuing effort to coerce a foreign country to help him cheat to win an election is a clear and present danger to our free and fair elections and to our national security.
Emphasizing that he has asked for it before (barely referenced in the language of Article I, "These actions were consistent with President Trump’s previous invitations of foreign interference in United States elections"), and welcomed it when it came, and seems to be interested in doing it again ("President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat"). Which explains why it needs to be done fast:
Nadler said: “To the members of this committee, to the members of the House, and to my fellow citizens, I want to be absolutely clear: the integrity of our next election is at stake.
“Nothing could be more urgent,” he added.
That's a reason. The 2016 election was stolen, and even if we can't prove Trump stole it he says all the time that he approves of stealing it. If we can all continue to stress the urgency of the situation, the openness of that barn door, maybe we can keep the political part of the thing alive as the other parts (like those financial records) continue to emerge.

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