Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Adam Schiff and Missing Mental States

 

I am still confused by Rep. Schiff’s repeated claim that Trump must be impeached for attempting to interfere in the 2020 election. I know that Jen Rubin, Bill Kristol, and the wider NeverTrump universe are in near-orgasmic agreement with whatever Schiff says in his anointed role as Trump-Slayer-in-Chief (a title formerly held by Robert Mueller) but I find the logic of this particular charge convoluted. I don’t get it.

Let’s assume that the leadership of Ukraine capitulated to the pressure they did not know was being applied and began the investigations that Trump had requested (which have not yet begun and for which inaction there was never a consequence as would be expected in a quid pro quo— but never mind that now). [Note: See Comment #4 from @kozak below Turns out they were already investigating prior to the Trump request.]

If the investigation were to find nothing, then Mr. Biden not only suffers zero adverse political consequences but could then argue that he and his family were unfairly targeted—a political plus for being a victim. The only way Trump gains an advantage is if the Bidens are in fact dirty, i.e., the absurdly exorbitant payments to Biden the younger did, in fact, purchase the desired influence and protection from Biden the Elder in his role as point man for the US on Ukraine policy. Given the broad, detailed involvement of the Obama administration in the selection of investigative targets subject to Ukrainian anti-corruption law enforcement, it is entirely reasonable to believe that such an investigation is warranted and would be fruitful.

To be clear, Trump could only meaningfully affect the 2020 election if the Bidens are, in fact, dirty as revealed by further investigation. So, Schiff’s charge comes down to a really weird assertion that the President of the United States had no right (despite a treaty of express cooperation in investigative matters) to request/demand an investigation of apparent wrongdoing involving Americans if one or more of those Americans had a reasonable shot at securing the nomination of the Democratic Party, no matter how reasonable such an investigative request would be otherwise.

But let’s further assume that President Trump was gleeful at the prospect of a scandal bringing down his prospective rival. If there are other lawful considerations at work in delaying the aid, does the existence of this allegedly impure motive negate them? If he is antagonistic to and suspicious of Ukrainians in general for their overt assistance to the Clinton campaign and their widespread corruption, and he believes that such corruption is ongoing and pervasive, can he delay aid while insisting on a demonstration of serious anti-corruption actions of which the Biden investigation would be only a part? (Past presidents have tried to impound or delay spending they believed to be wasteful or misguided, including Obama, and have imposed conditions on its release. Not usually lawful but never regarded as a high crime until now.)

The transcripts of the phone calls (which Schiff clearly did not expect to be released) did not include a quid pro quo, yet in the Schiffian mental universe, we know it was there, somewhere in Trump’s mind because it had to be. The “whistleblower” had provided Schiff with an inaccurate, third-hand account of the phone call which formed the basis for the Schiff Impeachment drive. This continued despite expressly contrary evidence and a distinct lack of factual support because we know that bad intent thing is somewhere in Trump’s mind, which also helps explain why the search for evidence will be eternal.

We need to be clear that, because there were no unlawful actions, the prosecution has to come up with some kind of corrupt, unlawful intent behind otherwise lawful actions. The dispositive fact is that if President Trump reasonably believed the Bidens are dirty and an investigation was warranted on the facts, then it was not possible to have an improper intent, even if he simultaneously thought there was a potential political benefit in uncovering their bad actions.

The mental gymnastics required to ignore this simple truth and stay in Orange-Man-Bad mode must be tiring. It is certainly tiresome.

There are 24 comments.

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  1. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge

    . . . but I find the logic of this particular charge convoluted. I don’t get it.

    That’s because you’re using logic. Logic left the building long ago.

    And I’m joking, but I’m also serious. This is a form of moral panic. It is a derangement. I’m sure that the Democrats pulling the strings know exactly what they’re doing, but there are legions of followers in the Orange Man Bad cult who have been successfully mind-controlled. You can attempt to patiently explain the facts, use reason and logic, but it won’t matter.

    Orange Man Bad is an article of faith. You cannot reason someone out of a position that he was not reasoned into. We are dealing with a religious movement here.

    • #1
    • January 23, 2020, at 8:00 AM PST
    • 19 likes
  2. Rodin Member

    The easiest way to understand why Schiff is convinced of an improper motive on Trump’s part is to simply put Schiff in Trump’s place and ask: What would Adam Schiff do? Can you spell p.r.o.j.e.c.t.i.o.n?

