What’s Impeachable? They’ll Know It When They See It

Michelle Cottle, on the ground in Washington, responds to questions about the impeachment trial.

Comments: 208

  1. It seems to me thatwith these new precedents, candidates will be inspired to even more brazen heights, such as taking every opportunity to produce sound bites designed specifically for a Fox News audience. The idea that politicians can't be trusted to keep their word have been taken to new heights. Can Americans be duped into going to the polls when they know they are voting for a dictator? Maybe we'll find out . . .

  2. Is it possible that if witnesses are allowed, that not only Trump will be removed but Pence too? If the truth comes out, and there was a criminal conspiracy of all the presidents’ men, is there a chance they all might be under scrutiny through oversight and possibly ALL indicted and/or impeached? If this is possible, no wonder the Republicans don’t want to hear witnesses. There is a good chance this would be the end of the Republican Party, as we know it. The swamp Trump et al have created must be dredged and drained. We must have our country back, a government for the people, by the people, and of the people NOT the 1 percent giving themselves tax cuts alone and deregulating companies to increase their donors. Justice must be served. The day of reckoning will come. For goodness sake, do the right thing.

  3. @GraceNeeded Come November, we can only hope it is the end of the Republican Party.

  4. Of course they'd've been both removed. But, presented with the truth, the vile GOP are skillful at cupping their ears with putin oil money and LA-LA-LA CAN'T HEARing. The Democrats should've added an Article for pence then, though. They still have a chance to do additional impeachments, no hearing (or HEARing) needed.

  5. @GraceNeeded The truth is as plain as the partisan, hypocritical noses on their faces; they simply refuse to abide by it. The Republican party has already hightailed it away from their once somewhat respectable norms and have replaced those norms with contempt, disdain, and a patently perverse lack of courage and moral character to do the right thing. Like you, I do continue to believe that one day there will be consequences to this abysmal behavior, but as it stands now, the Republican agenda is truly disgusting.

  6. For Senate Republicans, what's an impeachable offense against a Democratic President is very different than what's impeachable for a Republican President. The hypocrisy is truly breathtaking. If Hillary Clinton were President and had done anything like what President Trump has done with Ukraine, we all know Republicans would be shrieking like banshees for her impeachment. My own Senator, Lindsey Graham, would be apoplectic, screaming with red-faced and righteous indignation on every Fox News outlet that would air him. With this sham trial and the complete abdication of their Constitutional duties let alone common sense, the Republicans have taken us one step closer to an authoritarian oligarchy. Turns out Vladimir Putin was right all along...so much for the rule of law and America's moral standing in the world.

  7. @jrinsc I’ll just add that V. Putin wasn’t just right, he’s 98.6pct responsible for this collapse.

  8. @jrinsc Sorry, just not true. Remember Obama’s ‘pen and phone’? He claimed he didn’t have the authority to do DACA, then did it, lawlessly. He used the IRS against political opponents. He had his people lie about Benghazi to protect his 2012 election narrative, and his administration lied in order to spy on Trump’s campaign and support Hillary. All potentially impeachable offenses, and Republicans declined to do that even though they had majorities in BOTH Houses.

  9. @jrinsc We know that if the tables were turned, the Republicans would be "apoplectic" and "shrieking like banshees" for impeachment. Which raises the point: Why didn't the Democrats "shriek like banshees?" Adam Schiff did an amazing job of speaking out for impeachment... but where were the protests? Two Republican Senators voted with Democrats, so you have to wonder If Democrats shrieked a little louder, could they have captured two more votes? Why didn't Democrats organize protests at the State Capitol in Alaska? Lisa Murkowski could have been persuaded. Perhaps she needed to see on local media her constituents screaming at the Capitol? We will never know.

  10. If impeachable offenses are dependent on the party that is in power, why even bother to have general presidential election? Parliamentary system, anyone?

  11. There is one way for Lamar Alexander to redeem his legacy after he stated that Trump did everything he was charged with during the House impeachment. Essentially, Alexander bought into the Alan Dershowitz defense of the president saying that a president cannot be found guilty of abuse of power. What Alexander can do is make a motion to censure President Trump. Following his statement made yesterday, he can ask the Senate for a formal censure of the president’s conduct. Can Alexander muster the courage to follow his own argument to certify that Trump’s decision on Ukraine was inappropriate? There is precedence for this censure resolution in 1834 with the formal censure of Andrew Jackson. It has also been done nine times of senators. Does Alexander have the courage to introduce such a measure?

  12. Richard Nixon: "If the President does it, it's not illegal." My how times have changed.

  13. @JT FLORIDA I looked at Lamar Alexander website to get his fax number when I was sending requests to him and other senators to vote for witnesses. On Lamar's website landing page there is a link to Donald Trump twitter account. Wow, when I saw that I decided my faxes would certainly fall on deaf ears and they did. His defense of his position to vote "no" on witnesses was a lie," DT didn't commit a crime" Lamar said- What?! The GAO report said the act of withholding the aid was a crime. Couldn't do better than that? Lamar, Mitch, Ted, the rest of republicans have no backbone probably no brain. Mitch should have recused himself with his wife in the cabinet. I don't think they will censure. It is as important to vote the republican party out of power as it is to get Trump out.

  14. @JT FLORIDA Actually, Alexander can still vote to convict if not in both than in one of the articles of impeachment.

  15. From my perspective the House Democrats walked into a trap laid carefully by the RNC. Prior to the Ukraine call, there were real issues with clearly definable broken laws. Obstruction of justice, emoluments,... Sure the White house put up a fight and were not going to make getting the necessary documents and tax records easy. The Ukraine call was a gimmie. It outraged members of the House and those who wanted to get anything available on Trump. Now Trump gets to the the SOU Address and gloat with Pelosi right behind him as he twists her in the wind as McConnell grins. To continue the investigation into the emoluments issue should continue but I doubt that representatives polishing up their re-election campaigns have the stomach for going there. Of course, and October surprise of the release of Trump's personal and business taxes could put the kibosh on Trump's chances. In the meantime the effort should be to find that common-ground that binds Americans together. Perhaps the issue that while the top 1% has seen their incomes grow, the rest of America is still waiting for the wealth to "Trickle Down" - unfortunately the 1% just bought bigger buckets and noting much is going to overflow and trickle down any time soon.

  16. @George N. Wells Sorry, bottom tier wage growth has exceeded top tier grow for the coloraturas time in years under Trump. ‘Trickle down’ is happening, it’s in the data. With Trump’s economy, it’s the plumbers, welders and truck drivers who are prospering, and they’ve noticed. Over 100,000 people wanted tickets to Trump’s South Jersey rally, 30% Democrats. Wake up and smell the ’choffee’

  17. @George N. Wells Trump committed a crime and he has the blood of the Ukraine people on his hands. He has the blood of the children who have died in American custody at the border. He lied and he was caught. Trump has been a liar from the time he got those bone spurs in his feet and let other people fight and die in Viet Nam in his place.. The Trump administration has gone out of their way to destroy this country and now we know that the Russian GOP have sold America for riches in their pockets.

  18. Can't help thinking this is a little one-sided. The Republicans have also been showing Democrats arguing for the opposite of what they did in Clinton's trial. But the explanation/example here only looks at a Republican (Sen Graham). Both sides appear to change their tune depending on which side of the fence they're on.

  19. @Talbot Please trump had sex with porn stars and paid them hush money from his campaign - a federal crime - then he became a traitor to the US when he sided with putin over the United States and then tried to extort a foreign ally into rigging the 2020 election - how does clinton having sex even compare? Get over the clintons already. your republican don't care about the rule of law or the constitution and are ok with an authoritarian dictator as president. -

  20. @Talbot Yes it's called human nature.

  21. Both sides have been a little disingenuous about the witness issue. Democrats claimi every trial has witnesses. That's true for a regular trial where the judge will have already decided that the case will be tried before a jury and has already denied all motions to dismiss the case without a trial. Here, there was no opportunity prior to the commencement of this "trial" for the Senate to vote on whether the House Managers have stated a valid claim for impeachment even assuming everything they claim is true. Republicans are wrong when they try to have their cake and eat it too. You can't refuse to have witnesses if you insist on challenging the factual allegations, which Republicans have done throughout these proceedings. What should've been done in an ideal world is for the Senate first to have decided whether the House managers stated a claim for impeachment. Then, the trial should have proceeded. What we actually had was a mish-mash.

