David Holmes has provided evidence that indicates Trump's motives for requesting the leader of Ukraine investigate Biden's son:
"An official from the United States Embassy in Kiev confirmed to House impeachment investigators on Friday that he had overheard a call between President Trump and a top American diplomat in July in which the president asked whether Ukraine was going to move forward with an investigation he wanted...
“So, he’s going to do the investigation?” Mr. Trump asked, according to a copy of Mr. Holmes’s opening statement posted by CNN and confirmed by The New York Times...
After the call ended, Mr. Holmes asked if it was true that the president did not care about Ukraine. Mr. Sondland, he testified, agreed. According to Mr. Holmes’s account, the ambassador said Mr. Trump cared only about the 'big stuff'...
He told Mr. Holmes he meant “‘big stuff’ that benefits the president,” like the “Biden investigation” that his lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani was pushing for, because it affected him personally..."
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/15/us/p … -call.html
This evidence supports the view that Trump requested an investigation into Biden's son for personal gain, rather than to improve "corruption" in the Ukraine. We could deduce that already, but demonstrating intention is notoriously hard. The testimony we heard earlier from Taylor and now these other officials goes some way towards that.
A key point to remember is that while the courts have determined impeachment is a judicial proceeding, it's not a criminal proceeding. So there is absolutely no requirement to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt. As with civil proceedings, the standard of proof may simply be a preponderance of evidence, i.e. does the weight of evidence show that the accusation is more likely to be true than not.
In case there's any doubt, soliciting an investigation into a political rival for personal benefit constitutes an abuse of office. The fact that Trump's request would also impact an upcoming election makes it doubly bad.
The weight of evidence we are hearing related specifically to Trump's likely intentions, is starting to add up to the point where it's reasonable to conclude that when Trump asked President Zelensky to investigate Biden's son, his intention was more likely personal gain, than the country's interests. That constitutes an abuse of authority, which is something that warrants removal from office.
At this point, it seems the main defense from Trump's GOP enablers is to attack and discredit witnesses. If there were one witness, that might be a viable strategy, but when there are multiple officials and diplomats, who are just recounting what they saw and heard, the idea that they are all unreliable, or corrupt, or out to get Trump, becomes more untenable and outlandish.
Of course, it's not very likely Trump will be removed from office. That would require the GOP to grow a spine, but the accumulation of evidence demonstrating he should be, is still hugely important.
If the ill treatment of a well respected ambassador--who served under both dem and con POTUS admins--doesn't affect the way people are looking at Trump's impeachment then there's no justice, Don.
I do see many of his former supporters finally seeing the light. And the inquiry is only getting started with more to come.
"We could deduce that already, but demonstrating intention is notoriously hard."
I'd have to agree with that. Here we are, and Trump asking if the investigation by Ukraine would happen somehow "proves" it was for personal gain.
"As with civil proceedings, the standard of proof may simply be a preponderance of evidence"
That simply is not true; all that is needed for an impeachment is the political will to do so.
"In case there's any doubt, soliciting an investigation into a political rival for personal benefit constitutes an abuse of office."
And there it is again; can't find evidence? Keep repeating it often enough and it becomes fact (and political will) without ever having the need for proof.
So why did he want the Ukraine president to announce the investigation into the Bidens on CNN, Dan? They could have had an investigation without doing so, right? You can't see how this would benefit Trump? Really?
Hey, Randy, it's strange that Trump would think a biased, lamestream fake news channel like CNN would even run a story that would be damaging to Biden, or any Democrat for that matter. Why would he think anyone but Fox would care about such a story?
Trump asking about the investigation is not the point. The point is that people in direct contact with Trump conveyed to others that the president's main concern was the "Biden investigation” because it "affected him personally". This adds to the weight of evidence that suggests the president requested the investigation into Biden's son mainly for personal gain.
You are right, there is no official standard of proof for impeachment, other than what Congress collectively decides. That's why I said preponderance of evidence "may" be the standard, not is.
Beyond reasonable doubt is the highest standard of proof and is used for criminal proceedings because the severest penalties could be loss of life or liberty. Impeachment is not a criminal proceeding. The severest penalty for impeachment is removal from office. So I think it's sensible to apply some standard rather than none at all, but it's appropriate to apply preponderance of evidence as the de facto standard rather than reasonable doubt.
In any case that is the standard I'm applying to determine the strength of the evidence, i.e. does the accumulative evidence show that on the balance of probabilities, the allegation is more likely to be true than not.
I'm satisfied that currently available evidence allows someone to reasonably conclude that, on balance of probabilities, it's more likely that Trump requested an investigation into Biden's son for personal gain than not, and that subsequently Trump should be removed from office for abuse of authority.
"David Holmes has provided evidence that indicates Trump's motives for requesting the leader of Ukraine investigate Biden's son:" His words offered nothing to provide motive?
Trump provided evidence he asked Zelinsky to investigate the Biden's as well as CrowdStrike. He did this on a call that was witnessed by 12 individuals that could give a first-hand description of the conversation. One person on the call was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. .Holmes offered nothing that Trump had not already provided the public in the partial transcript of the call? He more or less repeated what Trump himself has provided?