    Ironically I don’t think bad motive is impeachable. Of course, G-d may have other plans for Adam Schiff.

    • #2
    • January 23, 2020, at 8:18 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  3. Kozak Member
    KozakJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Oh and by the way.

    When are the 4 Democratic Senators who were running for President, Sanders, Warren, Klobuchar and Harris going to recuse themselves for their massive conflict of interest on serving on the “Jury” trying the POTUS. Aren’t they trying to “influence the 2020 election”?

    • #3
    • January 23, 2020, at 8:21 AM PST
    • 14 likes
  4. Rodin Member

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Oh and by the way.

    When are the 4 Democratic Senators who were running for President, Sanders, Warren, Klobuchar and Harris Bennett going to recuse themselves for their massive conflict of interest on serving on the “Jury” trying the POTUS. Aren’t they trying to “influence the 2020 election”?

    I believe the answer to your question is “just shut up”.

    • #4
    • January 23, 2020, at 8:24 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  5. Kozak Member
    KozakJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    New info on the timeline of the investigation into Burisma and the Bidens corruption.

    • #5
    • January 23, 2020, at 8:29 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. Kozak Member
    KozakJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Oh and by the way.

    When are the 4 Democratic Senators who were running for President, Sanders, Warren, Klobuchar and Harris Bennett going to recuse themselves for their massive conflict of interest on serving on the “Jury” trying the POTUS. Aren’t they trying to “influence the 2020 election”?

    I believe the answer to your question is “just shut up”.

    Make that 5 then. Still include Harris because she was a candidate until recently. Missed Bennett because he never broke 1%….

    • #6
    • January 23, 2020, at 8:32 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  7. Rodin Member

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Oh and by the way.

    When are the 4 Democratic Senators who were running for President, Sanders, Warren, Klobuchar and Harris Bennett going to recuse themselves for their massive conflict of interest on serving on the “Jury” trying the POTUS. Aren’t they trying to “influence the 2020 election”?

    I believe the answer to your question is “just shut up”.

    Make that 5 then. Still include Harris because she was a candidate until recently. Missed Bennett because he never broke 1%….

    Under that criteria you make it 6 to include Booker. But, in reality there is nothing really court-like in the proceeding and attempts to analogize it to a conventional trial are problematic. All of the senators have some form of vested interest in the outcome and there is no “change of venue” option. It is the system. There is custom and there is precedent. But there is no review and minimal control by the people except for the 34 senators up for election this year. It just demonstrates that when you decide to depart from fealty to the constitution things can go horribly wrong quickly.

    • #7
    • January 23, 2020, at 8:39 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  8. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Oh and by the way.

    When are the 4 Democratic Senators who were running for President, Sanders, Warren, Klobuchar and Harris Bennett going to recuse themselves for their massive conflict of interest on serving on the “Jury” trying the POTUS. Aren’t they trying to “influence the 2020 election”?

    I believe the answer to your question is “just shut up”.

    Make that 5 then. Still include Harris because she was a candidate until recently. Missed Bennett because he never broke 1%….

    Under that criteria you make it 6 to include Booker. But, in reality there is nothing really court-like in the proceeding and attempts to analogize it to a conventional trial are problematic. All of the senators have some form of vested interest in the outcome and there is no “change of venue” option. It is the system. There is custom and there is precedent. But there is no review and minimal control by the people except for the 34 senators up for election this year. It just demonstrates that when you decide to depart from fealty to the constitution things can go horribly wrong quickly.

    Schiff takes the position that Trump’s lawyers must be disqualified because if Trump told them what he thought he did, then they are material witnesses to this elusive issue of mental state. Which would, of course apply to what lawyers replaced them ad infinitum. Schiff is a malignant buffoon.

    • #8
    • January 23, 2020, at 8:53 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  9. Rodin Member

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Schiff takes the position that Trump’s lawyers must be disqualified because if Trump told then what he thought he did, then they are material witnesses to this elusive issue of mental state. Which would, of course apply to what lawyers replaced them ad infinitum. Schiff is a malignant buffoon.

    To say nothing of his assertion that voting results are unreliable in the past and will be so in the future. Ergo, how can he be there? How can any of the senators be there?