  22. @Jay Orchard what the House Democrats should have done is allow the White House to cross-examine the witnesses during the Investigation, or during the Judiciary hearings. Then it would have been obvious if more witnesses were needed, including Bolton, for whom the House canceled their subpoena. The old saying is “your lack of preparation does not constitute an emergency on my part”.

  23. @Jay Orchard The only witnesses that should be allowed where those from the House proceedings.

  24. Yes, Republicans will use impeachment - but only when a Democrat is in office. What Trump did, and continues to do, is light years away from what both Clinton and Nixon did, and is more akin to Johnson's transgressions. The argument made by Dershowitz, however, will go down as the most dangerous argument made in the Senate in our history for a monarchical presidency. If Trump gets a pass on his actions there will be no end to his transgressions. Ever.

  25. I abhor the Trump presidency but I have some questions about process that perhaps one or more readers or Ms. Cottle could answer: Trump’s lawyers say that per prior precedent, the House’s subpoenas were not valid because not preceded by resolution or rule and that the standing rule conferring subpoena power on committees was limited to legislative purposes, not impeachment I understand the Dems to argue that (1) the rule applied, and (2) they can decide how to conduct an impeachment and so don’t need a rule or resolution. Do I have this right? Any views as to who has the better of the argument? Yesterday one of Trump’s lawyers contested Schiff’s argument that they refused to dialogue about the potential production of documents during the House’s proceedings, and the two letters from which he read seemed to invite dialogue though subject to certain conditions but that the Dems never responded. What really happened? Thx.

  26. @Hal Brody The process is actually undefined, since impeachment does not happen often enough to have a defined process attached to it. Each side is trying to structure the process to its own advantage. So the questions about process are actually irrelevant to the central question of impeachment and keep it from being raised, just as the legal maneuvers of the Solid South kept the central question of the justice or injustice of segregation from being raised. The dispute over process allows each side to believe what it wants to believe. If there is such a thing as knowable, objective truth, at least one side is wrong. Trump claims that his gut is the road to the truth and the other side is wrong in its facts and in its wants, desires, and motives.

  27. @Hal Brody The House's power of subpoena is limited to purposes of legislation. Impeachment is not legislation that is why the WH could ignore the subpoenas. Once the House had the full vote for Impeachment they would have to reissue the prior subpoenas, to make them valid which they failed to do.

  28. @KR The House has a constitutionally defined duty of oversight of the executive branch. The House is the only body that can impeach the President. The White House has no right to a blanket blockage of testimony and documents as this is the only way oversight happens. No other administration has attempted this level of concealment. Subpoenas should not have been necessary to begin with. Welcome to Trumpistan. Enjoy.

  29. Offenders, after being found guilty, are generally provided an opportunity to express remorse and beg for the court's understanding and mercy. Senator Alexander, by not requiring such a statement from the offender he has so pre-emptively pronounced guilty appears to be giving something away for nothing which can only lead one to the conclusion Alexander cynically extracted a juicy quid pro quo from the king of the quid pro quo to ensure a comfortable retirement.

  30. @Leigh By comfortable, do you mean his knee caps will remain intact and his family safe? I can’t see any other excuse for his behavior.

  31. If the House's job was not enough for the Senate the House should just continue the process and submit additional articles of impeachment. Subpoena Bolton and others and get the truth into the public sphere.

  32. Doesn't witness/document fall under discovery? If the House Managers requested the CJ to issue subpeonas for Bolton, wouldn't it take 2/3rd vote from Senate to overturn it?

  33. The sorry spectacle made me long for the Parliament in which a vote of no confidence has wiped out leaders in every country other than this one that I have lived in. Congress should have stuck with extortion instead of which we were subjected to the gibberish of Dershowitz and his circular argument that misread its source study and every other defender who embraced either denial or so what. The damage is irreparable to the heart of the country. If Alexander thinks convicting Trump would add fuel to the fire, wait until the lying grifting simpleton is acquitted and claims exoneration. The entire Republican Party has drunk the Trump kool-aid and looks to be at death’s door. This has been a horrific four years. Another term will chase millions of us away for good.

  34. @Naked In A Barrel It has, and my only hope is that USA voters are astute enough to flip the Senate to Super Majority. If that happens, their first acts are to pass laws that are veto-proof, bring all media under equal and fair representations. With luck, FOX and right wing radio will wither and die. Regrettably, it won't because the newly elected Representatives and Senators will be tied up in their local political influence groups, again.

  35. @Naked In A Barrel If, as Alexander claims, convincting Trump would add fuel to the fire (and thus, made the former and other GOP senators vote against calling for witnesses -- so they could exonarate Trump --. doesn't that mean that Trump is now officially an autocrat and the US has now officially ceased to be a democracy? Sure looks like it from everywhere outside the US.

  36. What ever happened to bribery? Pelosi accuses Trump of it early on, but it wasn’t part of the impeachment counts the House brought forward. The Constitution explicitly mentions bribery as a reason for impeachment. They could have annulled this whole debate about whether his conduct is worthy of removal. And it’s a Federal crime, too, satisfying many Republican arguments against the vagueness of “abuse of power”.

  37. @Bill Ormusun Bribery wasn’t included because they knew they couldn’t prove it. Ukraine got the Quid without supplying the Quo. Even attempted bribery can’t be proved because there was never evidence that Trump directly told Ukraine about the hold on aid and any reason for the hold. Bribery fails, sorry.

  38. @Taylor Pohlman, no evidence until Bolton anyway. Hence the obstruction of Congress charge.

  39. Could President Trump become the first Commander-in-Chief to be impeached twice? From this side of the Ocean, it seems likely that the Democrats stand a chance of being in the majority in both the House and the Senate after the next election, whether Trump is reelected or not. So, if reelected.........

  40. Maybe it's time for Dems to stop plotting the impeachment of our President.

  41. What impeachment has been the past few weeks is a question of a Republican president on trial before a Republican Senate;we will know what's impeachable if a Democratic president gets before a Republican Senate. Our system is extremely flawed because the only means of getting rid of a POTUS is by political means in the Senate. A parliamentary vote of no confidence is much more effective. Americans shouldn't be surprised that the Pres is acting like a king, the Constitution gives him way too much authority.

  42. I wonder if the Republican senators who are planning to acquit Trump have thought through the results of their actions. None of them, including Rubio and Cruz, who continue to harbor presidential ambitions, will now be electable. They are declaring outright that they believe a president can do anything and get away with it. Not the best stance for someone seeking the office.

  43. On the contrary, just the right stance to win the undemocratic electoral college. We are no longer living in your father ‘s (or our Founding Fathers’) democracy.

  44. I found Rubio's statement the most stunning...impeachable actions don't warrant impeachment. That just about seems like a denial of the basic logical idea of identity, A = A. I might disagree with him if he claimed that Trump's actions were bad, but don't rise to the level of impeachable defenses, but that claim at least satisfies the basic tenets of logic. He's in the Clintonian territory of debating the definition of 'is.'

  45. @Hans well Rubio hails from Cuba and Florida where truth and facts to put i mildly are what you want it to be that guy has not done anything in his entire life but living of taxpayers money

  46. @Hans You are too kind to Rubio. He's far past debating; he's in outright denial, according to your own post.

  47. What is clear to me, after this entire debacle, is that the impeachment process is utterly useless for the purpose it was intended for, because: 1) The criteria for determining if a president's actions require impeachment are too vague and... 2) Even if such malfeasance can be shown, the process can be rendered impotent by one half of the legislative branch looking the other way and allowing the president to do as they like. It will come down to casting our lot in November, as we mostly knew that it would, I suppose. Given the current vulnerability of our election process to being tampered with by foreign powers and other bad actors, I find the prospects terrifying. I imagine Vladimir Putin sitting in his office in the Kremlin, watching the news feeds with a glass of vodka in hand, laughing, and laughing, and laughing...

  48. @Jason That's a good point. It's another instance where Trump's actions have shown that what we thought was a sturdy political system with few major loopholes is actually in need of some serious patching. They've just been covered over by the fact that almost all past presidents and legislators have felt bound by some minimal level of morality and patriotism. Apparently, the POTUS can't be indicted for a crime, but also can't be impeached, implying that they're above the law and Congressional authority, at least for the duration of their term.

