A strong case for impeachment

The semi-transcript of Trump’s call with the President of gives very clear grounds for . Some things to note:

  • Basically the only topic Trump talks about is Biden. There’s no discussion of other topics
  • He explicitly says that the US has been very good to Ukraine, but it isn’t reciprocal (ie you owe us a favour)
  • He also talked about a server and Cloudstrike, which seem to be related to some other conspiracy theory
  • He explicitly asks the Ukrainian President to meet with his personal attorney (Giuliani) and the US Attorney General over Biden and mentions this multiple times

Only someone suffering from TDS (Trump Defender Syndrome) could think this is okay.

Imagine Jacinda Ardern asking say the PM of Fiji to investigate Simon Bridges because his brother once was on the board of a Fijian company. You’d be screaming.

The US President used his role to pressure a foreign country to investigate his main rival. He held back funding for them, to pressure them. He asked they meet his personal attorney. And even worse he said he would get the US Attorney General to call, suggesting he is directing the Justice Department to try and get his political opponents.

Politicians should not be involved in directing law enforcement on who to target, especially their rivals. The fact I even need to state this is ridiculous. It should be a taken.

It doesn’t matter what Biden’s son may have done, or even Biden himself. If they did anything wrong, then there are numerous US attorneys (appointed by Trump) who could investigate.

Nate Silver at 538 points out:

Up until now, I’ve been skeptical of the political wisdom of impeachment for Democrats, as yesterday’s post detailed.
The logic behind my this-is-bad-for-Trump guess is that the White House’s record of Trump’s conversation with Zelensky represents the bestcase scenario for Trump. And that best-case scenario is still potentially fairly bad for him. They have Trump on record as imploring a foreign leader to investigate Joe Biden, one of his most likely opponents in the 2020 general election.
The White House’s spin is that the conversation is exculpatory because it doesn’t contain a “quid pro quo” — that is, a direct and explicit threat to Zelensky or a direct and explicit promise to him — in exchange for turning the screws on Biden.

Silver points out:

the White House line presumes that the public won’t see the White House’s record of the conversation as containing a quid pro quo. But there are plenty of readings by which it does. In the conversation, Trump directly invokes the idea of “reciprocity” between the United States and Ukraine. He says “we do a lot for Ukraine …. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time.” Zelensky also discusses the purchase of Javelin missiles from the U.S. All of this comes before two fairly direct requests — Trump calls the first one a “favor” — that Trump makes of Zelensky, one concerning a cybersecurity firm called CrowdStrike and the other concerning Biden.

Silver also points out more evidence may come out of a more explicit quid pro quo through formal hearings.

If Trump is allowed to use the presidency to pressure foreign countries to investigate his rivals, then future Presidents will have little incentive not to do the same. The rule of law is something we want to apply to everyone, not just those we politically agree with.

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