    It is a truly Alice in Wonderland/Through the Look Glass moment.

    • #9
    • January 23, 2020, at 9:00 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  10. Kozak Member
    KozakJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

     

    ^

    This

    • #10
    • January 23, 2020, at 9:02 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  11. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas PrattJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I think when they say Trump will “interfere” with the 2020 election, they mean he has the effrontery to run in it.

    • #11
    • January 23, 2020, at 9:17 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  12. Guruforhire Member

    On the powerline podcast they made a compelling argument that when it comes to mixed motives, its which one is the dominant motive.

    • #12
    • January 23, 2020, at 10:14 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. Manny Member

    Let’s take the hypothetical that a president’s opponent’s son is corrupt as could be an was clearly involved in a criminal activity in another country. Does that give him immunity just because his father was running for President? Would the President’s hands be tied just because he had an opponent? I find the logic that Trump was corrupt just for asking Ukraine to look into the matter fallacious. He asked them to look into it. There was no quid pro quo. There is no corruption involved.

    • #13
    • January 23, 2020, at 10:42 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. Hartmann von Aue Member

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Oh and by the way.

    When are the 4 Democratic Senators who were running for President, Sanders, Warren, Klobuchar and Harris going to recuse themselves for their massive conflict of interest on serving on the “Jury” trying the POTUS. Aren’t they trying to “influence the 2020 election”?

    Yes, they are. Should they not recuse themselves? Or should McConnel not be able to block them from voting due to the obvious conflict of interest? 

    Also- who has the crystal ball that told them in 2019 that Biden would win the nomination? Or the court-admissible sworn-fair-witness (channeling Heinlein and Niven simultaneously there) knowledge that everyone on Trump’s re-election team considered him of all people the most credible threat?

    • #14
    • January 23, 2020, at 10:44 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  15. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    On the powerline podcast they made a compelling argument that when it comes to mixed motives, its which one is the dominant motive.

    So you have to prove the various contents of the mental state and then how they were ranked. Harder and harder…. What if it keeps changing or was a tie? He stopped the aid because he hated the Ukraine and then decided to keep the delay in place without telling anybody his new reason that it was because he wanted to get Joe Biden? What does “dominant” mean? That he would not have acted but for its inclusion? If he wanted to target Joe Biden because Biden is a pompous sleazebag member of a sleazebag administration that tried to do terrible things to Donald Trump whether or not Biden was ever the nominee, how do we weigh that?

    I listened to that podcast and the non-Constitutional expert litigator was driving the discussion. A lawful act that can only have lawful ends but done with bad intentions can be a high crime? I found that a stretch. Is it impeachable if a President signs a bill or appoints a judge or awards a military citation knowing (and precisely because) the particular act will upset the living hell out of his political enemies and boost his re-election chances and that of allies? Can it be impeachable to use government law enforcement resources to prove a potential political adversary is a criminal if there are legitimate reasons to believe that adversary is in fact a criminal? After what was done to Donald Trump before and after his election by a large slice of the entire Executive branch, impeachment for this kind of ‘misuse by intent’ is beyond parody.

    • #15
    • January 23, 2020, at 10:47 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  16. Guruforhire Member

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    On the powerline podcast they made a compelling argument that when it comes to mixed motives, its which one is the dominant motive.

    So you have to prove the various contents of the mental state and then how they were ranked. Harder and harder…. What if it keeps changing or was a tie? He stopped the aid because he hated the Ukraine and then decided to keep the delay in place without telling anybody his new reason that it was because he wanted to get Joe Biden? What does “dominant” mean? That he would not have acted but for its inclusion? If he wanted to target Joe Biden because Biden is a pompous sleazebag member of a sleazebag administration that tried to do terrible things to Donald Trump whether or not Biden was ever the nominee, how do we weigh that?

    I listened to that podcast and the non-Constitutional expert litigator was driving the discussion. A lawful act that can only have lawful ends but done with bad intentions can be a high crime? I found that a stretch. Is it impeachable if a President signs a bill or appoints a judge or awards a military citation knowing (and precisely because) the particular act will upset or the living hell out of his political enemies and boost his re-election chances and that of allies? Can it be impeachable to use government law enforcement resources to prove a potential political adversary is a criminal if there are legitimate reasons to believe that adversary is in fact a criminal? After what was done to Donald Trump before and after his election by a large slice of the entire Executive branch, impeachment for this kind of ‘misuse by intent’ is beyond parody.

