Author Topic: Ukraine  (Read 38266 times)

Seriati

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #200 on: October 02, 2019, 10:30:45 PM »
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The House staff member, following the committee’s procedures, suggested the officer find a lawyer to advise him and meet with an inspector general, with whom he could file a whistle-blower complaint.

Lol, Shiff's staffer recommended he meet with a lawyer, probably recommended the DNC connected lawyers that drafted the complaint that was filed.  Lol.

Watch what Shiff says when you see him speak, he's got the trick of being specific in true to the point that he implies a lie. He'll say "we didn't do something" and mean the committee including the Republicans, knowing full well that the Dems on the committee in fact did it.  He'll say he "saw" no part of a report while he was in a room where it was being drafted but only participating orally.  You have to look at exactly the words he uses.  Saw it all the time when he was talking about Mueller.

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While House Intelligence Committee members are allowed to receive classified whistle-blower complaints, they are not allowed to make such complaints public, according to a former official. A complaint forwarded to the committee by the inspector general gives it more latitude over what it can publicize.

Called it.  Couldn't make it public or leak it unless it was sent by the IG.  When it wasn't sent, they triggered the leak to the WaPo.  Lol. 
« Last Edit: October 02, 2019, 10:34:22 PM by Seriati »

yossarian22c

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #201 on: October 03, 2019, 10:35:57 AM »
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/hunter-bidens-legal-socially-acceptable-corruption/598804/

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How did dealing in influence to burnish the fortunes of repugnant world leaders for large payoffs become a business model? How could America’s leading lights convince themselves—and us—that this is acceptable?

This article makes strikes a nice balance. What the Biden's did was wrong/unethical, if almost certainly legal, and what Trump did is pretty horrible too.

TheDrake

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #202 on: October 03, 2019, 01:01:48 PM »
If an IG report gets quashed, it kind of seems like civic duty to leak that fact to the press.

yossarian22c

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #203 on: October 03, 2019, 01:10:53 PM »
And Trump just publicly asked China and Ukraine to investigate the Biden's. WTF is wrong with the justice department that they can't investigate the corruption themselves?

My interpretation of all of this is the following.
No laws were broken and Trump knows it, but it looks bad and Trump thinks may be able to coerce another nation to investigate and bring some bogus charges.

That said I agree with the Atlantic article that the behavior by the Biden's is corrosive as hell to democracy and we need a real way to address it.




rightleft22

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #204 on: October 03, 2019, 03:52:29 PM »

If not illegal isn’t the Administration setting a bad precedence?
I’m assuming there are channels available for the President to pursue an investigation that don’t involve directly seeing the help of a foreign leader in the manner Trump did?

Personally, I’ve been hoping Biden step down as I don’t believe he could beat Trump so please investigate. 

That said anyone who doesn’t feel troubled by Trump’s methods and what appears to be the Administration attempt to cover-up... are undermining the ground they say they are standing on. 

One reason I want Trump to lose is so I can watch everyone do a 180 on what they are offended by and willing to defend and attack. 


cherrypoptart

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #205 on: October 03, 2019, 06:18:13 PM »
"One reason I want Trump to lose is so I can watch everyone do a 180 on what they are offended by and willing to defend and attack.  One reason I want Trump to lose is so I can watch everyone do a 180 on what they are offended by and willing to defend and attack." 

Examples of this might be interesting as a thread topic.

scifibum

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #206 on: October 03, 2019, 10:05:12 PM »
Trump IS corruption. His own daughter, working in the White House, has gotten favors from the Chinese government. Anyone who thinks he's concerned about corruption is living in a fantasy world.

I can't believe so many people are willing to bend their standards to ANYTHING this president does.

scifibum

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #207 on: October 03, 2019, 10:25:53 PM »
Republicans: We have SERIOUS CONCERNS about minutiae of the whistle blowing process. So serious, in fact, that we are prepared to refuse to consider the contents of the complaint.

Also Republicans: It's sensible, even laudable, to have Giuliani conducting foreign policy with Ukraine instead of using normal diplomatic and law enforcement mechanisms, as established under treaty.

ScottF

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #208 on: October 04, 2019, 09:57:19 AM »
I can't believe so many people are willing to bend their standards to ANYTHING this president does.

That's why he's going to win again. The left simply can't fathom why so many would hold their nose in favor of the transparently crude over the covertly slimy, posing as virtuous.

boor > worm

Seriati

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #209 on: October 04, 2019, 10:01:17 AM »
If an IG report gets quashed, it kind of seems like civic duty to leak that fact to the press.

Did it get quashed?  It was simultaneously being investigated by the CIA, the DOJ and the normal IG process, including notifying the committees that it had been filed.  The GC determined both that it was not an urgent concern and that it was not about a member of the Intelligence Community (either fact not being true eliminate it from being required to be reported to the Intelligence Committees).  If it's not required to be reported to the committees it could still involve criminal conduct, the DOJ reviewed it and found there was no crimes involved.  Pretty much not "quashed," just defective, and pretty much openly being dealt with including in the committee's knowledge (as the existence of the complaint was notified by the administration to the committees, even though it now turns out the Democrats on the committee knew before the administration or even the IG, but not before CIA management - interesting).

And does it justify leaking it to the press?  If you believe it was falsely quashed the statute authorizes the direct transmission to the committees.  Why not do that?  That would be your civic duty.  Oh yeah, it does not go public in that circumstance, the ability to make parts of it public only come after the IG sends it not the leaker.  Since the strategy REQUIRED it go public, it leaks instead of the going to the committee.  Interesting choice for the "honorable" leaker, who's pursuing their "civic duty," especially given that we know for a fact the leaker was in contact with the committee, which means there is no chance they did not know they could send it in that circumstance and that the leak to the press is likely prosecutable.

And what do you make of Shiff colluding with Democrats on and off the committee to prepare the way for the impeachment while not notifying the Republican members of the committee about the complaint?  The charge is to the committee not to it's Chairman and his party's political needs.  It's interesting that you think the complaint was "quashed" but are silent about that breach, or that it's a "crime" for Trump to investigate a crime (which is technically his Constitutional duty) as he could benefit from it politically, but not a crime where Biden did benefit personally from the exercise of official power (apparently because you believe that the "alternative" explanation for his actions should be respected in one case without regard to the benefit, and completely ignored in the other), or where the Chair of a House committee ignores his duty to the committee, breaches committee confidentiality to share confidential information with his caucus all for the political benefit of his party (with no reasonable, or even plausible, non-political explanation).

I've asked this many times.  What exactly is the objective rule that you are applying?

Seriati

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #210 on: October 04, 2019, 10:09:12 AM »
And Trump just publicly asked China and Ukraine to investigate the Biden's. WTF is wrong with the justice department that they can't investigate the corruption themselves?

Cause everyone knows this should be done secretly as the Obama admin did?  When they expressly asked the Ukrainian govenment for dirt on Trump's campaign manager, Manafort?  When they met with Ukranian officials during the election to get the dirt?  And that investigating anything about that is itself just a criminal act of Trump?

Lol.  There's a reasonable suspicion of a crime by one or both Bidens.  There's no probable cause.  However, reasonable suspicion is enough to investigate.  We've had investigation treaties in place with most countries in the world for decades (or longer).  With what's in the public knowledge, the DOJ doesn't have the power to subpeona (would need probably cause for that), nor the power to investigate in the countries where the crimes would have happened, ergo the treaties.

Is the thought hear that politicians and their children are immune to being called to account for crimes they did abroad?  I've seen alot of people upset about Presidential immunity, notwithstanding that the President was extensively investigated - in an investigation launched by his political opponents that included spying on his campaign, and yet you seem to be asserting some kind of absolute immunity for investigations into Presidential candidates (for Democrats only) that would prohibit not only prosecuting them but even investigating them (or their families) where there is a prima facie fact pattern that demonstrates potential crimes.  Walk me through it?

