The impeachment hearing, opening salvos

The impeachment hearing, opening salvos, by Paul Mirengoff.

Schiff ended with an over-the-top argument that what Trump is accused of doing is a major threat to the Constitution. It isn’t. Any abuse of power (and I believe one occurred) was limited and short-lived.

Schiff also said that if Trump’s conduct isn’t an impeachable offense, nothing is. That’s rubbish, of course. It’s easy to think of other offenses that would be impeachable if this one is not. An actual denial of aid to Ukraine, as opposed to the temporarily withholding of it, in retaliation for not investigating Joe Biden might be.

I found Nunes’s presentation disappointing. He tried to shift the focus away from Trump’s conduct. Indeed, he had almost nothing to say about the underlying allegation that Trump, for a time, conditioned military aid to Ukraine on an investigation of Joe Biden. …

Nunes’s opening salvo suggests to me that Trump’s House backers have little to say that contradicts the facts stated by Schiff.


George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, gave the first witness statement. … I understand Kent’s passion on the subject, as well as the perceived need to portray the matter of military aid to Ukraine as a big deal (though it wasn’t for President Obama). I agree with the gist of Kent’s presentation on the subject.

However, President Trump is not required to subscribe to the views of Kent and others in the foreign policy establishment … about Ukraine. Kent’s presentation played into the hands of Republicans who say that the root of this dispute is a policy disagreement between unelected bureaucrats and the elected President of the United States.


Bill Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, went next. … Taylor says he did believe until late in the day that there was a quid pro quo between aid and an investigation of Joe Biden (though he concluded early on that there was a quid pro quo between Ukraine’s president getting an invitation to the White House and such an investigation). When Taylor finally concluded that aid depended on investigating Biden, he seems to have had a solid basis for this belief.

In any case, any quid pro quo simply wasn’t effective. The Ukrainians got the aid, but they did not investigate the Bidens. Which rather implies that the suggestion of a quid pro quo either wasn’t made, or wasn’t understood, or was simply ignored with impunity.

The stained blue dress was way more substantial.