    Therein lies the problem. The only evidence to Trump’s state of mind is that he wanted Ukraine to do the right thing. And during the call said that Biden’s behavior looks horrible, and asked if anything happened. To the extent that Trump is trying to politically profit from good government and his enemies tripping up, I think its clear that Trump’s primary interest is the appearance of corruption, or at least there is no evidence to the contrary.

    • #16
    • January 23, 2020, at 11:18 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  17. Sweezle Member

    It always amazes me how many Democrats or never-Trumpers on TV can read Trump’s mind.

    • #17
    • January 23, 2020, at 3:50 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  18. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    Schiff went further today. He said that if Trump is not impeached, the election will be invalid. I don’t think the country can handle many more years of the DNC claiming that elections are invalid. That is bad. Very bad.

    I say, if the Dems want to make it illegal to investigate former Senators running for president, then they should pass a law saying that. Go on the record with the above-the-law law.

    • #18
    • January 23, 2020, at 7:49 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  19. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):
    Schiff went further today. He said that if Trump is not impeached, the election will be invalid. I don’t think the country can handle many more years of the DNC claiming that elections are invalid. That is bad. Very bad.

    Do these people even know what they’re doing to the country anymore?

    Or is this just the first step in moving toward revoking the citizen’s right to vote?

    • #19
    • January 23, 2020, at 7:51 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  20. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):
    Schiff went further today. He said that if Trump is not impeached, the election will be invalid. I don’t think the country can handle many more years of the DNC claiming that elections are invalid. That is bad. Very bad.

    Do these people even know what they’re doing to the country anymore?

    Or is this just the first step in moving toward revoking the citizen’s right to vote?

    The only way to protect democracy is to exclude the voters. The voters threaten democracy by continuing to elect Republicans. 

    • #20
    • January 24, 2020, at 3:51 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):
    Schiff went further today. He said that if Trump is not impeached, the election will be invalid. I don’t think the country can handle many more years of the DNC claiming that elections are invalid. That is bad. Very bad.

    Do these people even know what they’re doing to the country anymore?

    Or is this just the first step in moving toward revoking the citizen’s right to vote?

    The only way to protect democracy is to exclude the voters. The voters threaten democracy by continuing to elect Republicans.

    I mean . . . the left is actually talking about making voting for President Trump illegal. This is actually from NBC News.

    Trump voters motivated by racism may be violating the Constitution. Can they be stopped?

    So we treat it as a joke, but the left is serious.

     

    • #21
    • January 24, 2020, at 7:31 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge

    John Hayward touches on this same idea in this great Twitter thread, of which this is a small portion. Click for the whole thread.

    • #22
    • January 24, 2020, at 8:27 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  23. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Schiff takes the position that Trump’s lawyers must be disqualified because if Trump told then what he thought he did, then they are material witnesses to this elusive issue of mental state. Which would, of course apply to what lawyers replaced them ad infinitum. Schiff is a malignant buffoon.

    To say nothing of his assertion that voting results are unreliable in the past and will be so in the future. Ergo, how can he be there? How can any of the senators be there?

    It is a truly Alice in Wonderland/Through the Look Glass moment.

    OldB & Rodin,

    Shiff’s Uncle Phillip also had problems. He had a disloyal crew that was pilfering rations. However, he used “geometric logic” to get to the bottom of it. Young Adam visited his Uncle Phillip in prison often. They were very close. Young Adam swore that someday he would prove how brilliant his Uncle was and how he had been betrayed.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #23
    • January 24, 2020, at 9:45 AM PST
    • 1 like
  24. Full Size Tabby Member

    Very helpful to my understanding of what is going on (because most news media and commentators are so bad at it) is a new podcast “Verdict with Ted Cruz” by Sen. Ted Cruz. Yes, he’s biased. Yes, he argues that the President should not be removed from office, and that the Democrats are wrong. But, it’s a first person report from someone who’s actually there, and he puts his position in the context of the Constitution and history, so the listener ends up with a better understanding of the proceedings than I get reading most news and commentary. The format has Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles asking the senator some questions. 

    • #24
    • January 24, 2020, at 10:38 AM PST
    • 1 like

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