Seriati

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #211 on: October 04, 2019, 10:39:27 AM »
In fact, I would point out that fact that no where does the whistle-blower specify which part of the CFR or USC that the POTUS violated as proof that it was not complied by a group of activist lawyers, unless they were incompetent or didn't care about the content.  The only reference to the USC in the memo is a reference to the procedures governing whistle-blowing within the intel community.  Hence, they showed what THEY were doing was LEGAL, not what they were reporting was ILLEGAL.  That's a pretty big hole, in my opinion, that a group of lawyers would not have missed.

They didn't miss it, it just doesn't exist because the call wasn't illegal.  This was drafted by activist lawyers as an "impeachment" roadmap not as a prosecution document.  Just like I called - at the time - that Mueller's raid on Cohen and seizure of his files entitled to attorney client privilege meant one of two things (it either wasn't about Trump, or they never intended a trial and it was all about leaking privileged materials to a Congressional impeachment proceeding) this isn't drafted to demonstrate a crime.  It's drafted to generate political outrage, where the leaker and the activist lawyers thought Trump's only defense would be to cover it up and assert executive privilege.   If he'd done that, then the "leaked" complaint would be the only text out there and it includes material things that were never in the call.  And they would have declared him guilty of obstruction of justice.  Heck that was clearly the plan, they've gone forward with it on their demand letters to members of the administration, notwithstanding that it's no longer obvious from the way this played out (it's like watching a military commander who sticks to the plan even after contact with the enemy mooted part of it).

I'm incredibly struck that we - as Americans - have lived our whole lives believing that we have freedom from unreasonable searches (ie no warrants without probable cause), right to remain silent, right to counsel, right to due process (ie the process has to be fair), right to confront accusers, and that NONE OF THAT has been applied to any part of the Special Counsel's investigation or now to the "impeachment" investigation. 

Do you believe we have rights or not?

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purports to be unclassified (notwithstanding that it reveals information that is presumptively classified)

It clearly states that without the enclosures, the whistle-blower believes the memo itself is unclassified.  If it did contain classified information, the IG shouldn't have released it.

And?  Since when is a whistle-blower entitled to set classification?  Not to mention, the statute itself expressly sets how the complaint may be filed and shared.

Relying on the self-serving statement of the whistle-blower is as bad as believing Comey when he said his memos were unclassified (the IG flat out said he was wrong and that they were government property, yet the DOJ chose not to prosecute - and I note, notwithstanding Comey's testimony to Congress that the memo's were his personal recollection and that his discomfort with the talks with Trump are what inspired him to write him, we now know that not only was the memo pre-planned, it was pre-planned in consultation with other officials and shared with them - in other words, drafted as a government document and not reactionary).

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and was absolutely and clearly compiled using the resources of the US government, at a minimum by inappropriate access to State department files, but more likely intelligence files.

The question of access depends on the level of clearance the whistle-blower had.  I don't know who they are.  Do you, Serati?

Don't have to, they clearly tried to access the transcript of the President's call and from their own claims of multiple officials confirming "parts" of their allegations imply they had multiple conversations that violated the confidentiality restrictions that apply to sensitive material.  It also seems obvious to me, that they researched events using government (internal) systems and tried to access explanations and documents that were not within their mandate (like going looking for the transcript of the speech).  It's interesting that they knew the speech was moved to the secure server, and that "others" had moved as well, but declined to mention that this was now standard practice specifically because of intentional and politically malicious leaks of such transcripts from the original server.

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And even if there were a conspiracy, does it change the content of the memo and concerns expressed within?  If the "Deep State" were responsible for the memo, would it change the validity of their claims?

Yes it would change it materially.  There's no whistleblower protection afforded to individuals over disagreements of policy.  And it would be evidence of a coup or criminal coordination if senior staff assisting in the drafting of a whistleblower complaint that misused government resources, breached classification rules and violated legal confidentiality requirements to compile. 

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In fact reading it again, this document seems designed to try and criminalize the investigation of what appears to have been a deep state plot to use the Ukranian government to influence the 2016 election.

More conspiracies.  Who was behind this "deep state plot"?  Is this a Q Anon thing?  That's what it sounds like.

It's just a fact that the Obama admin sought and received information from the Ukraine connected to Manafort.  There's an allegation that the information they received was falsified - it apparently didn't match with the actual transaction records obtained through subpeonas of the banking system.  And it's an investigatable assertion that they pressured the Ukraine to produce it knowing it was false.

We now know for a fact that multiple members of the senior DOJ and FBI engaged in a coordinated anti-Trump effort, whether you believe it was justified is irrelevant, it's just a fact it occurred.  We know for a fact that senior intelligence staff, including the head of the CIA also participated in that effort.

We have evidence that suggests that the predicate for the investigation - which honestly appears to just be a conversation Papadopoulous had - involved multiple "friendly" spy agencies, and very likely could have been a set up.  We have a British agent directly involved in sparking that investigation by passing along Russian propaganda.  We have wiretaps and spying authorized on the opposition party's Presidential campaign during the election based on FISA warrants that seem to have been baseless, and the spying that was conducted excessively overbroad.  We have no defensive briefing whatsoever.  We have rampant and wide spread "unmasking" of US persons in those spying accounts (which themselves, notwithstanding that information on US persons through FISA rather than legal proceedings should be maximally protected) somehow ending up at very low classification levels and even leaked.

No where in any of this was Trump and his campaign treated like American citizens with rights.  But sure Trump is the problem for trying to get to the bottom of it, and there's no "deep state" involved in the constant leaking and abuse of process.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 10:41:47 AM by Seriati »

rightleft22

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #212 on: October 04, 2019, 10:41:13 AM »
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However, reasonable suspicion is enough to investigate.

180 number one? Definition of reasonable suspicion is in the eye of the beholder? :)

Trump said he has a right to ask other nations to investigate people. Does he? And if he does I suppose the what-about Obama question goes away. Though Obama investigation was against Russia in which Trump's name came up and not wanting to influence the election kept what he learned quite. But ok same thing.


If Trump has a right to ask other nations to investigate has he ever asked for investigation of non political rivals?


yossarian22c

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #213 on: October 04, 2019, 10:41:22 AM »
Lol.  There's a reasonable suspicion of a crime by one or both Bidens.  There's no probable cause.  However, reasonable suspicion is enough to investigate.  We've had investigation treaties in place with most countries in the world for decades (or longer).  With what's in the public knowledge, the DOJ doesn't have the power to subpeona (would need probably cause for that), nor the power to investigate in the countries where the crimes would have happened, ergo the treaties.

If Joe used his position as VP in a corrupt way that is a crime in the USA and should be investigated here. The investigators may request help from the Ukrainians but that is a far cry from the president bypassing the US system and pressuring foreign governments to do the investigations on their own.

Since we're so worried about the children of leaders getting cushy gigs on foreign soil can we investigate every deal the Trump kids have cut in the past 3 years? I'm sure we can find something that looks as bad, I would bet money on worse, as what the Biden's did.

Here's the thing, I doubt that either family actually committed a crime in this arena. I'm more confident that the Biden's didn't but that's just because I think they surround themselves with better lawyers who would make sure their actions were legal if immoral.

Seriati

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #214 on: October 04, 2019, 10:56:00 AM »
Sure, by most accounts Trump's businesses are in fact suffering, not profiting, as a result of his Presidency.  Should be a no brainer if you consider that he makes most of his money from his brand, from luxury properties in blue states and golf courses some of which are in blue states.  Here's a link to a Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/chasewithorn/2019/08/14/no-trump-is-not-losing-3-to-5-billion-from-presidency/#6180012a4a2d.  Where they are "debunking" that Trump  is losing $3-5 billion by pointing out he's "only" lost $1.4 billion and on $200 million of that is attributable to his Presidency.  Of course they are ignoring future value, which he very likely is not.

So losing $1.4 billion, versus signing sweetheart deals in China and Ukraine (by the way, apparently the only two countries that Joe Biden was directly spearheading).  Please do investigate, I welcome any impartial and fair investigation that treats everyone the same.

Seriati

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #215 on: October 04, 2019, 11:16:52 AM »
Very confused

What I learned that if I'm the president and want do something that crosses a line.
I can do it and get away with it if I can get some one in the news media to make a parody of it, confuse the facts and then use that to explain why it never happened.