  49. @Jason Putin is laughing because Democrats played into his hands - Russia’s disinformation campaign started with the lies in the Steele Dossier to discredit Trump, and the DNC leak to drive a wedge between Hillary and Bernie camps. They want chaos and division in America, and thanks to the Dems, they got it. Impeachment is just the latest ploy to cast Trump as ‘illegitimate’. They want him weak, because they fear his strength. Just look at what he has done to strengthen NATO, and how he’s armed Ukraine. Worst nightmare for Putin is Trump 2020.

  50. As long as Trump is President, there is no impeachable offense, no rule of law, no Constitution.

  51. @Roy Hobbs You made fake charges, Trump was not convicted and now you claim there is no rule of law. On the contrary there IS rule of law and it happens when you do not remove an elected president on flimsy charges.

  52. @Ludwig, Republican senators have pretty much admitted that Trump did what he is accused of doing so no, the charges were not fake!

  53. Republican senators have nullified the impeachment clause of the US constitution. They have violated their oaths to judge impartially. They overturned the rule of law, instituting the absurd Dershowitz doctrine that everything a president does to get reelected is unimpeachable.

  54. When elections lose their legitimacy democracy dies. Trump’s efforts to cheat will continue. He’ll use his leverage over the Chinese and others. Facebook will publish his lies and the GOP will deny that any of it had any effect or was illegal. We may have seen the last of true democratic elections.

  55. @Barry Henson The election of George W. Bush was the illegitimate child of the 5-4 conservative Supreme Court. That’s when all this election rigging (gerrymandering; denial of voting rights by Roberts et al) started. As Bill Maher once said, “Republicans will do anything to win an election, except get the most votes”. They’ve since figured out several means to get the most votes illegally. They just never seem to be held accountable. The motto of the Washington Post is “Democracy Dies in Darkness”. We now know it can die in broad daylight with everyone watching.

  56. As of today, I am no longer confident that America is a democracy.

  57. @r2w It can certainly be argued that it hasn't been for a long time, if ever. But, apparently, it is also not a republic anymore.

  58. Clearly, you haven’t read the Muller report. If you had you would have reached the same conclusion after the first section which speaks in detail of Russian inte reference in US elections.

  59. @r2w If it is it’s on life support, and the prognosis is poor.

  60. 51-49 should be seared into our memories after watching the U.S. Senate reject witnesses during this impeachment trial. While some Senate seats are safe for a few republicans, democratic voters need to organize and work for a Democratic Senate in 2020. It’s the only way to begin to restore our democratic republic. It won’t be easy but it must be done.

  61. LaMarr Alexander says that Trump has been 'inappropriate' in his demand that Ukraine investigate his political rivals, but it does not rise to an impeachable offense and other republicans feel the same way, but their acquittal will give him the green light to repeat his 'inappropriate' behavior. I would ask the question if I could what are Republicans prepared to do to stop this 'inappropriate' behavior? Are they prepared to do nothing as our constitution and electoral process is destroyed? Republicans have now given a green light to the actions of a president they call 'inappropriate', but will say that is just in the political process. When the Democrats do the same will they call it inappropriate? I sincerely doubt it.

  62. We knew this was coming, but it is still a shock to realize that the Republicans don't care about democracy, only about whether they have the votes to do what they want. They don't care. With "T"'s implausible deniability winning the day, we can have no faith any more in the rule of law for the good of the people. Sad day.

  63. @jumblegym "Republicans don't care about democracy," Because they want the VOTERS to make the decision in November? Jumblegym, how exactly do you understand the word "democracy"?

  64. In my opinion no President will ever be impeached. The bar is too high. We know that it takes a two thirds vote in the Senate, and that would be impossible to get. Because, both the House where the impeachment would start, and Senate would have to be a majority in the opposite party, and there would have to be enough opposite Senators in the majority party to make a two thirds plurality. Under those conditions it's hard to believe that there would be a President of the opposite party. The only time it was even close was with Andrew Jackson and then it failed by one vote. And that was before such heavy partisanship. So, the Forefathers's failed to provide a remedy for removal of a corrupt President.

  65. @jimgilmoregon "... And that was before such heavy partisanship. …" That was before senators had to run for election. Back then they were appointed by the states. Partisanship was largely irrelevant.

  66. @jimgilmoregon I can see the day when a party will own the House, will have 2/3 of the senate and will vote to impeach and convict an opposing president without witness and documents, just because they can. They will note this day and justify themselves! Unlikely, but now more possible!

  67. @jimgilmoregon Andrew Johnson.

  68. There are numerous reasonable arguments on both sides, and reasonable people will usually agree on some of them and disagree on others. But the Democrats unanimously agree on one set of them, and the Republicans unanimously agree on the opposite ones. This shows that it has nothing to do with those arguments. It's a power struggle between the two parties, and the goal of prevailing in that struggle dictates their positions on all of the arguments. And a prominent part of the struggle consists of righteously demonizing the motives of their opponents. A sad state of affairs.

  69. Despite ample evidence of wrongdoing offered up by reliable sources, Donald Trump is about to escape conviction. The Senators who voted against calling witnesses have chosen to cover up the truth. I called several senators, begging them at least to consider witness testimony: they chose not to listen. When Trump will have carte blanche to do whatever he pleases with no prospect of checks and balances, and then watch him go! I hope the Republican senators who let him off the hook will think long and hard about their part in enabling him.

  70. The argument that Impeachment is "nothing short of a coup" very heavily ignores the fact that literally every advancement in American history has been a coup in some form or another; that's just how we do things, from the Mayflower to the Declaration to Manifest Destiny and beyond: America has always just taken what it wants and usurped what they want from others. This is no different. The real question is: Who will usurp who? Republicans and their Presidential Don, or the Democrats, looking to put a nail in the coffin of the old fogies holding desperately onto power they don't earn? That's the only difference. No matter who wins it's an usurpation.

  71. @RS5, a coup is illegal for starters so an impeachment cannot, by definition, be a coup.

  72. I think we're quickly heading to the point that voting is no longer to be considered credible.

  73. @Martino our votes for president never really counted anyway. In every other Democracy, Trump wouldn't have won. Democrats should have put their energy into dissolving the electoral college. That would definitely be a worthy fight!

  74. @Nick R, not easily done without changing the Constitution. However, quite a number of states have signed onto a pact to allocate their electoral votes to the popular vote winner, once enough states have joined that will reach The 51% of EC votes needed to win. The Constitution gives states power to run elections as they please, including how to dole out their EC votes.

  75. My only question is why did Senator Mitt Romney join with the Democrats in voting to extend the trial with more witnesses. and prolong the inevitable acquittal? 1. He genuinely believed it was necessary or at least important for making a decision. 2. He dislikes President Trump, or is jealous of him because Trump won the Presidency and he did not. 3. He is pandering to the media. 4. He doesn't care about the opinion of the voters of Utah (strongly against impeachment and more witnesses), because he won't have to face them again for at least 4 years, if ever. Most likely it is some combination of all of the above reasons.

  76. @Bill Maybe it is because history will not view the behavior of the Republican Senate kindly and he wants to be on the right side of history.

  77. @Bill Romney and Collins are the only ones who realize what damage a sham trial without witnesses would do to their Party, to the rule of law, to the Constitution and the separation of powers, and to the country as a whole. They did the right thing in voting to allow witnesses.

  78. @Vicki My firm belief is that Collins has a very tough election facing her this fall, and because her vote was unnecessary, McConnell gave her a "hall pass" to vote for witnesses to appear, to shore up her "moderate" image. If her vote HAD been needed for the Republican Party to triumph, she would have voted that way instead. It's just Collins being Collins. She's always guaranteed to vote for the right thing as long as it won't help and her party doesn't need her vote. Good people of Maine, throw her out of office on November 3.

  79. None of the legal framework of our government nor court system are about crime and punishment, they are all assuring that the people who are given the responsibilities for making them function as intended do so and that they be stopped from using the authority of their offices contrarily to for which those offices are intended. An end justifies the means mentality may assure that actions which are outside those permitted by a President will be condoned because the results are thought to be acceptable. But a rule of law does not allow that because like actions which are contrary to what might be thought acceptable would also have to be condoned for the system to remain trustworthy, otherwise the law becomes insignificant and political power replaces the rule of law.