In regards to his testimony of what Holmes overheard. The call-in question was between the president and Sondland one day after the Trump/Zelinsky call. it would certainly be normal for the president to ask Sondland if he thought or felt Zelinsky had or will do the investigation.
The rest of what Sondland told Holmes was his opinion on how he thought Trump felt about Ukraine. When Sondland testifies I am sure he will be asked questions on any conversations he had with the president in regards to what the president may have shared with him (firsthand0 about his feelings in regard to Ukraine. At this point, it remains Sondland opinion.
In my opinion, Holmes's testimony gave nothing to move the needle.
"This evidence supports the view that Trump requested an investigation into Biden's son for personal gain, rather than to improve "corruption" in Ukraine. "
Not sure how you came to this conclusion? We still have not heard the president's motive for the request or the hold on aid funds? So, motive or evidence of motive is just not there as of yet. I would hope in the weeks to come we will have explanations to motive.
Right now we are trying to construct a puzzle with only half the pieces.
"At this point, it seems the main defense from Trump's GOP enablers is to attack and discredit witnesses."
I have watched the three witnesses that were televised I saw no evidence of trying to discredit any of them? They stuck to questions in regards to what they knew about the call, did they ever meet the president, and did Trumps new Ukraine agenda help Ukraine more than the Obama administration. I saw not one personal attack on any of their reputation or job performance. So far the witnesses have added little information due to just not having much information to offer?
I would hope the Dem's have something more than this to back their need to impeach Trump. You have to keep in mind evidence would be needed to impeach the president. So far there is smoke no fire, and this is costing taxpayers. The Dems have taken a huge gamble. The best they have done so far is pointed out he pulled Maire Yovanovitch from her post. This to me shows a lack of judgment and possible could be connected to the abuse of power. It also will have him losing some base due to treating an honest hard working long time diplomat so disrespectful, and his downright lack of respect or empathy. The needle moved with her testimony.
The needle will jump this week, Shar. Holmes wasn't the only person in the room during Sondland's call with Donnie. And what is your opinion of why Mash was ousted from the job? 30 years under both Democratic and Republican presidents and they all praised her work during this these admins. So why all of a sudden the personal attacks and intimidation?
Not sure why you feel Holmes info is helpful? AS I said he offered all the info Trump's call put out. I have agreed with your sentiment in regard to Maire Yovanovitch's disrespectful treatment. But none of this is evidence in an impeachment charge? It well appears he had a motive to get Maire Yovanovitch out od the way. However, the motive would be very hard to prove. Trump's testimony would certainly tell a different story. Just too hard to prove. The Dems need a crime, so far they don't have one.
I am in agreement that Trump has more than abused his power, and it is obvious he had personal reasons to ask Zelinsky to investigate the Biden's. This is politics 101, it will all go away do to need evidence.
So what do you think Donnie's motive was then, if not so he could bribe the Ukraine into publicly announcing an investigation into the Biden's. Also, Rudy and Rick Perry were trying to make a power move on their NG industry by recommending Trump donors be given lucrative NG deals.
That could be an incentive and quite likely why Perry resigned his position all of a sudden when Rudy and his two ex-Soviet cohorts came under investigation. This can only get worse for Donnie.
I'm am not sure if you are aware the day after the phone call was released Zelinshy put out a statement denying he knew about the funds being held or that he found any problems with the call. Does it seem he did not have to bribe Zelinsky to make the statement? The statement is on record.
I would think rump wanted the Biden's investigated for his own political gain. All I am saying this will be very hard o prove. So far none of the witnesses have made a dent. Please understand I am not condoning Trump asking Zelinsky to do anything to further his own political gain. I am just saying I don't think the Dem's will be able to prove Trump asked the favor for his own benefit.
Is this fair, no it's our laws and politics. I guess we will learn more as the inquiry goes forward. Many more witnesses to come.
I chose my words carefully, for good reason. I said Holmes' testimony "indicates" Trump's motive. I did not say it proves it. There is a difference.
Because Sondland was in direct contact with Trump at key points during the events in question, his opinion that Trump was more interested in investigating Biden's son for personal gain certainly is an "indication" of Trump's motive.
How did I arrive at the conclusions Holmes' testimony supports the view that Trump requested an investigation into Biden's son for personal gain? By considering it as part of a body of evidence, not just on its own. There was already evidence that indicated Trump's main motive was personal gain. Holme's testimony indicates the same. Again, it does not prove it, but it adds to a body of evidence that points in one direction.
In terms of Trump enablers attacking/discrediting witnesses, I made no suggestion this was happening only within hearings. The patriotism of Alexander Vindman was questioned outside of the hearings by members of the GOP. The loyalty of Bill Taylor and George Kent was questioned by Nunes for giving testimony. The GOP has been naming the whistleblower in depositions, while calling for them to be publicly named. If stories in the right-wing press are any indication, the intention is to attack and discredit him/her (which would make no difference anyway at this point). I have not seen any coherent strategy for defending Trump's actual behavior. Attacking/discrediting witnesses appears to be a key strategy for Trump and the GOP.