I'm not saying that's what's happened here. However its clear to me that going forward holding any President accountable is never going to happen. Just way to easy to confuse things.

Or you know, you could actually establish a President doing something illegal and then investigate.  To write what you did above, you have to completely ignore going on three years of an impeachment searching for a cause because, "everyone knows Trump is guilty."  Honestly, the first article I saw calling for his impeachment was filed one minute after the inaugeration (there were some before that too that somehow wanted to impeach him as President-elect).

So what you've seen is if there is an impeachment in waiting searching for any basis that the party behind thinks they can get the voting public behind, then no matter what the President does - whether completely legal or not - it'll be characterized as "illegal" or not required to be illegal because impeachment only requires it be bad.  When it doesn't turn out to be that bad, then you spin spin and spin again, including like for example by producing a parody that falsifies what happened in a formal televised  Congressional hearing (and did you just catch Pelosi going on tv and stating that Shiff used Trump's own words, which is a flat out lie).

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It was not unreasonable for the house to want to see the whistle blowers report and the recording of the call. they should have been able to do so behind close doors and before it hit the news.

Actually that's an interesting question.  Why do you think they should "see it" where it doesn't comply with the law?  The DOJ is actually the governmental body that's charged with investigating violations of law not the House.  The house sees certain whistle blower concerns that meat a proscribed list of requirements enacted into law solely as an oversight function.  In this case, the intent is put more eyes on intelligence work (ie spying) because of it's history of manipulation and abuse.  What part of a President's call with a foreign leader is "intelligence work" or in any way connected thereto?

But moreover, even after you ignore the gross legal defect because the intent is to "get this to Congress" no matter how in correctly, you still have to ignore that the House had no intent to see this behind closed doors.  That was always an option, but it didn't serve their ONLY GOAL, which is to influence the public to support them in an impeachment without a basis.  Cause they are right about one thing, they can ignore their actual Constitutional duty and impeach without a basis, but it will only fly if the public gets behind the witch trial.

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I can't help but wonder if the administration orchestrated the chain of events to force the Dem's to be forceful in getting the information, making it look more suspicions then it may be and get them to play into the game. It would not surprise me at all.

There's clear evidence of orchestration but it isn't by the administration.  Especially given that they actually followed process and notified Congress of the complaint and that they were withholding the details BECAUSE they didn't meet the conditions for release (by the way, I don't see any way -under the actual law- to dispute that).

NobleHunter

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #216 on: October 04, 2019, 11:21:37 AM »
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you could actually establish a President doing something illegal and then investigate

And how, pray tell, could you establish such a thing without investigating?

Seriati

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #217 on: October 04, 2019, 11:46:02 AM »
Generally one starts with evidence of a crime.  How do you think the police do it today?

NobleHunter

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #218 on: October 04, 2019, 12:03:54 PM »
Evidence of a crime doesn't establish that a specific person has done something illegal.

TheDeamon

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #219 on: October 04, 2019, 12:14:29 PM »
So what you've seen is if there is an impeachment in waiting searching for any basis that the party behind thinks they can get the voting public behind, then no matter what the President does - whether completely legal or not - it'll be characterized as "illegal" or not required to be illegal because impeachment only requires it be bad.  When it doesn't turn out to be that bad, then you spin spin and spin again, including like for example by producing a parody that falsifies what happened in a formal televised  Congressional hearing (and did you just catch Pelosi going on tv and stating that Shiff used Trump's own words, which is a flat out lie).

This coming year is going to be interesting to see play out. The Democrats have fallen prey to both "the Liberal bubble" and the National Polling meta, which after 2016 they should realize is not a reliable metric to be gauging things by. They're potentially setting themselves up for a repeat of 2016 again, or an even worse outcome(from their PoV) if they continue down this road, "because the polling numbers look good."

Short form, they're pursuing things that play out very well in districts/states with substantial "Liberal bubble" populations, which is only a handful of states. For the rest of "flyover country" what they're doing is more likely to trigger "a pox on both houses" response from voters. And Trump seems to be a made to order form of political pox.

The political theater underway plays well to the Democratic Activist base, but as this grinds on, it's going to sour on the Democrats and unless they actually find something truly substantial(Which nothing to date qualifies), they're going to see 2016 play out all over again. Their candidate will poll well in the expected democratic stronghold states of California, New York, and Illinois plus a few others(which will make the National numbers look good), but their numbers are going to be anemic in comparison to the Conservative/Moderate response in the rest of the country.

They may not like Trump, but they're NOT going to stand by and "let the Democrats get undisputed control of the country" either. Not with the five ring circus show they've turned things into during their quest to get Trump.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 12:18:26 PM by TheDeamon »

TheDrake

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #220 on: October 04, 2019, 12:17:53 PM »
Or you know, you could actually establish a President doing something illegal and then investigate.

That comment is illucid. You can't establish someone doing something illegal without investigating first.

TheDeamon

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #221 on: October 04, 2019, 12:19:13 PM »
Or you know, you could actually establish a President doing something illegal and then investigate.

That comment is illucid. You can't establish someone doing something illegal without investigating first.

Amazing. It's a wonder the American Criminal Justice System managed to function between the 1780's and today.

rightleft22

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #222 on: October 04, 2019, 12:31:21 PM »

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Sure, by most accounts Trump's businesses are in fact suffering, not profiting, as a result of his Presidency.
Maybe if he released his tax returns we would have a better picture of this?
 

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Generally one starts with evidence of a crime.  How do you think the police do it today?
The remains how reasonable suspicion is being defined, how much smoke is required before we get to check it out?
Based on how I read most of your comments you set the Bar high for Trump and low for Biden?

Questions.
If Biden is guilty does that exonerate Trump?
Is President asking another government to investigate a political rival breaking the law.
Is the hint of smoke from the transcript of a quid pro quo wink wink enough for a investigation? Are you being honest with yourself. If Obama had made the same call would you demand a investigation?

Morally and ethically how do you feel about what Trump said he did?

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Or you know, you could actually establish a President doing something illegal and then investigate

My comment you referred to was about how we were undermining the foundations we say we are standing on.
Trumps go to preemptive/counter punch strategy is effective. It very much confuses things as everyone gets to choose what mud stinking on the wall to point to. Essentially its don't look at me look over their.

The problem "to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail". Trump attacks everything the same way and its should be understandable that some people see this as smoke to be investigate. Trump would be much more effective if he learned that not every *&^% thing is a (*&^ nail

TheDrake

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #223 on: October 04, 2019, 12:36:46 PM »
It is reasonable to be suspicious when a foreign leader talks about how much he loves staying at the hotel your leader owns, and there's so much more than that to investigate. It is reasonable to be suspicious when someone reports that Trump wanted to fire Sessions. Especially when that someone is Trump himself when he tweeted about how he never would have appointed him if he knew he wouldn't protect him from investigation.

The man excretes shadiness at all times, and you don't think there's any basis for investigating him?

Wayward Son

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #224 on: October 04, 2019, 12:41:02 PM »
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Generally one starts with evidence of a crime.  How do you think the police do it today?

It really comes down to what is considered "evidence."

Is a whistleblower's report evidence?  Something that someone witnessed?  Something that someone heard someone else say?  Something that was reported?

How about suspicious activity?  Can police question someone (aka investigate) based on suspicious actions?  What constitutes "suspicious?"

It seems pretty obvious to me that the current investigation based on the whistleblower's complaint is based on "evidence."  So it all pretty moot to me.

Fenring

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #225 on: October 04, 2019, 12:47:19 PM »
It is reasonable to be suspicious when a foreign leader talks about how much he loves staying at the hotel your leader owns, and there's so much more than that to investigate.

This is almost as weird to me as the notion that Trump asking for Zelenskyy's help with some stuff is equivalent to extortion. Are you saying that Trump is so hard-up for cash that the bill from a hotel stay is enough to constitute a bribe? Why would you not interpret this comment in the most natural and obvious way, which is that Zelenskyy was praising Trump and saying how wonderful his hotel is?

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The man excretes shadiness at all times, and you don't think there's any basis for investigating him?