  80. High crimes and misdemeanors covers a range of crimes. Abuse of power and obstruction are more general terms that would be included in that range. The GOP in the Senate are abusing their power in this case. Blue wave 2020 !

  81. Watching the proceedings, I had the same thought about the incident when the Supremes were struggling with a definition of obscenity and came up with "we know it when we see it" (paraphrase). It seems that we continue defining impeachment by what it is not, as once again impeachment fails at trial in the Senate. I'm still trying to figure out where we stand with the congressional summons issue. We have a President who needs a lot of oversight and is contesting all the sub poenas in court.

  82. @Excellency I had wondered if anybody was watching.

  83. When the impeachment trial is over, the appropriate headline ought to read: Republicans rally to a cry for the defense of God, King, and Country; Takeover of the U.S. Senate and the Judiciary by the Executive Branch nearly complete. For U.S. citizens, the information wars may be unwinnable. The Executive has shown that it knows how to control information once its disinformation has gone viral. For Dems, don't give in. Inaction is acquiescence. Remember that you are not invulnerable to corruption. Keep up the good fight. As more evidence develops submit new articles of impeachment for as long as you breathe.

  84. @chuck and don't forget to vote him out, then put on a real trial for tax evasion and many other crimes that 45 has committed.

  85. Sen. Lamar Alexander said today convicting Trump would anger his supports and divide the country further, so he's not into calling witnesses. To laugh or to cry? If a criminal's conviction will upset his family, and all his friends, do we not still convict? Since when did being popular or not have anything to do with due process, Senator? Where is the line then past which a president may not go?

  86. @AG I believe it is very telling that he believes that it would be Trump supporters and not the other 60% of the country who need to be placated.

  87. We have to give Trump and the GOP credit where credit is due for demonstrating how very broken our system is. The Electoral College helped Trump win despite losing the popular vote by millions of voters. And now the will of the voters has been ignored once again with a majority of Americans in favor of impeachment and removal according to the latest polls.

  88. @Bronx Jon "The Electoral College helped Trump win despite losing the popular vote by millions of voters." All the extra votes which Hillary got came from California which does not allow voter ID. So who knows who voted in California? Over the other 49 states, Trump received 400,000 more votes than Hillary got.

  89. @Ludwig There is no voter ID in Minnesota. It has one of the best election systems in the country. There have been so few cases of voter fraud in the country, your argument has no merit. It is only sowing doubt without evidence.

  90. @Ludwig, you can't seriously believe that 3 million illegal aliens bothered to vote for Democrats in California, where their votes don't make a difference anyway. People still have to prove who they are to *register to vote. If I actually thought that rounding up immigrants and getting them to vote was a viable way to cheat an election, I wouldn't let an ID that can easily be faked stand in my way. And I certainly wouldn't be dumb enough to send them to a state that's already in the bag! As it stands, more American citizens will be disenfranchised by ID laws than any ineligible voters. And that's exactly the intention.

  91. The Democrats argued for American ideals, for right, for country over party, to people who wanted to win at any cost. This was an argument to the deaf and the immoveable. There was lots of talk about precedents. America now has given the executive branch absolute power. This is America’s’ Reischtag Fire. Some precedent.

  92. The Senate has effectively neutered Congress. If the president can brazenly ignore and impede congressional oversight and the president is not subject to prosecution by the courts, then there is effectively nothing that the president cannot do. He can even use those powers to retain his office. So when he said that Article II says he can do whatever he wants, he was apparently right. We no longer have a republic, we have a monarchy.

  93. @Justin We have a cult.

  94. If the Constitution does not give a clear definition of "high crimes and misdemeanors" and the elements thereof, then the President is denied due process. The Constituion is unconstituional.

  95. @Rowland Park So anarchy then? A lot of words in the Constitution aren't defined. There's a lot of writing from the Founders to figure out what it means. A Constitution is just a basic framework, common and actual law supplement it.

  96. @Rowland Park The Constitution is unconstitutional. Did I miss one of Trump's lawyers saying say?

  97. I am actually somewhat buoyed by this result. Republican Senator Lamar Alexander said two things I agree with. First, he said that if President Trump had been convicted, removed from office, and prevented from running for re-election, it would have "poured gasoline on cultural fires" in this country. That's true, it would have. Lots of anger, lots of outrage, lots of pushback. But what may prove to be more significant is that Lamar Alexander, Republican Senator, stated clearly that Trump was guilty of the the charges, and what he did was "inappropriate." The stink of that truth is going to hang on Trump and his party not only through this election, but for the rest of our history. It is going to become more and more obvious that he was guilty as more of the evidence trickles out and gets reported. Republicans are going to be pretty sick of the taste before November.

  98. It's interesting that Sen. Alexander is worried about pouring gasoline on the cultural fires when that is precisely what his party in general and Pres. Trump in particular have been doing on a regular basis for years.

  99. @Madeline Conant So more gasoline on the cultural fires in this country is what you are worried about? I am trying to envision what that would look like...more white men of all ages committing mass shootings? More evangelical Christians complaining that their values are no longer the "values de jure" of this country and their rights are being repressed? More xenophobic, science-phobic and phallocentric republicans deciding what 50% of the population can do with their bodies? So...nothing really changes? You should be worried about what the flipside of Alexander's statement would look like. An enraged far left that acts out exactly how the far right has been doing for decades.

  100. @Madeline Conant Impeachment is not a "cultural" matter. We're not all going square dancing here. Impeachment is a LEGAL matter, the only thing that Representatives and Senators should be concerned with. In that, this Senate has failed miserably in their job and, I, for one, will never forget -- or forgive. I am an American... and I hate a rigged game.

  101. This voting of witnesses had nothing whatsoever to do with what is an impeachable offense and everything to do with what party is in the majority. To have a president of the US blackmail another country and for them to say yeah that’s what he did but we’ll let him. To lightly say as the older gentleman said his actions were “inappropriate “ smacks of so little so late. All along the republicans have shown this country, the world how unethical, how little they view their responsibilities to all of us. We are all out here struggling, that they forget, we won’t. We may not have the monies they all do but we have very good memories.

  102. @EllyNC "To have a president of the US blackmail another country" But DID he blackmail Ukraine? Have you SEEN the transcript of that conversation between Trump and Zelenskiy? In this transcript of five pages, Hunter Biden occupies only five lines. The rest of the phone call was for totally different matters. The Democrats have done an excellent job of selling a lie. Trump is not a good president. He is irrational and erratic. But the judgment must come from the voters. It cannot come from the House Democrats cooking up a ridiculous charge against a sitting president. To decide otherwise is to decide that we are not a democracy.

  103. Well here it is Let’s hope that now the next Democratic president will use this new paradigm and implement a state of emergency over gun and pollution laws and truly do what needs to be done for all of us

  104. Interesting is the fact that the Democrats, CNN and MSNBC are having apoplexy over what was a foregone conclusion from the outset of the impeachment hearings. Completely partisan on both the house and senate sides will result exactly where it was predicted from day one.

  105. @bellicose Partisanship is an easy default lense that is always thrown out to blur the images of right or wrong....Trump uses this to his advantage time and time again with radical left....however facts should always be the defining line that we walk regardless if we are left, right, or straight down the center..

  106. @bellicose And I see this as a case of patriotism by the Democrats, and, the inner workings of a cult on the part of the Republicans.

  107. may all the Senators who did not wish to view sworn testimony by all persons who knew the facts in this matter reap their just rewards in November. if the voters think that they conducted themselves in an honest manner, then so be it. if not, get them out of the Senate.

  108. Is impeachment about seeking truth and a check on political power or merely about which political party holds the majority? Going forward, the triumphant Mitch McConnell and the 2020 Republican senators will become minor historical footnotes regarding Trump’s impeachment trial decision. The next jury to be summoned will be in November. Remember this day as “we” the citizens go forward. Truth and our Constitution will have its day to prevail.

  109. I'm curious how this would have played out if the voting on rules/impeachment had been done by secret ballot. In my opinion, Conservatives are controlled by Rush Limbaugh, Hannity and the rest of the right wing media. Jeff Flake spoke out about Republicans fear of the ballot box. But if this was all done with secret ballots, who would be able to be singled out for not following the right wing media's edicts.

