Some of the positions (not all I grant you) are consonant with intellectual honesty;

Bryan A. Garner; I’ve always called myself Republican. I keep my Twitter feed generally apolitical & will continue to do so. Generally. But as of today, I’m switching parties. Over impeachment. The Republican positions aren’t consonant with intellectual honesty. As of today, I’m an Independent.

1. ALL politicians use their official position to advantage themselves & disadvantage opponents. We clearly don’t believe as a body politic that that behavior is per se wrong.

2. So the question is what degree of this behavior becomes an abuse of power problematic enough that we deem it to be the type of “high crime & misdemeanor” that warrants impeachment & potential removal of a President. /2

3. Looking at the specific charges: none are alleged as “treason” or “bribery,” nor do the facts alleged fit either of those offenses, which leaves only “high crimes & misdemeanors” as options for grounds for impeachment under the Constitution. /3

4. The first charge is for “abuse of power.” This is a non-constitutional phrase & is exceptionally vague. It could mean almost anything. It could even be construed to apply to behavior that the opposition party does not like or approve of or to policy or political differences./4

That last definition must be rejected, as the Framers rejected both policy differences & “maladministrstion” as grounds for impeachment. To be constitutional, we would need to assume that “high crime or misdemeanor” is what is meant by “abuse of power.”/5

4.A One of the behaviors alleged as an “abuse of power” is the withholding of a meeting at the White House with the POTUS from President Zelinsky of Ukraine unless Zelinsky announced an investigation of Joe Biden, one of the Democratic candidates for the 2020 Presidential race./6

There would seem to be a factual defense here because the request for the investigation in the call with Zelinsky does not seem to concern Joe Biden at all, but rather the company Burisma and/or Hunter Biden, his son. That isn’t alleged, however./7

From a legal perspective, a White House meeting is not an official act & thus withholding it is not adequate to constitute bribery or fraud by a public official under the US code according to the Supreme Court’s McDonnell case (2016)./8

Although impeachment doesn’t necessarily require a violation of a criminal statute, the wrongfulness that the charge here is asserting is clearly that of a corrupt bargain as in bribery or fraud by a public official. The rationale of the McDonnell decision thus fully applies. /9

Politicians meet w/other politicians for a myriad of reasons because that’s how politics works. They nevertheless are not “official acts” because they aren’t actions by the politician in a matter in which the other person has an actual stake, like a contract or a case./10

A meeting, even a public one at the White House, is simply too inconsequential a benefit for the denial of it to rise to the level of an abuse of power, much less a high crime or misdemeanor, particularly when it absolutely wouldn’t be a crime under the ordinary criminal law. /11

4.B The second thing alleged in the abuse of power charge is the withholding of the military aid to Ukraine, again allegedly in exchange for an investigation of Joe Biden. The issue here is whether the request is wrongful (corrupt)& therefore a high crime or misdemeanor. /12

Here we run squarely into the issue of whether this behavior is of a kind or degree that we believe is so wrong that the President should be punished, because, as noted, all politicians use their offices to their own advantage & to disadvantage opponents. /13

For purposes of this analysis I’m assuming DJT made the request as alleged in the charge & that he would have benefited politically if Zelinsky had announced an investigation. This allegation is thus not for personal financial benefit which most Americans would think corrupt./14

So assuming the POTUS would have benefited politically from the request & all politicians do this generally, what specific facts here make the request sufficiently corrupt to constitute a high crime or misdemeanor? Obtaining information in & of itself is not corrupt. /15

The request didn’t ask for manufactured info; it wasn’t a request to create “dirt.” DJT’s belief that there’s info bad for Hunter Biden in Ukraine may/may not be accurate, but it’s not based on nothing. Biden appears to have gotten a Burisma board seat based on his name alone./16

The investigation side of the allegation isn’t a problem. One assertion seems to be that DJT is misusing his office because the President just shouldn’t make such a request. This ignores the reality that the POTUS is not just the POTUS. He is also a politician as well as . . /17

the leader of his party & that, at the same time & unlike almost all other politicians, he is effectively always working. He simply can’t compartment himself into work/candidate/personal segments as we expect other politicians to do. The POTUS is a unique Constitutional actor./18

To expect the POTUS not to act in ways that all politicians act because he is the country’s leader is unreasonable, unrealistic, inconsistent with how we’ve treated all other Presidents to date, & ignores the POTUS’s unique circumstances. /19

This leaves the issue of whether the behavior here is of such a degree that it rises to a high crime or misdemeanor for impeachment. Reasonable minds can surely differ on this question. Different people will weigh the seriousness differently. It is not dishonest to do so. /20

It *is* dishonest to say that a politician benefiting at all politically from using the powers of his office is per se wrong or warrants impeachment. That is nonsense. All politicians do this; the question is where along the spectrum of behavior it becomes abusive. /21

5. Finally that leaves the 2nd charge, which is for “obstruction of Congress.” This charges relies on allegations that DJT refused to comply with subpoenas for documents & ordered various executive branch officials to refuse to comply with subpoenas for documents & testimony./22

This charge alleges that DJT thereby interfered with the House’s sole power of impeachment under the Constitution. There are a myriad of legal defenses to this charge. It incorrectly states DJT had no “lawful cause or excuse” to ignore the subpoenas, w/o testing it in court./23

It ignores the POTUS’ co-equal status under the Constitution & his duty to uphold the Constitution & the rights of the Executive branch thru his interpretation of the Constitution unless it is properly overridden by the courts or Cogress thru their powers. /24

This article dangerously tries to nullify the co-equal powers of both the Executive & judicial branches. The House undoubtedly has the sole power of impeachment under the Constitution, but that does not make congressional subpoenas unchallengeable. That is laughable. /25

There are undoubtedly other defenses to the second charge, but my purpose here is not to lay out all of the available defenses, but simply to demonstrate that intellectually honest defenses absolutely exist. /26

Finally with respect to the articles of impeachment against DJT, even if a member of Congress believed all the facts alleged in the articles were established there would still be the matter of whether the member believed those facts established offenses justifying impeachment./27

Impeachment isn’t a lawsuit or criminal trial. Merely proving all the allegations doesn’t dictate the result. Impeachment is a unique & drastic action, overturning the electoral will of the people. Thus, it requires a judgement of necessity even if the allegations are proved./28

The argument to consider all the circumstances & to take into account all the things the POTUS has done, good or bad, in his term, must also be given weight & evaluated. Democratic elections are a unique privilege; they must not be set aside lightly. /29

I want to emphasize that these aren’t the only arguments available to contest the impeachment of DJT & it hasn’t been my purpose in this thread even necessarily to persuade against impeachment. The purpose has been to show that intellectually honest arguments exist to do so. /30

An argument can be either winning or losing & be intellectually honest. (Unfortunately the opposite is true too.) Ultimately a member of Congress might not be persuaded, but to say that there are no intellectually honest arguments to defend this impeachment is wrong. /31

Leslie McAdoo Gordon

Updated: December 18, 2019 — 6:10 pm
2 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
AnonymousAnonymous Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted

Yes ma’am I concur but this is the 21st-century we are dealing with Geo political situation


Every person who attacks President Trump is an enemy of humanity and of America and the peaceful world, I respected you, but apparently you were a human being who lost the correct view of things