I think Seriati's general point above is that it's unconstitutional to investigate people just because they give off shady vibes. Hey let's face it, anyone in real estate could probably have stuff turn up if they were investigated. Does that mean it should be legal to open up investigations into anyone in real estate just on principle? Or how about politicians? That has to be *way* more suspicious on the face of it than being in real estate, in terms of what muck you're probably wading in. So anyone in politics should be automatically open to investigation because "they're probably doing something wrong"? And actually I don't even know if I have a problem with that, so long as it's consistent and not just to be used on people you don't like.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 12:54:22 PM by Fenring »

TheDrake

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #226 on: October 04, 2019, 12:48:15 PM »
stating that Shiff used Trump's own words, which is a flat out lie).

Schiff. The name is Schiff, not Shiff or whatever Trump has been tweeting lately. I normally don't bother with casual misspellings, but this has become chronic for you, Seriati.

Fenring

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #227 on: October 04, 2019, 12:53:20 PM »
Is a whistleblower's report evidence?  Something that someone witnessed?  Something that someone heard someone else say?  Something that was reported?

Isn't hearsay literally not evidence? Doesn't the whistleblower report outright say that the author of it did not personally witness the events in question, but only heard others say they heard it?

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It seems pretty obvious to me that the current investigation based on the whistleblower's complaint is based on "evidence."  So it all pretty moot to me.

If by "evidence" you mean "something has spurred on our suspicion" then of course the answer is yes; the report itself spurs on suspicion. But the issue is whether it's based on evidence of a crime, and for that there needs to be an actual crime and evidence that links it to the person being investigated, doesn't it? So what's the crime?

Just for example, in the memorandum it shows Trump asking for some favors after a discussion about Javelin missiles. Some have interpreted that as Trump implying that the favors are the price of the missiles, some that he was just moving on to the next point since the missiles were a given anyhow (i.e. that it was Zelenskyy complying with the U.S.). Maybe both are plausible, but the notion that you *could* interpret it as a quid pro quo is not "evidence" of a crime. Otherwise you could take transcripts from anything, suggest 'possible implications' of things not actually said, and then make up crimes that could be inferred from those implications. It sounds like a huge kafkatrap to me. I'm not even saying it's impossible that Trump really did intend it as extortion, but if the only evidence is "he might have meant that when he talked of favors" that's not evidence, it's just conjecture.

TheDrake

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #228 on: October 04, 2019, 12:53:26 PM »
I think Seriati's general point above is that it's unconstitutional to investigate people just because they give off shady vibes. Hey let's face it, anyone in real estate could probably have stuff turn up if they were investigates. Does that mean it should be legal to open up investigations into anyone in real estate just on principle? Or how about politicians? That has to be *way* more suspicious on the face of it than being in real estate, in terms of what muck you're probably wading in. So anyone in politics should be automatically open to investigation because "they're probably doing something wrong"? And actually I don't even know if I have a problem with that, so long as it's consistent and not just to be used on people you don't like.

This isn't pizzagate or Obama's birth certificate.

If you are President you simply should not own a business of any kind. Particularly one that your kids still have active control of. Then there isn't any reason to talk about how great your hotel is, because it isn't yours anymore. It's not about the amount. Just like shoplifting is stealing, even if it is just a candy bar. It is still illegal, even if you are a millionaire and could buy the candy anyway.

I understand that people will look at speaking fees and charitable contributions and say "hey, that looks pretty corrupt too". But that is the way things are done. Covert, so at least we can maintain a pretense that officials are not corrupt.

scifibum

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #229 on: October 04, 2019, 01:17:30 PM »
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Isn't hearsay literally not evidence? Doesn't the whistleblower report outright say that the author of it did not personally witness the events in question, but only heard others say they heard it?

No to both questions.

Hearsay is evidence and is used to start investigations and obtain warrants and even indictments all the time. It can't be used in court, generally, as proof of the truth of the statement, but there are exceptions where it can even be used in a trial. "Hearsay" is a deliberate distraction, and is not a valid objection to investigating.

The WB complaint indicated BOTH secondhand and firsthand information, and the ICIG found both claims credible.

"So what's the crime?"

Come on. You have to know that "High crimes and misdemeanors" was never supposed to map to the criminal code. The "high crime and/or misdemeanor" is, at least:
1) Conducting foreign policy for personal benefit
2) Soliciting interference from a foreign country in our domestic politics
3) Obstructing and interfering with Congressional oversight

There may be conduct that DOES map to the criminal code, but there doesn't have to be.

By the way, Volker's document production included a lot of text messages that corroborate some of the whistleblower's allegations. If you haven't read those text messages you might be in danger of making misinformed claims about the nature of the conduct and the validity of the WB report. That's the FIRST GUY that cooperated with the investigation, and there's already corroboration. Not to mention Giuliani has helpfully been making public statements that also corroborate the allegations.


Yet we'll continue to see people arguing that there's no evidence, no real justification for an investigation. Because they wrote the story in their minds long ago and the evidence before their eyes doesn't matter.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 01:20:15 PM by scifibum »

scifibum

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #230 on: October 04, 2019, 01:23:38 PM »
I can't believe so many people are willing to bend their standards to ANYTHING this president does.

That's why he's going to win again. The left simply can't fathom why so many would hold their nose in favor of the transparently crude over the covertly slimy, posing as virtuous.

boor > worm

You're summing this up as "crude"? It makes you look pretty misinformed.

fizz

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #231 on: October 04, 2019, 01:25:46 PM »
...
I think Seriati's general point above is that it's unconstitutional to investigate people just because they give off shady vibes. Hey let's face it, anyone in real estate could probably have stuff turn up if they were investigated. Does that mean it should be legal to open up investigations into anyone in real estate just on principle? Or how about politicians? That has to be *way* more suspicious on the face of it than being in real estate, in terms of what muck you're probably wading in. So anyone in politics should be automatically open to investigation because "they're probably doing something wrong"? And actually I don't even know if I have a problem with that, so long as it's consistent and not just to be used on people you don't like.

I think we should not apply the criminal standard to an impeachment process: how this (http://lawsandsausagescomic.com/comic/301) useful didactic webcomic point out, impeachment is by definition political, an exclusive power of congress, and being subject to it a straight consequence of having government role, by design by your own founding fathers.
The criminal part may or may not follow, but that's a side point.

And even if criminal standards were applicable, as a standard for investigation, a denounce is usually quite enough as probable cause for investigation. Even an anonymous denounce, I'm told, according to your own supreme court.
Of course the case was about a mexican truck driver, not a politician... if anything, powerful people are usually much more shielded from a random denounce having a follow up compared to the average citizen.



TheDrake

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #232 on: October 04, 2019, 01:42:37 PM »
Some people think Trump shouldn't be investigated, and yet applaud him for pardoning Arpaio who investigated people on the basis of having brown skin and speaking Spanish. I wonder how they reconcile that.

rightleft22

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #233 on: October 04, 2019, 01:44:55 PM »
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I think Seriati's general point above is that it's unconstitutional to investigate people just because they give off shady vibes

On persons shady vibes is another persons smoking gun. Proved on this forum time and time again.

The same argument defending Trump that no investigation on anything should have ever been started can be applied to Biden.
The same argument to start a investigation into Trump can be applied to Biden.

We have nowhere to stand.

This case isn't about Biden. We must be careful that aren't permitting the breaking the law as a justification in the pursuit of 'justice'.

Question: Does a president have the right (law on his side) to ask foreign powers to investigate political rivals for political gain.
If no. We have a problem = investigate
If yes. let it go

Question. Does a president have the right to withhold funds for a quid pro quo?
If no. If their is smoke requires investigation.
If yes. Let it go.



Wayward Son

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #234 on: October 04, 2019, 01:46:20 PM »
Is a whistleblower's report evidence?  Something that someone witnessed?  Something that someone heard someone else say?  Something that was reported?

Isn't hearsay literally not evidence?

The answer is no.  Hearsay is a type of evidence.  As FindLaw discusses:

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Hearsay is defined as an out-of-court statement, made in court, to prove the truth of the matter asserted. These out-of-court statements do not have to be spoken words, but they can also constitute documents or even body language. The rule against hearsay was designed to prevent gossip from being offered to convict someone...