  110. I am very angry with the republican senators who from day one had their minds made up, regardless of a sworn oath to act as impartial jurist. A few GOP senators claimed to be thinking about the possibility of witnesses until Mitch McConnell's 11th hour meeting with them; adding his own brand of pressure to get them in line. But the saddest part of the whole drama was how the lawyers (and many republican senators) spun a web of lies in their efforts to defend the indefensible. Added to this is their disingenuous cries that there were no 'first hand witness' testimony while at the same time rejecting arguments for 'first hand witness testimony'. Many Americans will not have a restful sleep tonight. I weep for the future of my grandchildren.

  111. @Lalo But seriously, why the surprise? Republicans have always been like this. They always need an edge, their fingers on the scale. You never really expected Trump to be thrown out of office, did you?

  112. This is a green light to Russia to begin the hacking of the 2020 election with the knowledge that they have a free hand. No one is watching. How can this not be the end of the Republic?

  113. I'm waiting for 2024 when Trump (assuming he wins 2020) argues that two terms don’t apply to him and are part of an unconstitutional amendment because FDR was elected four times. (So there, too!) Can happen, folks. We’ve seen the signs this week.

  114. The Senate should look at the context of our times to gauge whether the charges are impeachable. There are two overriding factors that should have been recognized by any senator interested in doing their job of checks and balances. 1. With foreign interference in our elections threatening our democracy, the invitation by Trump to other countries to influence outcome is impeachable. 2. The senate should also look at the person in the executive office. Trump has already proven he doesn't think laws apply to him and therefore he does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. He should be impeached.

  115. Roberts can still subpoena Bolton, can he not? Does he really want to go down in history as playing the role of a potted plant in a kangaroo court?

  116. @oldBassGuy Meet the potted plant.

  117. @oldBassGuy He already has. Time to water him.

  118. The entirely corrupted and self-dealing Republican Party will "inherit the wind" -- hopefully sooner rather than later -- but certainly in good time. (See Proverbs 11:29)

  119. What's Impeachable for Republicans? Easy and the same as for ratifying a Supreme Court Justice. Call them the McConnell amendments to the now defunct Constitution. The Republican Senate will never vote to impeach a Republican President and they will never vote to confirm a Court Justice nominated by a Democratic President. The quid pro quo is that whenever the Democrats control the Senate they follow the same new amendment for a Democratic President or against a Republican nominated to the Courts. Witnesses, actions, etc. are irrelevant.

  120. @Dave H Republicans (some at least) voted to confirm Elena Kagan, Sotomeyer, and almost unanimously for Ruth Bader Ginsberg. How may Democrats for Neil Gorsuch? How many for Brett Kavanaugh? How many Circuit Court nominees did Dems try to filibuster vs. how many did Republicans filibuster of Obama's nominees? Please try to infuse your posts with facts and statistics vs. hyperbole. Nixon impeachment vote was bipartisan, and Republicans convinced him to resign before he was due to be tried in the Senate. Clinton impeachment was bipartisan as well. Only bipartisan vote for Trump's impeachment was AGAINST impeachment, and I suspect the vote to acquit will be as well - pretty sums it up, doesn't it.

  121. It would have gone better in Senate if House had used a more equitable process allowing Rs to have witnesses and open cross exam of the witnesses Ds called, and if Ds had taken the time to get court rulings on executive privilege. The House process set a weak case for fairness. We Ds were not well served by House process.

  122. @david The problem is that any witnesses called by the R’s would have been to shift the narrative to the Bidens. Then the impeachment becomes not a referendum on Trumps conduct but a fishing expedition on the Bidens corruption.

  123. @david, sounds reasonable if you ignore the fact that Trump is trying to influence the election and court cases take too long. You're essentially arguing they should have let him cheat. And he shouldn't have been blocking all testimony and documents in the first place.

  124. @david There is no way whatsoever that things could have "gone better in Senate." No matter what the Democrats did, the Republicans would vote en bloc. They are not the least bit concerned with procedures or even with the underlying reason for the impeachment. The fix was in, thanks to DJT, and the Republicans will march in lockstep from now on. But this result was in the offing much earlier as the right wing has vigorously deployed the utmost dishonesty and unfairness to gain and retain power. This certainly was ion view in the 2000 election, a blatant scam whose result was the fraudulent Iraq war and the shedding of blood of coutless innocent people at the red hands of Bush and Cheney. We can only hope that Trump will continue his pattern of lazy golf and chickenhawk bluster and not deploy our military on that scale again. But he might, just for diversion. We are in his hands, and lord help us all.

  125. Trump's administration cancelled concept of three equal branches of the government. Refusal to respect the subpoenas from Congress and having the Justice Department as his own private possession made the Executive branch the ruling body, with a king or emperor or dictator-your pick- calling the shots. Even if a Democrat is elected in November, the temptation of power will to big to redress the balance.

  126. @Jay Tan Jay, have you forgotten Obama's "pen and phone"? and his Attorney General describing himself as "the President's Wingman"? And when he refused to submit evidence on "Fast and Furious", even after being voted in contempt of Congress for his stonewalling? There's plenty of evidence that this behavior started long before the Trump administration, and now that "turnabout" is happening, folks are suddenly squealing, go figure.

  127. Taylor, two wrongs don’t make a right, and it started long before Obama—for (one) example, now-attorney general Barr (open theocrat) and Iran-Contra.

  128. It is really time that we Americans, those in country and those like me living abroad, get out in the streets. If Greta Thunberg can start a movement on climate change, surely we can make our voices heard to resurrect our dying democracy. I've never been one for protesting, but I don't want to be on my deathbed realizing I did nothing to stop this. I don't want to look in the mirror and see a reflection of cowardice. I don't want to see Lisa Murkowski looking back at me. No democratic system, no matter how many checks and balances, can survive if we don't fight for it. Things are NOT just going to get better.

  129. The Republicans have furthered weakened the rule of law. It appears the Constitution has only selective relevance for them.

  130. The only criteria Republicans need to impeach a President is if he or she is a Democrat.

  131. Did the Republicans ever impeach Obama? Even when they controlled both houses of congress?

  132. The logic that “the American people will decide” is not how our Republic works. If that were the case Clinton would be president right now. Or, national referendums would be held for abortion, etc.

  133. @South Of Albany Careful what you ask for - a national referendum on Abortion would limit the procedure to the first 20 weeks - look at the data, or look at the March for Life, Abortion supporters (for any reason, at any time) have relied on the courts to get their way, not on popular opinion, which is overwhelming for restrictions on abortion.

  134. What's impeachable to republicans? Only something that will put their own political careers at risk.

  135. First rule of thumb for Republicans. Is the president a Democrat? Yes, president is impeachable. Is the president a Republican. No, president is not impeachable.

  136. Now that the United States Senate has refused to hear Witnesses against President Trump, corruption will no longer be hidden in the shadows, and in fact, is being praised by the GOP, and one third of the US population. The United States is now run by a rogue, dictatorial, oligarchy, and the 'Democratic United States of America', that the global communities used to Know, no longer exists.

  137. @James Tripp Maybe we as citizens can solicit help from another country? France, maybe?

  138. This argument of Senator Alexander's that 'the country won't tolerate not being able to vote for Trump, and there will be cultural blowback' - I'm frankly offended that no one thinks cultural blowback on the left is anything to be worried about. These people essentially said, If you're in power and we're in your party, you can cheat and suppress the will of the other party, even if they're in the numerical majority of the nation. This isn't America.

  139. @ann, I noticed that too. Using the words "Americans" and "country" when what they mean is Trump's base and the right-wing media bubble.

  140. As we are reminded over and over, impeachment is a political process. It is not a legal matter. Essentially when a party is in the majority and unified, that party makes the rules. The republicans are doing what they see as best for their political future. To these republicans they view the situation as existential and they are right. If Trump is impeached, they face multiple cycles of political inferiority. Additionally any lengthening of the impeachment trial is against their interests. On the other side are unknowns, but the refusal to allow a real and fair trial may backfire, resulting in widespread outrage across the country. Trump will not lose his base, but he has probably lost the advantage that he enjoyed in 2016. There almost certainly will be a massive voter turnout this year and that works against Trump. Republicans in congress are going to pay a price as well. I think that America is better and more resilient than some think. The constitution and the rule of law have taken a terrible beating. In due course there is no way that hindsight will look favorably upon the perpetrators of the immoral and shamelessly partisan behavior of republicans in congress. They are stoned on Trump's Kool-Aid and have joined him in his practice of espousing lies and half truths. The long game is going to be very harsh for liars.

