I. In the House impeachment Report, Chairman Nadler really and truly says this:
“The question is not whether the President’s conduct could have resulted from permissible motives. It is whether the President’s real reasons, the ones in his mind at the time, were legitimate. Where the House discovers persuasive evidence of corrupt wrongdoing, it is entitled to rely upon that evidence to impeach.”
Such an attitude and approach is smoking gun evidence of a rogue process. The President, of course, has not been interviewed, questioned or cross examined. His “real reasons” can only be a matter of speculation, based on the confirmation biases of his prosecutors. In ethics, motives just confuse the issue, because all human actions have complex and interacting motives. In law, malum in re, that is, objectively bad intent, often defines a crime (such as murder), but a legal action does not become illegal because the actor has some wrongful intentions, just as an illegal action doesn’t become legal because the malefactor meant well. For leaders, those who deal in power, distinguishing between rightful and wrongful acts based on motives is particularly difficult, if not impossible.
I suppose Nadler should be praised for candor, but the state of mind of Trump’s inquisitors could not be less trustworthy or more irresponsible. They believe the President to be corrupt, thus they interpret conduct by him which literally any other President could have (and has) engaged in without criticism or condemnation (except on a policy prudence basis) as impeachable. This has been the presumption from the beginning of his Presidency. No leader can function properly in such an environment….which was the idea.
2. Consider the impeachment-related and anti-Trump bias in these comments from the transcript of the December 6 edition of the PBS New Hour. The participants are host Judy Woodruff and pundits Mark Shields and David Brooks.
JUDY WOODRUFF, PBS NEWSHOUR: Quite a week. The speaker did say, I want you to begin, to the chairmen, I want you to begin drafting articles. Judiciary Committee held a hearing with constitutional scholars, experts on Wednesday.
Where does this argument stand right now that the president should be impeached? …
Where does it — clear to you?
DAVID BROOKS, NEW YORK TIMES: Yes.
It takes two to have an argument. And we don’t seem to have an argument, because we have one side, the Democrats, who are happy to talk about it, and the White House doesn’t seem very interested in confronting the argument with another side.
And so that’s their decision in the House.
I wonder what they’re going to do in the Senate. Are they going to — is the White House going to mount a defense? Are they going to leave it to Republican senators?
But I think — I agree with Mark. The evidence is just pretty overwhelming…
And Trump had an argument of a sort today, which was 256,000 new jobs.
And so the economy is a big factor here. And so, as long as he has that economy, the Republicans will be sticking with him, the whole atmosphere around him will be good from the Republican point of view.
I should say, I thought Nancy Pelosi had one of the best political moments of the year this week in saying that she doesn’t hate Donald Trump. She’s going to pray for Donald Trump.
That was a — I just thought a beautiful moment of, well, she said it’s her Catholic faith of Christian witness…
WOODRUFF: So, do I hear both of you saying you think the Democrats are correct to be moving forward with this impeachment, that this is a wise move on their part?…
BROOKS: Yes. And I think Pelosi understands two contradictory facts. One, they have to do this for constitutional reasons.
And, two, it could hurt some swing voters, but it’s not the conversation she wants to have, which is about health care and other things.
So, they’re doing the right thing, which is to do it and do it as fast as they possibly can.
I’m sort of struck by what Mitch McConnell — how he will react in the Senate. Does he want to drag this out as a way to keep Democrats, Senate candidates in there? Or does he want to short — also get it out of the way?
Maybe he — if I were him, I’d probably want to get out of the way too.
WOODRUFF: A lot of questions. A lot of questions….
BROOKS: ….I do think it’s indisputable that Donald Trump is hurting our relationships with our allies. I mean, that’s indisputable. I once had a friend who was in the State Department say, most of what we do here is not foreign policy. It’s foreign relations. We do relationships.
…And as Mark can tell you, in politics, and as in life, relationship is 98 percent of the game. And if you’re torching your relationships with your allies, then they’re not going to be there when you need them.
But I do think Biden had a — one of the best weeks of the campaign.