Hearsay evidence is not admissible in court unless a statue or rule provides otherwise. Therefore, even if a statement is really hearsay, it may still be admissible if an exception applies. The Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE) contains nearly thirty of these exceptions to providing hearsay evidence.
(Emphasis mine.)

Courts rightfully excluded hearsay evidence to prove that something is true or not.  However, this does not mean it is not "evidence," shown by the fact that there are multiple exceptions to the rule.  And for purposes of an investigation, in order to gather evidence that may prove or disprove someone's guilt, I believe it is certainly considered evidence for further investigation.  Otherwise, any report given to a police officer would be considered "hearsay" if the officer reports it to someone else. ;)

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Doesn't the whistleblower report outright say that the author of it did not personally witness the events in question, but only heard others say they heard it?

As I have heard from multiple sources, and as the report says, the answer is also no.  The whistleblower stated that he was "not a direct witness to most of the events described."  However, this means that he was a witness to some of them.

And, by statute, even not being a witness (hearsay) was sufficient for him to file the report.

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It seems pretty obvious to me that the current investigation based on the whistleblower's complaint is based on "evidence."  So it all pretty moot to me.

If by "evidence" you mean "something has spurred on our suspicion" then of course the answer is yes; the report itself spurs on suspicion. But the issue is whether it's based on evidence of a crime, and for that there needs to be an actual crime and evidence that links it to the person being investigated, doesn't it? So what's the crime?

Isn't it using the office of the President to solicit valuable aid from a foreign government for his political campaign?  As I recall, accepting money or anything of value from a foreigner person or government is considered a crime.

Also remember that impeachment does not require an actual "crime" in the normal sense, but includes "high crimes and misdemeanors" which is more expansive than what is covered by criminal statutes.

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Just for example, in the memorandum it shows Trump asking for some favors after a discussion about Javelin missiles. Some have interpreted that as Trump implying that the favors are the price of the missiles, some that he was just moving on to the next point since the missiles were a given anyhow (i.e. that it was Zelenskyy complying with the U.S.). Maybe both are plausible, but the notion that you *could* interpret it as a quid pro quo is not "evidence" of a crime. Otherwise you could take transcripts from anything, suggest 'possible implications' of things not actually said, and then make up crimes that could be inferred from those implications. It sounds like a huge kafkatrap to me. I'm not even saying it's impossible that Trump really did intend it as extortion, but if the only evidence is "he might have meant that when he talked of favors" that's not evidence, it's just conjecture.

Conjecture, like a guy sneaking around a neighborhood at night.  But enough for the police to investigate.

And then when they find out the guy is carrying valuable jewels in his pocket--or a diplomat sends a text message that says "I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign"--then it is worth further investigation, right?  Just to make sure those are really the guy's jewels, or that the President really did not imply that assistance was dependent on finding (or making up) dirt on the President's likely rival in the next election.

The nice thing about investigations is that, if no further evidence is found, or if the evidence found is weak, then you can drop it.  But if the investigation brings up more, or even better, evidence, then it's kind of a weak argument that the better evidence should be ignored because the initial evidence was weak, or even inadmissible in court.  That's known as letting the criminal get away on a technicality, something that a lot of people have thought to be an injustice for quite a while. ;)
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 01:51:52 PM by Wayward Son »

TheDrake

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #235 on: October 04, 2019, 01:57:27 PM »
It's worth noting that Trump didn't appear to meet any standard of evidence when encouraging an investigation into Biden. There was no evidence of any wrongdoing by either Biden. It just looked shady.

rightleft22

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #236 on: October 04, 2019, 03:08:15 PM »
Trumps ticked because he blew his wad prematurely.

He didn't need a investigation to prove Biden did anything wrong just as he didn't need one to have the label crooked Hillary stick.

Trump just needed to bide his time and bring it up when/if Biden was his opponent and it probably would have worked. Maybe the problem was a lack of imagination and he didn't want to be accursed of recycling the label crooked Joe lock him up.

SAD



Fenring

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #237 on: October 04, 2019, 03:09:15 PM »
If you are President you simply should not own a business of any kind. Particularly one that your kids still have active control of.

I think you've hit it here. I have to be honest, despite many of the reasons given time and again (such as annoying tweets, bad manners, 'political mistakes') I think a lot of the problem people have had with Trump is this, on one level or another. He was a rich guy with a stake in business, and specifically a business that thrives based on personal relationships, which Trump now has major access to. Earlier on in his campaign and Presidency this issue came up a lot more than it does now, due to more specific scandals that have arisen. We've asked before whether not being a career politician should disqualify you for the Presidency. From a certain point of view the original intention was probably more like the opposite, where people of various backgrounds could be President, and this has only over time morphed into there being a political class. However one fact never escapes us: conflicts of interest will always corrupt and corrode governance. Congresspeople will comply with their donors and lobbyists; party loyalty will trump working for the good of the country; and powerful associations and partnerships will be pursued in order to 'be able to to do more'.

But I'll ask whether you're taking your own argument seriously, because I definitely am. Think carefully about "should not own a business" and see where that leads: what is "owning"? Does it mean you can't personally own a business that's not traded? Does it mean you can't be a majority shareholder in a publicly traded company? Does it mean you can't own even one single share of any company at all? In order to avoid the conflict of interest entirely I think you'll find that only the last option is a tenable definition that can cover all possible cases of corruption and conflict of interest; otherwise your stake in the company, to whatever extent, can influence your behavior while in office. So let's state how this should be worded, loosely speaking: in order to be President you should be required to divest yourself of every possible connection, ownership, share, or connection to any company of any kind. If you have a portfolio in the stock market, mutual funds, money market, etc etc, it must be liquidated completely. Any positions on boards given up. Any status in 'associations' (like just for example the Atlantic Council or the CFR) given up and disavowed. And all of these must be permanent and for life because otherwise such things can just be held in escrow or saved for you until your term ends, and any gifts, promises, rewards, or incentives can be still offered and just cashed in on when you're done your term. So it must be for life.

Let's go further: How about future prospects? Surely with all that liquidated capital you'll have a stack of cash sitting in a bank account or maybe protected in a government facility or something. Once you're done your term surely you'll be allowed to spend it on whatever you like, right? Such as stocks and bonds? But then that circumvents the "for life" clause. So what happens to all that money? It goes to your family, who then buys all the stuff you're not allowed to, and the favors and promises end up going to them by proxy and it amounts to the same conflict of interest? In which case we realize it must apply to the immediate family as well. In short, there is little solution for it other than for the entire immediate family along with the President to declare a vow of poverty, for life, to divest themselves of all corporate and financial connections, and to submit to living on a state allowance for life with no permissions at all to accumulate a fortune or ever invest in business again.

This sounds pretty crazy, right? Except I think that's literally the only way to actually implement what you say without it just turning into a "law" that has a hundred ways to wiggle around it with all the same conflicts of interest. It would turn into a lawyer's accounting trick instead of truly removing the incentive for personal corruption. I'll add, though, that even something as extreme as this wouldn't be successful unless campaign finance reform happened as well, because there is plenty of room for corruption just in terms of trying to get re-elected even if it doesn't personally enrich your finances.

So assuming you mean what I hope you mean, I'm in agreement with you. I wrote a long document about this exact topic maybe 7 years ago and I still stand by it. But no one seems to take campaign finance reform seriously, other than Bernie, and I fear that topic is being eclipsed by hot topic scandals and other firey issues like stopping Trump. But getting the money out of politics surely has to be a priority if these other messes are to have any chance of being prevented, so I really do think the "no business ties for the President" concept is an immensely important one.

yossarian22c

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #238 on: October 04, 2019, 03:13:13 PM »
Trump seems to be following the Russia investigation playbook with this one. As soon as it was obvious things were getting started he started putting out "weak" evidence against him. This starts his supporters spinning it in their minds that the whole thing is just a sham based off of what is by itself not a smoking gun. Once this is spun in their heads, continue to do it with each piece of evidence that comes out. In totality things will look pretty bad but each event in isolation is explainable or "justifiable," at least to his supporters.