  141. Mitch McConnell and senate republicans have systematically dismantled and ultimately destroyed the workings of Democracy in this country. Did they really think it was worth throwing truth and rational governance out the window for the petty little man currently in the Oval Office, or rather, at Mar-A-Lago? The only small consolation is that, when a Democrat is elected president, she will be able to tackle climate change, healthcare, and wealth inequality without restraint. I cannot wait for that situation; I love hearing conservatives screaming.

  142. @wcdevins, I don't think it's for Trump. It's to try to prevent Democrats from winning elections-- it's for their own power. Keeping in lock-step, voting in conservative judges, passing laws that reduce voter participation, extreme gerrymandering. Then tax cuts for themselves and a revolving door when they leave.

  143. Let me get this straight. According to many Republicans, the President did do what the articles of impeachment say he did, and it was "wrong" and "inappropriate" but not impeachable. And, we should allow the next election to determine his future--that would be the election he is seeking to subvert with help from foreign actors, wouldn't it? What is to stop him, given the Senate's inaction, from going forward next week with his requests for such foreign assistance? He will likely, again, ask Russia for help (as he did in 2016--"Russia, if you're listening..."). He will stand on the White House lawn again and ask China to investigate American citizens and candidates. He will abuse his power, again, over foreign aid to strong-arm governments like Ukraine into doing his bidding. If this stands, our democracy is as good as dead.

  144. @PSEK You are correct. If citizens are rumors that they are extremely corrupt, and they are running for office, there should be an investigation for the benefit of Americans.

  145. Before starting this whole nonsense and handing the President his glorious victory, maybe the Dems should have nailed down a few Republicans first.

  146. The argument that impeachment is wrong because it undoes the election isn’t an argument against this impeachment. It’s an argument against all impeachments. In other words, it’s a rejection of the constitution. What impeachment would ever avoid this criticism? How is that people who fought for impeachment of Clinton now argue that the very idea of an impeachment is anti-democratic? How is that Republicans beneath themselves before the constitution and then systematically ignore or contradict it whenever it doesn’t further their goals? A constitution is worthless if you only follow it when it suits you.

  147. @Baldwin I'm not shocked that the lying Republicans would use any argument to keep a criminal President in power. I'm just shocked that the NY Times in every single news article has endorsed the Republican view as being absolutely as valid as the "partisan" view that the Democrats have. Because when the Republicans believe the President is King and the Democrats disagree, the NY Times believes that reporting what the Constitution actually says (which happens to be the Democrat position) would be far too partisan. This newspaper has become an embarrassment to democracy. And I blame this newspaper for helping the Republicans murder democracy. You were their willing executioners with your "fair and balanced" reporting that did so much damage to this country. If the Republicans say a lie and the Democrats say a truth, readers can count on the NY Times to report it as a "he said, he said, it's just a partisan issue".

  148. If Obama had done a thousandth of Trump’s transgressions the Republicans would have called for his impeachment; if he had done a tenth, the Democrats would have convicted. Party before country, their priorities will be plain to any rational voter.

  149. Well that was a nice run. The United States as we know it is no longer. It is not a nation of laws. It is a corrupt rogue nation with a newly appointed dictator. It is really hard to believe that it’s over. Vote all you want in November, Trump will win. Remember he can do anything he wants now to win the election.

  150. Vote anyway. Don’t give in to despair.

  151. After this, nothing more is impeachable. The Republicans have destroyed the balance of government, and the president now has absolute power. What? He can do whatever he wants if he thinks his re-election will be good for the country?

  152. It seems to me that the Congress has rendered themselves irrelevant! Time and time again they have given there powers over to the Executive branch, and now Trump has taken it to it’s logical conclusion. I suggest anyone with any integrity still struggling to hang on in the Fed, resign now before the label of culpability falls on you too.

  153. The logic of Lamar Alexander is the logic that the Nazis used in 1933: we are not the majority, but if we do not get our will we shall burn the place down. Ugly ugly ugly GOP.

  154. Given what i just heard rubio supposedly admitted to, though not in specific words but only intimation, the house proved its case, the level of removal was reached, but he felt the nation was too divided to take that step, to vote for removal, himself. If that's true, and if the interpretation is true, i don't see how getting a king to rule over us can be anything but far more harmful to the country than any excuse generated harm would be caused by the removal of the pretender to a throne the pretender himself wants to establish. It's like democracy is a grape being thrown to floor and, squish!, stepped on.

  155. With a country and senate fiercely divided 50:50, and the new definition of presidential powers, isn’t the question: WHO is ever impeachable?

  156. @Me Be careful who you vote for . . . Cheers.

  157. What's Impeachable? I'm sure the Republicans will let us know as soon as there is a Democratic President.

  158. Now that Trump will almost certainly be acquitted in his impeachment trial, it should be noted that many of his supporters agree in varying degrees that he is a lewd, uncouth, lying, lout. And despite being supporters, some disapprove of these personality traits, while others enthusiastically applaud these traits. But these personality traits, as despicable as they may be, are not impeachable offenses and they may help propel him to re-election. That is the new state of American politics.

  159. Do not put your faith in these men and women. They are vacuous and without moral courage. They do not even believe in themselves, as video has so sadly demonstrated.The foxes are in the henhouse.They serve only themselves and their cartoon mob boss, not the constituents who pay them. They will only understand forced retirement administered by the people. And the people will have to decide that they are not serfs. No matter what the traveling carnival decides.America has been hoodwinked by third rate( at best) criminals.

  160. What's impeachable? With Trump, absolutely nothing. Expect Trump to ramp up his involvement with the Russians, to garner even more support from them to tamper with the November election. Heck, the Senate gave him the green light to do just that today. But then things will get exponentially worse. Trump understands now that he is limited only by his imagination and the laws of physics. Expand the internment camps to include brown-skinned American citizens? Why not. Target journalists and prominent Democrats and imprison them as political enemies? Why not. Organize his more rabid supporters into paramilitary thugs to intimidate the rest of us? Why not. Seal the borders so that those of us who want to try to leave may not? He's already talked about doing this. As of today, we are squarely within a dictatorship. We have a toadying Senate and a Supreme Court that will rubber stamp everything Trump does (remember their kowtowing in the Muslim ban and Wall cases?). Now is the time for those of us who are neither white nor Christian to think long and hard about our safety, and our families' safety. Trump's exoneration will empower groups like the Proud Boys to become more extreme. We understand that to Trump and his supporters, we are not welcome in this country. And we know now that we are entirely vulnerable to anything they do to us. When no one will enforce the laws designed to protect all of us, then some of us know we're on borrowed time in this country.

  161. @Orion Clemens Amen. There should be zero belief that the Constitution will be a fount of justice and equality for all people with Trump and the GOP. They've made it the latest version of the "Whites Only" drinking fountain.

  162. In the words of justice Potter Stewart: ‘I know when I see it.’ And so it is for whatever is impeachable.

  163. The Republican Senators that voted lockstep have done a great injustice to the people of this country . They'll know it when they see it is just another excuse for non-involvement and executing their jobs . This is akin to seeing a murder and not reporting it because they don't want to get involved ; their fear of not getting re-elected is worth selling their souls for a man without a soul . Whatever they have gained will perpetuate more division ; Lamar Alexander is wrong . They have done great harm to our country and its governance . At least Senators Collins and Romney showed they have the right stuff and did the right thing .

  164. The only "divide" in this country is between those who believe in democracy and the Constitution and those who believe that power is more important than democracy. On the one side is all Democrats in Congress and most Americans. On the other side is all Republicans in Congress and the Americans who Trump said would be fine with him shooting someone on Fifth Avenue. Unless and until the NY Times and its reporting staff understand this, they will continue to write articles to give legitimacy to that small group of Americans (which happens to include all Republicans in Congress and in the White House) who don't want democracy and think the Constitution does not apply to Republicans.

