Okay, so it occurs to me that not everyone here fully understands why Trump was impeached or what impeachment means. So here is the run down, if you want my take:
Trump was impeached by the House Democrats for “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress.” Here are my bullet points on that.
1. “Abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” are not actual crimes. Why this matters: some criminal charge has always been an article of impeachment in the past. For example, Bill Clinton was charged with perjury, which is a crime.
2. Strictly speaking, impeachment does NOT need to involve an actual crime. But precedent suggests it ought to, and the legitimacy of impeachment can be reasonably questioned if there is no actual crime alleged.
3. Did Trump “abuse power”? This is entirely subjective. These are the facts:
Trump asked the president of Ukraine to look into two matters: Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election, and Joe Biden’s role in stopping a potential prosecution of his son Hunter in Ukraine for corruption. The 2016 issue is not greatly relevant here, though I think it shows Trump had a broad host of concerns about Ukraine beyond his alleged desire to hamstring Joe Biden politically. As for Hunter Biden, it comes down to this:
Is there an ostensibly legitimate purpose in asking a foreign head of state to cooperate with an investigation into potential corruption?
The answer is yes. There is. In a criminal trial (which this is not), the prosecutor would have to prove that this normally legitimate act was, in this particular case, carried out with criminal intent. This would mean establishing a corrupt or malicious motive on the part of Trump. The sort of evidence that might prove that would be, for instance, emails, text messages, or (as with Nixon) recordings in which this criminal intent is made clear. No such evidence exists. Nor, unfortunately, does it need to in an impeachment proceeding (the Senate trial is another matter).
It comes down to, then your estimation of Trump’s character. If you like him and think he really wanted to root out corruption in Ukraine, then no he did not abuse power. If you think he was purely and solely motivated by gaining a political advantage, then you can certainly argue that this is an abuse of power.
Of course, Democrats are not limiting themselves to the Zelensky phone call – they are relying on the witnesses they called during the impeachment inquiry. But here again we have presumption, hearsay, and innuendo – not actual evidence. Gordon Sondland admitted, repeatedly, that he was doing what he THOUGHT Trump wanted. This is not evidence.
And here again, the Constitution does not require real evidence. But we, and the members of Congress, are also free to say that our personal standard is that legally admissible evidence be produced to establish that these actually took place.
4. Did Trump “obstruct Congress”?
Here there is no real debate: no, he didn’t. He asserted executive privilege in preventing various White House officials from testifying. It is for the courts to decide whether or not those officials must testify before Congress. Rather than waiting for the courts to rule, the Democrats cooked up this ridiculous charge – because just the one, I guess, would have been insufficient. What are they going to do if the courts rule that Trump was within executive privilege? The Senate would do well to immediately dismiss that phony charge before the trial.
*Democrats announced their intent to impeach before Trump even took office. They even tried a few times, with little support. And when they were giving their melodramatic and self-righteous screeds on the House floor before the vote, they were bringing up retarded nonsense like slavery as the reason for impeachment. You can’t make this crap up.
*The Mueller probe failed – no collusion, and “maybe” obstruction, but nothing proven. No Mueller-related articles of impeachment.
*The addition of “bribery” to the potential articles of impeachment, and its abrupt removal, clearly suggests that there is no tangible evidence to charge Trump with a crime, and not for want of looking under every rock.
*I don’t think Trump is particularly concerned with corruption in Ukraine. I do believe he is deeply disturbed by the idea that Ukraine attempted to intervene in 2016 on Hillary’s behalf. I also think he heard from Giuliani and others that Biden was up to no good in Ukraine and added it to his list of concerns. I tend to agree, oddly enough, with the MSM that Joe Biden did not actually interfere into an investigation into Hunter Biden and that Trump’s request was either a) in bad faith or b) and this is far more likely, based upon a rumor that he lazily and opportunistically did not check the veracity of before bringing it up.
I don’t believe he was genuinely worried about “Sleepy Joe” as a “political rival” in 2020.
Post-script: Trump mentioned Crowdstrike in his call to Zelensky. I absolutely believe that Crowdstrike was enlisted by the DNC to “prove” that Russia hacked their servers. It didn’t have to be explicit. Crowdstrike’s reputation and profile suggests it is essentially a Western/NATO tool for anti-Russian operations. All Hillary had to do was call them up and say “I think a foreign power hacked our servers.” There’s no question that Dimitri Alperovich, the Russian ex-pat with an axe to grind with Putin, would “discover” that Russia was the culprit. They had already falsely attributed a hack (of Ukrainian artillery software) to Russia, as a matter of public and uncontested fact. They had falsely attributed hacks to China as well. To this day, only Crowdstrike has directly examined the DNC servers. What our intelligence agencies examined were “copies” provided by Crowdstrike. Not that I trust these agencies either – they are run by proven liars and war criminals and have zero credibility.
But, returning to Trump and Zelensky, Crowdstrike is not a Ukrainian firm. Alperovitch is a Russian, not a Ukrainian. But he is however a member of the Atlantic Council, which is a NATO think-tank 100% oriented towards the containment and defeat of Russia. I absolutely believe that they engaged in a conspiracy with the DNC to frame Russia for what was an internal leak.
And if you think that’s “crazy”, I’m just going to point to nearly 3 years of Mueller madness and the insane, fact-free, now-debunked conspiracy theories running around the clock on CNN and MSNBC that entire time