The phone call was one piece of evidence. Later when we see how the administration held up the military aid we'll have another piece of evidence, and then the statements from the state department about the appearance of a quid pro quo. Maybe other evidence after that. I'm sure we'll all sit in our confirmation bias zones and say "aha, just as I thought" and be thinking the exact opposite things.

Fenring

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #239 on: October 04, 2019, 03:25:50 PM »
The phone call was one piece of evidence. Later when we see how the administration held up the military aid we'll have another piece of evidence, and then the statements from the state department about the appearance of a quid pro quo. Maybe other evidence after that. I'm sure we'll all sit in our confirmation bias zones and say "aha, just as I thought" and be thinking the exact opposite things.

You might be right. Despite my 'defences' of Trump on this I will be happy to be proven wrong if it turns out he's totally corrupt, and will want to see him go down for it. But it's too bad that in reality 99% of this is a red vs blue capture the flag game and very little seems to be about justice or truth or anything like that. You can see the cracks in the "it's about integrity" side of it when I'm constantly being exposed to both social media posts and MSM news articles repeating the lie that "after a request for military aid Trump directly asked for an investigation into Biden." That is not how it went, but the spin on it renders the "fact" into a deliberate falsehood despite the fact that it's true that Trump did discuss investigating Biden. I wouldn't even call it a "fact" that they discussed military aid, as IMO that part of the conversation was Zelenskyy actually capitulating to U.S. aims, but you won't find discussion of that kind of detail in such articles and posts. It will be stated as reported fact that aid was requested, and that Trump immediately turned to extorting him about Biden.

How can it be possible to believe there's any noble motive in accusing Trump when this is how it's done? Nothing good can come from bad faith like this, but the one mitigating factor is that many ordinary people probably have no idea this goes on. My parents, for example, literally can't fathom the notion that the news might deceive people on purpose. If something appears on the news, or in a newspaper, it's a fact. How do they know it is? Because that's what the news prints: facts. This syllogism can't be penetrated, and believe me I've tried. There is no way to shake their notion that if it says the thing then the thing is correct and as stated. I suppose this is the equal and opposite of the 4chan types who can't believe almost anything they read, no matter the source, and basically live in a self-created imaginary bubble.

It's just not believable that selling lies can be connected to being on "the good side", and so I am very resistant to any arguments whose public support largely comes as a result of such tactics. And that's true even if I might otherwise agree with that side. For instance I tend to agree that it's a bad turn for America for Trump to be President. But it's an even worse turn to try to oust a President using underhanded media tactics. It's like America has regressed back to the 1880's when the papers were seen as a bunch of partisan rags.

Seriati

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #240 on: October 04, 2019, 03:48:35 PM »
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Generally one starts with evidence of a crime.  How do you think the police do it today?
The remains how reasonable suspicion is being defined, how much smoke is required before we get to check it out?

Well there has to be evidence a crime occurred.  But the bigger problem here is, what does it mean to "check it out"?  In this case the "best" form of the argument for a crime is that Trump illegally used his office to obtain something of value in connection with the 2020 campaign (at least according to the Dems and the Whistle Blower).  But there's massive problems with that.  First, the DOJ already looked at it and said there's no campaign finance violation, ipso facto there's no crime.  That's also completely evident from the transcript in question.

I've said it more than once, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO PRECEDENT OR LAW that states that true information about crimes someone committed is "something of value" under the law.  You can look at Mueller's write up if you don't believe me, they admitted that even they didn't think they could get there.  It's simply false that obtaining that information is a violation of election laws.

So then what's the crime?  Is it corruption?  A "quid pro quo" of holding up Ukrainian aide for "something of value" to Trump personally?  Problem with that is that Trump never said it and the evidence points to his proxies making it express that there would be no quid pro quo internally.  It's also pretty evident that a big part of the reason Trump released his transcript and the WhistleBlower complaint is that he knows there was no quid pro quo (sounds familiar, kind of like when he knew there was no Russian collusion).

So if there's no election law violation, and no evidence of the quid pro quo, what exactly is the crime that needs investigating?

However, I'm not going to die on that hill, the DOJ could just as easily decide appropriately to conduct an investigation.  Whether or not Trump intended a quid pro quo doesn't control whether or not his proxies tried to arrange for one, and there certainly could be crimes there.  But the big problem is that they literally don't go to Trump without facts that aren't in evidence - ie there's no real smoke.

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Based on how I read most of your comments you set the Bar high for Trump and low for Biden?

Same bar, except in Biden's case we have him bragging about the act on tv that would have been the very and exact act that was corrupt.  He literally demanded as a condition of US aide - expressly, which is what's missing in Trump's record - that a certain prosecutor be fired.  In fact, he told them he was getting on a plane in 6 hours and the billion was effectively going with him.  While his son's company was under investigation by that prosecutor.  That very same prosecutor has gone under oath and made certain statements related to that event that flat out state a corrupt purpose.  Not an anonymous whistleblower, the actual person involved, and actual witnesses of an event that in Biden's own words occurred and that we have video of (not a transcript that DOES NOT SHOW THE EVENT).

Is it possible Biden is innocent, sure, I said as much in my early comments.  Is it possible Trump did something corrupt, that too is possible.  However, based on the records you'd have to not believe in justice to believe that Biden's conduct should not be reviewed, and I personally don't see much to investigate on Trump, but wouldn't stand in the way of a fair investigation (Congress on the other hand is not engaging in any kind of recognizable process, both Nadler's and Schiff's have opened up with statements of guilt of the person they are investigating).

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Questions.
If Biden is guilty does that exonerate Trump?

Nope, Biden's guilt is an independent question.  But the question itself is misleading until you can set out what Trump needs to be "exonerated" from.

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Is President asking another government to investigate a political rival breaking the law.

No.  Which law would it be breaking?  Again, you are aware that under the Constitution the President is in fact the chief law enforcement officer directly charged with this kind of investigation.  Would I be happier if Trump had asked more neutrally for evidence of law breaking?  Sure, if you go back and look he also talked about the Ambassador from the prior admin, which if you do a little digging was massively connecting in the entire manipulation of the Ukranian government.  But pretty much the most public piece was Biden.

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Is the hint of smoke from the transcript of a quid pro quo wink wink enough for a investigation?

What hint of a quid pro quo?  It's not in the transcript, and it appears to have been the express direction from Trump to his staff that there was to be no quid pro quo.

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Are you being honest with yourself. If Obama had made the same call would you demand a investigation?

Why do you think he didn't?  What did he mean about flexibility with Russia after the election?  Who exactly did arrange to obtain dirt from the Ukraine on Manafort during the election?

If you believe this is problematic, why are ignoring the letter the DNC Senators recently sent to the Ukraine threatening to pull the support of the left if they don't investigate Trump?

Again, walk me through the fairly applied process you're running.

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Morally and ethically how do you feel about what Trump said he did?

I actually feel morally and ethically fine about it.  Tactically I wish he'd have more sense than to say things that can be misconstrued.  But there's no crime in asking for evidence of a crime.  Period.  End of story.  Even if the evidence also benefits him.

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Or you know, you could actually establish a President doing something illegal and then investigate

My comment you referred to was about how we were undermining the foundations we say we are standing on.
Trumps go to preemptive/counter punch strategy is effective. It very much confuses things as everyone gets to choose what mud stinking on the wall to point to. Essentially its don't look at me look over their.

Except it's not what happened.  Trump reacted to  - not preempted - what appears to be a set up.  The fact that the establishment keeps miscalculated how he'll react does make me laugh.

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The problem "to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail". Trump attacks everything the same way and its should be understandable that some people see this as smoke to be investigate. Trump would be much more effective if he learned that not every *&^% thing is a (*&^ nail

And to the Democrats, everything looks like an impeachable offense.

cherrypoptart

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #241 on: October 04, 2019, 03:51:15 PM »
Hypothetically let's say it wasn't Joe Biden and his son whose corruption was the issue. Let's say it was someone like Marc Rich, an international commodities trader, hedge fund manager, financier and businessman who as far as I know was never a politician and never ran for public office. So if the same allegations against Trump were true but it wasn't a politician he was talking about, would it still be a crime? Trump tells Ukraine he wants an investigation into the finances of some Marc Rich type guy and if he doesn't get it then the arms deal will be put on hold. Is that an impeachable offense? Is it a crime? Is it even wrong?