He had an ad mocking President Bush — President Trump — wishful thinking. And then he went after that voter, which I think showed vigor, showed toughness, showed he’s doing well, and I think also allowed him to control the news cycle, which he hasn’t done for a long time….
MARK SHIELDS: Disagree. I disagree with David.
I think that Joe Biden can take on a voter, but he looked — you want to do pushups? You want to run? You want to take an I.Q. test?
It looked a little bit like mini-Trump. And that isn’t where Joe Biden is going to win this campaign, if he’s going to win it.
The whole thing is jaw-dropping. This is the measured, objective, fair news reporting that taxpayers are funding,
The exchange is supposed to be balanced one, but PBS has gathered an anti-Trump moderator, old school Democrat and liberal Mark Shields, and the New York Times’ faux house conservative and never-trumper David Brooks. Asks one RealClearPolitiucs commenter, “Wait….Is this supposed to be PBS’s idea of a rough and tumble two sided debate?” He gets the answer from another commenter, “Yes.” It’s especially amusing, then, to hear Brooks say, “It takes two to have an argument. And we don’t seem to have an argument, because we have one side…” That’s true of Brooks and Shields for sure. It is not true of the hearings. Neither Brooks nor Shields are lawyers, but it is basic courtroom advocacy that if one side can’t make its case, that side loses, and the opposition doesn’t have to say a thing.
Thus it is also damning that Brooks says, without any substance, “The evidence is just pretty overwhelming,” as if saying it makes it true. Overwhelming? To partisans like these three, perhaps, who have believed all along that Donald Trump must be doing something impeachable, because that’s just the kind of person he is. One of Jonathan Turley’s colleagues at American University, historian Alan Lichtman, revealed the mindset of his class and fellow progressives by telling CNN’s Erin Burnett on November 16, 2016, that he expected Trump to be impeached:
“There’s a very good chance that Donald Trump could face impeachment. First of all, throughout his life he has played fast and loose with the law. He has run an illegal charity in New York state. He has made an illegal campaign contribution through that charity. He has used the charity to settle personal business debts. He faces a RICO lawsuit.”
Now the news media, especially CNN, is hailing Lichtman as a prophet. But this prediction/desire by the “resistance” has always been a self-fulfilling prophesy.
The cognitive dissonance scale dictates that since Trump is bad (way below the center point on the scale, his tormenters must be high on the sale, in the positive territory. Thus Brooks gushes over Pelosi’s sanctimonious and condescending posturing about wanting to pray for Donald Trump. That’s a beautiful moment to Brooks, who also thinks Joe Biden’s outrageous attack on a voter who dared to challenge him was also wonderful. Got it: if you oppose the President, you can do no wrong. Oh no, says Shields: if you act like President Trump, then that’s bad.
3. Strangely, since Brooks and Shields feel that the evidence for impeachment is so overwhelming that they don’t even have to tell PBS viewers why its so overwhelming, Constitutional scholar Alan Dershowitz said over the weekend that the case was non-existent.
“First, they came up with abuse of power — not a crime — it’s not in the Constitution. So now they’re saying ‘bribery,’ but they’re making it up,” he said. “There is no case for bribery based on, even if all the allegations against the president were to be proved, which they haven’t been.”
Dershowitz agrees with Joathan Turley that the impeachment fiasco is dangerous.
“They have created open-ended criteria which bear no relationship to the word of the Constitution itself,” Dershowitz said Sunday on Fox News. “If President Trump is impeached, it will set a terrible precedent, which will weaponize impeachment, and the next Democrat who gets elected will be impeached….It’s hard to find any president — modern president, old president — who can’t be accused of abuse of power…How many foreign policy decisions have been made by presidents over the years in order to help them get reelected? If we start making that an impeachable offense, there will be no Presidents left.”
Dershowitz also made this damning comparison:
“What they’re trying to do is what the KGB under Lavrentiy Beria said to Stalin, the dictator — I’m not comparing our country to the Soviet Union — I just want to make sure it never becomes anything like that. …”Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime. And that’s what some of the Democrats are doing. They have Trump in their sights. They want to figure out a way of impeaching him and they’re searching for a crime.”