  165. I had some confidence that Chief Justice Roberts would discover a way to preside over the trial in a manner that would allow for a full presentation of evidence -- including documents and witnesses -- against Trump. I was wrong.

  166. @A. Stanto, imagine through which lenses Roberts interprets the constitution and it should be no surprise that he's just another privileged, wealthy, white guy who let's all of his privileged, wealthy, white guy friends do whatever they want.

  167. Just an innocent question that could yet salvage something like the country I thought I was living in before 51-49: A jury (what the Senate is now) considers the guilty/not guilty verdict. If the jury is then involved in the penalty phase (only in capital cases?) that is a separate deliberation and vote. Could we do that here? The Senate first votes on guilty/not guilty (Alexander for one would have to vote "guilty"), then votes on penalty (does the crime warrant removal from office? Or just censure as someone has suggested?). That might allow a majority to vote guilty yet allow them not to remove him in an election year (let the people do that).

  168. The same people who think was Trump did is not an impeachable offense would have voted to impeach Bill Clinton for lying about a consensual encounter between two adults in a nanosecond. If Republicans set their the bar for impeachment at the level of 'lying", Trump would have been impeached on January 21st, 2017. It's not about what is or is not impeachable. It's a group of people putting party before the country.

  169. I suspect that succession will be the only remedy to Republican loyalty to Trump. Some are predicting that Trump will be completely emboldened to steal the election or call it off. If this happens, Blue states will need to secede from the Union. The majority of the population resides in Blue states; it is where the majority of the wealth is taxed and goes to support Red states. I am not alone in this assessment.

  170. "Impeachable offense" is not the issue. Impeachment has already happened. The real issue now is what is a "removable offense." That is, what is enough to justify removing the President. A removable offense is one that is unacceptable for a sitting President. And in popular lingo, we're talking about "conduct unbecoming a President." Forget abstract argument. The issue is most understandable in its context in "A Few Good Men." In that ovie, Jack Nicholson ordered a "Code Red", an extrajudicial punishment that resulted in a Marine's death. And he was found guilty and was court martialed. Trump likewise acted outside the law, but the consequences were minor. So the question is whether the minor consequences of his actions undermine the effort to remove him. The bottom line question is whether Trump's willingness to step over the line, in and of itself, justifies removal. In other words, does Trump's wrongful intent outweigh the minor consequences of his actions. You can argue this until the cows come home. But at leas you're arguing the right question--whether an entirely inappropriate scheme is mitigated by relatively minor consequences. That's the issue.

  171. @michjas ...Conspiracy to commit murder would not be considered "minor" just because the conspiring parties failed to complete the act.

  172. To be clear, the Republican senators voted against hearing witnesses yesterday. They weren't voting on removing the President. They voted against getting information to make a decision on removal. They chose not to hear relevant testimony because they knew it would be damaging to Trump. Framing the issue as a discussion of what constitutes an impeachable offense, gives these senators too much credit. They voted to cover up for Trump.

  173. I listened to the roll call vote, and felt like at any moment I could burst into tears. What the nation just witnessed this afternoon was the death of a nation that once prided itself on the rule of law above all other considerations. A nation where everyone is equal, where someone like me and someone like Donald Trump would be treated equally, where witnesses would be called to, at minimum, determine our guilt or our innocence. Naive, I know, but now I have proof positive that that is not, and probably never was, true. Not here where right _once_ mattered. I weep for the death of what I once considered my country.

  174. When Trump is acquitted, it is the end of 'Congressional oversight of the Executive branch'. It is the end of 'checks and balances' as a reality, however much lip service might still be paid to the concept. What is to prevent every future president, of either party, from directing his administration's members to ignore the Congress any time it calls for appearances before committees, stages investigations, or issues subpoenas? What are they going to do -- impeach them? And so what if they do - the bar is so high for "impeachable" now that any future president can do whatever they want, claim it is 'in the public interest' that they get to do it, and tell the Congress to 'go fish' when they object. The 'power of the purse'? What does that mean, when Trump has diverted Billions in funds appropriate for other things to "the Wall"? What are they going to do - impeach him?! So much for Congress - they have followed Trump, and run themselves down the drain to irrelevancy... they just haven't awakened from their delusions yet. Bet on the next Democratic president being emboldened by this - and the next Trey Gowdy being told 'pound sand' when Republicans stage an 'investigation' into something they don't like... Shortsighted Republicans have given away their power, out of fealty to Trump. To Trump. I hope they think it was worth it come that future day.

  175. The Republicans have tipped their hand, here. First, they said there was no pressure. Then they said no quid pro. Then they claimed it was bad but not impeachable. Now, some (i.e. Rubio) are saying yes he did it, yes it is impeachable, but we just don't care. The Republicans have sold America down the river in exchange for maybe getting reelected.

  176. It all depends on which party is in control of both the house and the senate as was obvious in this kangaroo court.

  177. Democrats continue to allow Adam Schiff to lead them down paths of disappointment. He did it with the Russia Hoax. He told the Trump-haters that he had the goods. He said he had seen the evidence. When it was all said and done, those were lies. He had nothing. Apparently, Democrats don’t learn easily because once again, Adam Schiff fabricated and manipulated the impeachment situation; all the while telling Democrats he would take down the President. In the end, he lied again. He no more had the ability to remove Trump then the man in the moon. And once again, Trump-haters are stupefied. It’s amazing how gullible Trump-haters appear to be when it comes to removing him. They will believe anything from anybody.

  178. For the Putin republicans, an impeachable offense is actually quite easy to recognize. It’s anything a democratic president does. Next question?

  179. Republicans are drunk on being in a position of power. That’s why they hold their nose during all of the boorish behavior of Trump. So, the outcome of the impeachment trial was always a foregone conclusion. But, they have lost touch with the idea of representing the American people.

  180. I don’t think the Senate can claim to have conducted a trial no matter how they spin it or what Jay Sekulow says. No witnesses, no evidence equals no trial.

  181. What’s “ Impeachable “ ? Republican in Office- NOTHING Democrat in Office- Whatever the GOP says it IS. So ends the lesson. Seriously.

  182. Would the Republicans have convicted President Obama of the exact same charges. Yes in a New York Minute. Utter and complete hypocrisy by the Republicans which is no less than what I expected. But oh how the tables will be turned with a Democrat president in the White House who will be given this golden mandate derived from this new precedent that Presidents are above the law be they Republicans or Democrats. A national emergency... gun violence ...gun control done. National emergency ... universal health ... done. Oh how Republicans will squeal then. Tough luck.

  183. They'll know it when they see it, alright. As long as they're not looking at a Republican.

  184. Do Democrats know how they sound when they talk to republicans? If you want Republicans to help you ... might want to work on that.

  185. Wouldn’t it be just like Donald Trump to have folks think he’s just “a little impeachable, but not quite too much” or not “enough serious” which is perfectly ok. So what is “serious” then? We can hear the hat rallies coming down the pike.

  186. So Trump was right way back when he said that he could walk down a New York city street and shoot somebody and not be prosecuted.... what he and his cronies have done to our democracy is really tragic. I am so disgusted by the whole thing I would rather see both Biden and Trump taken off the ballot for 2020... I don't want anything to do with either one of them. Anything is okay as long as you are a Republican, power is everything, and the Constitution and our elections are reduced to meaningless footnotes. This whole episode is just one more nail in the coffin of our dying democracy.

  187. "It would be easier to take the defense’s process objections more seriously if.." That "if".. is irrelevant. Because Ms Cottle didn't touch -- Donald Trump's order for NO EVIDENCE, NO TESTIMONY, NO NOTHING to House requests. Ms Cottle's response is barely a nag at the defense. Ms Cottle leaves Gail Mangham, Prescott, Ariz to think -- it's.. easy enough.. to take the defense’s process objections seriously. The People only know what they know because the House ran an inquiry and they only received some evidence and testimony because stalwart, career officials DEFIED TRUMP'S UNLAWFUL ORDER. The People have a pretty good idea of the truth: 1. Donald Trump got caught extracting a political dirty trick and obstructed Congress with an unprecedented hush-up order. 2. Fifty-one Republican Senators are counting-on The People forgetting this day.