Now if there is no problem with that scenario but there is with the Biden corruption and influence peddling then are we essentially saying that it should be harder to investigate corruption of politicians than it is the financial crimes of regular civilians?

Basically the crime then isn't what Trump did, it's the person he did it against. Democrats are Untouchables.

Wayward Son

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #242 on: October 04, 2019, 04:09:19 PM »
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Let's say it was someone like Marc Rich, an international commodities trader, hedge fund manager, financier and businessman who as far as I know was never a politician and never ran for public office. So if the same allegations against Trump were true but it wasn't a politician he was talking about, would it still be a crime? Trump tells Ukraine he wants an investigation into the finances of some Marc Rich type guy and if he doesn't get it then the arms deal will be put on hold. Is that an impeachable offense? Is it a crime? Is it even wrong?

Yes, I think so.

You wouldn't have any problem with Trump using his position as President of the United States to investigate a private citizen for his own personal reasons?  That he will put on hold badly needed arms to a country that is defending itself against Russian aggression because he wants dirt of some guy?  Do you really think it is moral and "usual" for a President to possibly affect the security of an ally, and possibly our own nation, just to check out a private citizen?  :o

The fact that he was doing so against his most likely opponent in the next election just makes it worse.

Seriati

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #243 on: October 04, 2019, 04:09:50 PM »
Quote
Generally one starts with evidence of a crime.  How do you think the police do it today?

It really comes down to what is considered "evidence."

Is a whistleblower's report evidence?  Something that someone witnessed?  Something that someone heard someone else say?  Something that was reported?

Sure is, in fact that's how many investigations start.  However, when you have a whistle blower report that didn't hear the statement, and the statement itself is available and contradicts the whistle blower it undermines the evidentiary value.  When you consider that the IG found that the whistle blower may have a partisan motive that too undermines the account.  Hearsay has to be verified, not undermined, to keep the investigation moving - at least when it's a real investigation, obviously the House DNC doesn't care about anything more than an appearance.

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How about suspicious activity?  Can police question someone (aka investigate) based on suspicious actions?  What constitutes "suspicious?"

Sure can.  Usually "suspicious" is conduct that is atypical and consistent with a crime.  Hanging around a building after dark.  In this case the conduct is "speaking with a foreign leader," which is actually part of the job, "asking for help investigating a crime," which is actually part of the job, "considering if a country is too corrupt to receive aide," which is also part of the job and for which a conversation with the brand new government and an explanation of their actions is perfectly consistent (see specifically, Trump's comment about the Ukrainian President surrounding him with the same people that are known to be corrupt).

you seem to be hanging your hat on Trump asking for any information about the ongoing investigation into the 2016 election interference - which again is legit and totally appropriate - and using the very public example of Biden in connection with ongoing corruption.  Was Trump right about it being an open example of corruption?  There's not enough evidence one way or the other, was it outside of the realm of reasonable beliefs to have?  Not at all.  But those comments even expressly say there's a "lot of talk" about and "Biden went around bragging" about it. 

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It seems pretty obvious to me that the current investigation based on the whistleblower's complaint is based on "evidence."  So it all pretty moot to me.

Nah, Congress isn't doing a real investigation, and certainly couldn't care less about evidence.  All Congress's investigation is based on is politics and a pretext.

cherrypoptart

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #244 on: October 04, 2019, 04:38:17 PM »
> Wayward Son

"Yes, I think so.

You wouldn't have any problem with Trump using his position as President of the United States to investigate a private citizen for his own personal reasons?"

----------------------------------------------------------

Okay I apologize for not making the hypothetical situation more clear. It's just some random guy being investigated, someone who is not politically connected, so there is no issue there where it looks like Trump is investigating for his own personal reasons.

Now is it a problem if Trump threatens to withhold military aid or money or holds up an arms deal unless this person is investigated?

In other words, the crime isn't what Trump did. It's the fact that he did it against Biden. Or any Democrat he might be running against.

--------------------------------------------------------------


"Do you really think it is moral and "usual" for a President to possibly affect the security of an ally, and possibly our own nation, just to check out a private citizen?"

Okay, nvm about not making the hypothetical situation clear enough. You get it. Yeah, I think it's moral and usual for a President to to that. If they're an ally they won't mind helping us out with investigations. If they refuse then how much of an ally are they?

If this was about money laundering in Columbia or something and an investigation into an American financial criminal was the issue and the President said we'd like you to look into this and the help we're giving you to fight the drug war down there is in play then how is that a problem? The President even says it's quid pro quo. Investigate this guy or you don't get the money. If the political angle isn't involved then I don't see how it's a crime for the President to negotiate like that. I mean if the country then comes back and says no we are giving the guy you are investigating asylum, we refuse to extradite him, and we're not only not going to help you but we're going to protect him then does the President still have to give them arms, money, and everything else? No, he could say all deals are off then.

However, when I put it that way, I can agree that it would be problematic doing the same thing when it's a political rival in the next election.  But that also makes my point. It's not what he did, it's the person he did it against.

Seriati

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #245 on: October 04, 2019, 05:04:23 PM »
The WB complaint indicated BOTH secondhand and firsthand information, and the ICIG found both claims credible.

Point to which parts were first hand.  Was it just that the whistleblower went to meetings?  Was it something more?  Can't assume it's material, where the whistle blower went out of their way not to attribute anything that is actually criminal or even suspicious to their own direct knowledge.  And again, the "interpretation" they put on thing from "more than 6 officials" turned out to not be supported by the facts.

That means either 6 plus officials didn't say it, or if they did they too didn't have direct knowledge or were misrepresenting the situation.  Kind of like how when an "anonymous source with direct knowledge of the situation" turns out to be completely wrong, it's pretty big undercut to claim that more than 6 people have direct knowledge of something that didn't happen.

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"So what's the crime?"

Come on. You have to know that "High crimes and misdemeanors" was never supposed to map to the criminal code.

That's an unexamined truism.  What "high crimes and misdemeanors" did Congress miss over the last 250 years that are so obvious?  Lol.

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The "high crime and/or misdemeanor" is, at least:
1) Conducting foreign policy for personal benefit

Zero evidence this occurred.  It's totally a shaky claim, but the media is hard selling it, I'll give you that.  It requires that the quid pro quo did in fact happen and that what Trump was doing was improper, neither of which are actually true.

Or I guess, given we're going with "it doesn't need to be an actual crime" this should be retranslated as investigating malfeasance of members of the DNC is a an impermissable act of a politician (except see DNC Senators that did the exact same thing).

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2) Soliciting interference from a foreign country in our domestic politics

Show me where anyone asked the Ukraine to interfere in US politics.  Seriously, show me where.  This is one giant leap of logic that if the Ukraine provides evidence of criminal activity by the Bidens and the US prosecutes them it would be an interference - by law it would not.  Or are you positing that it's illegal for a President's lawyer like Giuliani (or say, Hillary's legal team) to seek out and obtain (or pay for) a foreign government (or UK spy) to provide evidence of a crime (or Russian propaganda that was untrue).  Or should be consider the express and literally equivalent actions of the Obama administration in pressuring and actaully recieving intel from the exact same country during the election, after pressuring them with respect to corruption in their government and after failing to support them as Russian invaded their country?

Oh sorry, forgot rule one, investigating DNC crimes is a high crime and misdemeanor.

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3) Obstructing and interfering with Congressional oversight

Which didn't happen either.  There seems to be a delusion that protecting ones Constitutional rights is obstruction of justice.  See the list I cited above, Congress is subject to the Bill of Rights - it's literally part of the Constitution.  Not to mention, you seem to think that the Executive Branch has no rights under the Constitution, rather than being intended to be CO-EQUAL to and not subservient to Congress.

The House pretending they are conducting an impeachment does not entitle them to ignore the Constitution, a fact most everyone of them Nadler and Biden included has acknowledged (and even screamed and whined about) when the shoe was on the other foot.

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There may be conduct that DOES map to the criminal code, but there doesn't have to be.

I will concede this is true, but it's a gross violation of the oath of office of each member of the House to pretend that political conduct that they dislike is a high crime simply because they dislike it. 

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Yet we'll continue to see people arguing that there's no evidence, no real justification for an investigation. Because they wrote the story in their minds long ago and the evidence before their eyes doesn't matter.

Of course, and we've seen the how the House handles it where they open up their "investigations" literally with statements that the person they are investigating is guilty.  Go back and read Nadler's opening statement in the Lewandoski hearing.  By his statement there's no investigation required, guilt is already a factual matter.  Heck Schiff took it even further, he made up evidence in his opening statement.

But sure, it's the problem of the other side in prejudging the validity of the evidence.  Sigh.

TheDrake

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #246 on: October 04, 2019, 05:35:48 PM »
If you are President you simply should not own a business of any kind. Particularly one that your kids still have active control of.

I think you've hit it here. I have to be honest, despite many of the reasons given time and again (such as annoying tweets, bad manners, 'political mistakes') I think a lot of the problem people have had with Trump is this, on one level or another. He was a rich guy with a stake in business, and specifically a business that thrives based on personal relationships, which Trump now has major access to. Earlier on in his campaign and Presidency this issue came up a lot more than it does now, due to more specific scandals that have arisen. We've asked before whether not being a career politician should disqualify you for the Presidency. From a certain point of view the original intention was probably more like the opposite, where people of various backgrounds could be President, and this has only over time morphed into there being a political class. However one fact never escapes us: conflicts of interest will always corrupt and corrode governance. Congresspeople will comply with their donors and lobbyists; party loyalty will trump working for the good of the country; and powerful associations and partnerships will be pursued in order to 'be able to to do more'.

But I'll ask whether you're taking your own argument seriously, because I definitely am. Think carefully about "should not own a business" and see where that leads: what is "owning"? Does it mean you can't personally own a business that's not traded? Does it mean you can't be a majority shareholder in a publicly traded company? Does it mean you can't own even one single share of any company at all? In order to avoid the conflict of interest entirely I think you'll find that only the last option is a tenable definition that can cover all possible cases of corruption and conflict of interest; otherwise your stake in the company, to whatever extent, can influence your behavior while in office. So let's state how this should be worded, loosely speaking: in order to be President you should be required to divest yourself of every possible connection, ownership, share, or connection to any company of any kind. If you have a portfolio in the stock market, mutual funds, money market, etc etc, it must be liquidated completely. Any positions on boards given up. Any status in 'associations' (like just for example the Atlantic Council or the CFR) given up and disavowed. And all of these must be permanent and for life because otherwise such things can just be held in escrow or saved for you until your term ends, and any gifts, promises, rewards, or incentives can be still offered and just cashed in on when you're done your term. So it must be for life.

Let's go further: How about future prospects? Surely with all that liquidated capital you'll have a stack of cash sitting in a bank account or maybe protected in a government facility or something. Once you're done your term surely you'll be allowed to spend it on whatever you like, right? Such as stocks and bonds? But then that circumvents the "for life" clause. So what happens to all that money? It goes to your family, who then buys all the stuff you're not allowed to, and the favors and promises end up going to them by proxy and it amounts to the same conflict of interest? In which case we realize it must apply to the immediate family as well. In short, there is little solution for it other than for the entire immediate family along with the President to declare a vow of poverty, for life, to divest themselves of all corporate and financial connections, and to submit to living on a state allowance for life with no permissions at all to accumulate a fortune or ever invest in business again.

This sounds pretty crazy, right? Except I think that's literally the only way to actually implement what you say without it just turning into a "law" that has a hundred ways to wiggle around it with all the same conflicts of interest. It would turn into a lawyer's accounting trick instead of truly removing the incentive for personal corruption. I'll add, though, that even something as extreme as this wouldn't be successful unless campaign finance reform happened as well, because there is plenty of room for corruption just in terms of trying to get re-elected even if it doesn't personally enrich your finances.

So assuming you mean what I hope you mean, I'm in agreement with you. I wrote a long document about this exact topic maybe 7 years ago and I still stand by it. But no one seems to take campaign finance reform seriously, other than Bernie, and I fear that topic is being eclipsed by hot topic scandals and other firey issues like stopping Trump. But getting the money out of politics surely has to be a priority if these other messes are to have any chance of being prevented, so I really do think the "no business ties for the President" concept is an immensely important one.

There are two main reasons for caring. The first is the possibility that you could create a regulation that favors your business in an unequal way. Like starting a trade war might for certain kinds of business. The other is that somebody buys your products in order to curry favor. Even worse would be insider trading, where you sell your OJ futures because you just saw a report from the Ag Dept.

So, if you are going to own a significant amount of stock in a particular company you are in a bad way. This is not a concern if you are invested in an index fund. It isn't much of a concern if you are in a blind trust. If you don't know what you own, and other people don't know what you own, then the two problematic scenarios don't exist.

Is Trump hammering the Fed to lower interest rates to help the American people, or to boost his profits? We can't know.

As far as the afterword is concerned, that's more of a traditional bribery type thing. You can't likely set up  regulations and capitalize on it months or years later. I'm not thrilled with the whole lobbyist transformation for former office holders - but in any event this is not the same thing.

rich members of congress have potential conflicts of interest also, but there are 535 of them and they can't issue executive orders or make trade deals on their own.

The Obamas actually didn't use a blind trust, but their investments were bland - index funds, etc. Carter put his peanut farm in trust but still got investigated by Republicans over it.

TheDrake

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #247 on: October 04, 2019, 05:43:22 PM »
From Johnson's articles of impeachment:

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10. Making three speeches with intent to "attempt to bring into disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt and reproach, the Congress of the United States".
11. Bringing disgrace and ridicule to the presidency by his aforementioned words and actions.

So, yeah, an article of impeachment does not have to be a crime.

Seriati

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #248 on: October 04, 2019, 05:55:20 PM »
Is Trump hammering the Fed to lower interest rates to help the American people, or to boost his profits? We can't know.

Why can't we?  You are aware that not only has the EU lowered rates, they have actually put them negative.  Which means banks have to pay interest to the central bank to keep money there, they don't even have room to go lower.  In fact most of the world has been having a pretty hard time economically compared to the US.

The biggest benefit to Trump of lower rates isn't personal, it's the increased power of the economy, which helps him both politically and by benefiting all businesses (and potential customers).

I was reading the other day, that in Obama's 8 years the average income for a middle class family increased by $1000, and in Trump's 3 years, it's up by almost $4000.  I won't stand behind something I read once, but that would be a stunning reality against the fake economic news we are generally sold.

Wayward Son

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Re: Ukraine
« Reply #249 on: October 04, 2019, 05:57:12 PM »
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Okay I apologize for not making the hypothetical situation more clear. It's just some random guy being investigated, someone who is not politically connected, so there is no issue there where it looks like Trump is investigating for his own personal reasons.

But in your hypothetical situation, cherry, why is the President investigating this random guy?

If it's not personal, then it must be for some governmental reason.  What reason is that?

Is there some formal investigation in the Justice Department?  If so, when was it announced?  What started the investigation?  For what reason is this random guy being investigated?

Is it some local investigation of possible corruption, that asked the Justice Department for help?  When was the request made?  Who made it?  Why was it needed?

After all, the President just doesn't start random investigations himself.  He may ask the Justice Department to start one, but then he hands it over to them.  Then the Justice Department may request help from the Executive Branch, and they usually give it, by having the local diplomats contact the foreign governments.  It is usually coordinated through them.

So why is the President getting involved with the investigation of this random guy?  What is so important that it is elevated up to his level?  And why, for goodness sake, is the President's personal lawyer involved??

Even for some random guy, wouldn't you want to know the answers to these questions?  Just to be assured that he wasn't being targeted for some obscure political reason?

Even for a random person, it still needs explanation.

And for his likely opponent, it needs plenty of explanation.