  188. "Republican Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and John Kennedy of Louisiana have both suggested that proving a quid pro quo is not enough, and that the real test should be whether the president’s intentions were corrupt." Trump, who used his charitable foundation for personal gain, who scammed thousands of students out of their money for a fake education, who paid off women for sexual affairs, who cheated on his business dealings, etc. Sorry, but for Trump, corrupt is the baseline.

  189. Regarding Lindsey Graham's change of mind on what is impeachable since the Clinton impeachment, Michelle says, "Needless to say, Mr. Graham no longer believes what he said — although, to be fair it’s hard to know for certain what he believes." We are not alone in not knowing what he believes because neither does he have a clue what he believes. In other words, he has no principles, no moral compass, no comprehension of right and wrong, nor does he have a sense of magnitude of an offense. Yesterday, Graham believed lying to hide a sexual affair to avoid embarrassing yourself and your family was impeachable; today, he believes lying to hide extortion of a foreign leader to smear a political opponent and cheat in an election is not only not impeachable, it is a "perfect" example of American democracy in action.

  190. Impeachable offenses are treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors (OHCM). OHCM was apparently pretty well understood by the Framers to refer to abuses of positions of authority or power. A good example is Trump using the Presidency to withhold financial support to the Ukraine until they announced investigations into the Bidens and into Ukraine, not Russia, meddling in the 2016 election. Trump will provide additional examples in 2020, now that he can get away with pretty much anything without being punished, assuming he is caught.

  191. Looking for answers? The only answer to all these questions is that people inherently know what is right and what is wrong, and that those who side with wrong do so because they somehow benefit for doing so. And when doing so, slide further into the wrong from where the pit gets forever deeper and harder to extricate oneself from. Hence we are here now in country burdened with lies upon lies because politicians are scoundrels without a spine between them.

  192. No they won’t. Protecting the crime boss is in their own self interest. Patriots are few and far between. We have just moved a little closer to Moscow.

  193. While Ms. Cottle asks "What's impeachable? They'll know it when they see it," elsewhere on the NYT website is the blog entry "Key Ukraine players hold court at the Trump Hotel." Bribery, obstruction, AND emoluments. To quote Adam Schiff, "You can't make this stuff up." For three years, we've witnessed Trump standing in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue shredding the Constitution. No one stopped him.

  194. Seems to me that with any president, from any party, at any point in our history, what Trump did would be an impeachable offense.

  195. Every time someone says it can't get any worse... What's next?

  196. In my view, Trump is a disgrace and should be voted out of office this November for the good of this country. But let's not delude ourselves: how each of us viewed the severity of Trump's offense was filtered through the lens of how we view Trump generally. Just like each of us filtered the gravity of Bill Clinton's conduct to get to the desired result. We liberals should not forget that Clinton lied under oath to a federal grand jury, and separately committed perjury in his deposition, for which he was heavily sanctioned by the court and ultimately agreed to a five-year suspension of his law license. Yet we liberals overlooked the specter of a sitting president lying multiple times under oath to promote his personal interest. Why? Because he was "us" and his accusers were "them", and there was no way we were going to give "them" the satisfaction of removing our guy. And we minimized and conveniently dismissed the highly credible sexual assault account of Juanita Broaddrick, again because we viewed it as promoted by political opponents intent to take him down. So let's take a deep breath and remember that we are all capable of massive rationalizations to support those on our team, just as we are remarkably skilled at magnifying the bad acts of our foes.

  197. Well, number one, it has to be a Democrat, number two, it can't hurt my re-election chances, and C, if it exposes my love of yummy Soviet oligarch munney, well that's a non-starter.

  198. I agree with Maxine Waters. 100% If you can get 67 out of 100 senators to say he has to go, it doesn’t matter, not 1%, what he’s “guilty” of.

  199. The Republican Senate has turned the impeachment trial into the Coronation of King Trump. They have successfully defeated America.

  200. I’m a lifelong Democrat more liberal than any Democrat running for President. I consider myself informed and followed the impeachment hearings in the house and the trial in the senate. I was never convinced that what Trump did in the Ukraine matter was impeachable. Frankly, I’m much more bothered by his policies of human rights violations and environmental degradation, or his sexist, racist, and bullying behavior, than anything he did regarding Ukraine.

  201. Marco rubio - It's better to have a king than to impeach, remove and cause further division in the country. Any of you agree with that? It's his reason for voting no witnesses even though he believes the dems exposed the truth. He knows what's impeachable, he believes trump committed a removable offense, but refuses to even take the interim step of calling for witnesses. To save his own job and nothing else. "Rubio’s analysis of Trump’s conduct differed from other Republican senators. In his statement, Rubio said he assumed the allegations made by Democrats about Trump’s conduct were true when considering whether or not to convict. “Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a president from office,” Rubio wrote. https://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2020/01/31/marco-rubio-on-impeachment-doing-so-would-inflict-extraordinary-irreparable-damage/

  202. Since we are no longer a nation of laws I guess Trump will run in 2024 and beyond. Maybe he will retire in 5 or 6 years and appoint Ivanka to rule the land.

  203. People are pretending to be confused by this, but it's really quite clear. Nothing is impeachable unless done by a Democrat.

  204. LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE, I heard over and over. Aaaaah? Call it by its real name; Let the Electoral College Decide. There, I fixed it. I don't know what to call what I watched and listened to the last few days, regarding witnesses, but it was loaded with propaganda and innuendo. Overall, the president's defense team's logic was infantile. Almost every sentence was easily debunked or refutable or not germane to the issue. However, the setup of this event mostly prevented challenges. Hey Australia, the U.S. needs your Kangaroos for our courts.

  205. As you likely know--but stop a little short of saying--there is no longer any question of "beliefs" when it comes to Republicans, and not just Lindsey Graham. The only difference between him and the others is that he is more garrulous, to his detriment. They have no ideas, princples, or beliefs; they merely cynically look at their hole cards. Right now, they calculate, perhaps correctly, that it would hurt their interests to defy Trump. If they came to think that it would serve their interests to defy him, they would, in a New York minute. They, as much as anyone else, see him for the contemptible person that he is. (You need not be the next Sigmund Freud to reach that conclusion--you need only listen to him for about 30 seconds, if you can stand it for so long.) They merely fear him, and use him for their purposes.

  206. One of the real problems is that this very so-called liberal newspaper have been jumping through hoops to normalize Republican abandonment of the Constitution. Instead of headlines that are accurate like "Republicans vote for cover up for Trump" "Republicans abandon the Constitution" "Republicans endorse Trump's crimes", this newspaper provides readers with "very very serious" analyses of what the Republican point of view is with a very very serious contrast of what the "partisan Democrats" point of view is. The "facts" cannot be reported as fact by this newspaper if the Republicans offer lies, because of the reporters' great fear of being called "biased". Facts are not partisan, but they are reported as such in every news article in this paper because of the reporters' great fear of looking "biased" when Republicans spew blatant lies. Republicans don't say "I'll know it when I see it" about impeachment. What a typical headline to normalize the lawbreaking that Republicans endorse. What Republicans say about impeachment is "if a Republican President does it, it is legal." And they would say that if Trump shot someone on Fifth Avenue. And this newspaper would report the Republicans endorsement of that shooting as if it were fact-based and only "partisan" Democrats have a different view.

  207. Republicans once again show themselves to be masters of hypocrisy. They complain that the House of Representatives, which referred the impeachment of President Trump to the Senate for trial, did not have a witness to his squeezing the beleaguered Ukrainians to announce an investigation of Joe Biden. But when a witness came forward, they refused to call him. They argued in the Senate that the House should have gone to court to compel witness testimony, while Republican lawyers argued in the courts that the House cannot compel witness testimony. But any court case (like one still in court, to enforce a subpoena concerning Russian election interference in 2016) would delay testimony past the 2020 election, which Trump tried to rig via Ukraine. Republicans say that the people in November, not the Senate, should decide Trump’s future. Meanwhile they disenfranchise Democratic voters: closing polling places, eliminating voting days, throwing registered voters off the rolls, passing specious voter ID laws. Republican Senators quoted Democratic lawmakers who had spoken against Clinton’s impeachment, ignoring the gravity of Trump’s offense. Compare that with Clinton’s lie about an adultery, which followed a four year investigation that turned up only a perjury trap. What hypocrisy!

  208. Truth will out!