Yeah but...The Don says he hardly knew Sondland. But then, he said the same about Lev and Igor.
"I chose my words carefully, for good reason. I said Holmes' testimony "indicates" Trump's motive. I did not say it proves it. There is a difference."
I did get your point, and that you indicated Holmes's testimony was not proof. I was just pointing out the fact, Trump provided all the evidence that is needed to prove he asked Zelinsky to investigate the Biden's. I was trying to point ut Holmes's testimony added nothing we did not know or have good proof of. We do not now motive? Holmes's testimony added nothing to prove motive.
"Because Sondland was in direct contact with Trump at key points during the events in question, his opinion that Trump was more interested in investigating Biden's son for personal gain certainly is an "indication" of Trump's motive."
We disagree here. Soundland's opinion is just that an opinion. If he can back his opinion with factual statements between in regards to conversations he may have had with Trump that could lend to what Trump thought about a given person or situation. However, unless Trump told Soundland of a motive to why he asked for the investigation into the Biden's or why he held aid funds none of Soundland's opinions mean nothing but speculation of what was on Trump's mind.
"There was already evidence that indicated Trump's main motive was personal gain"
I have not heard any such evidence to motive other than media conjecture. Just what evidence do you speak of?
In regards to the whistleblower. I believe he must step forward and be questioned. As have most other whistleblowers have throughout our history. He should be available to give testimony on his complaint, This impeachment should be aboveboard in the public eye. We can agree to disagree on this point.
Let me repeat --- I have watched the three witnesses that were televised I saw no evidence of trying to discredit any of them? They stuck to questions in regards to what they knew about the call, did they ever meet the president, and did Trumps new Ukraine agenda help Ukraine more than the Obama administration. I saw not one personal attack on any of their reputation or job performance. So far the witnesses have added little information due to just not having much information to offer?
But....Trump said he barely knew Sondland, despite the fact Sondland bought his ambassadorship by donating $1,000,000 through 3 LLCs to Donnie's campaign.
Seems like anyone who gets a bit of heat on them suddenly becomes a stranger to little Don.
Randy, this is just more fluff nothing of any evidence has been presented to impeach the president. Do I need to dig up persons that donated to Hillary? No, I do not play that game. Do I need to dig up donations to the current candidates? No, because this kind of crap has been going on for a very long time. This is a game, I am looking for a provable crime. Not who donated to who. Give me a provable crime that could stand in a trial.
Sondland was heard telling Donnie that Zelensky would do anything Donnie wanted. He also told the witness Trump didn't give a shit about the Ukraine, he only cared about the "big stuff" like the Bidens and Hillary's server. Spin that if you can.
I need not spin anything. Trump's call tells me that the president asked for the Biden's nd Croudstrike to be investigated. Soundland gave testimony in regards to the overheard phone call he gave Holmes his opinion on Trump's feelings. Trump never actually said any of hat he shared with Holmes. Not sure it would matter anyway. Trump is free to feel whatever he pleases about Ukraine. All that should matter in the inquiry is facts, and unfortunately, there are no facts od a crime.
I would think in days to come they will just censure the president and drop this scam. because it is going nowhere. It stands to make the Dem party look even more foolish than they already look.
That Trump asked Zelensky to investigate Biden's son is well established. My comments in this thread relate to Trump's intention, though it's probably more accurate to say they relate to establishing Trump's motive.
The difference is that intention relates to what Trump tried to do. Motive relates to why he did it. We know Trump tried to get Zelensky to investigate Biden's son. That's not disputed. His motive for doing so is. That motive could be either incriminating or exonerating (inculpatory or expulcatory to use the legal jargon) so it's a key factor.
The opinion of someone in direct contact with Trump during the events in question is a reasonable way to get an indication of Trump's motive, especially when combined with other evidence that can be used to validate the likelihood that Snodland opinion is true. So I'm happy to disagree on that.
I'm not listing all the evidence that suggests Trump's motive were for personal gain. That would take more time and effort than I'm willing to invest in this comment. Do look for yourself though. If you can't find any, look beyond right-wing sources.
The issue of the whistleblower is redundant in my view. Events have moved on. The allegation that Trump asked a foreign leader to investigate Biden's son has been established. The identify of the whistleblower will not change that. Also, whistleblowers are protected from retaliation within their workplace by law. Naming them increases the chances they will be subjected to retaliation. So another one to disagree on.
I'll leave you to your belief that there has been no effort to attack or discredit witnesses, which is incorrect.
I agree that it is well proven and factual that president Trump asked Zelinsky to investigate the Bidens as well as croudStrike. In my opinion, his motive has not been proven.
I will say after watching yesterday's testimony I note one thing on one is reporting. Trump went through the proper channels to put a hold on the funds in question. This will leave the door open to actually see what he listed as concerns about releasing the aid, in my opinion, this could give a legal document that will provide a motive.
It the inquiry produces impeachable charges, which it appears the Dem's feel it will, the president will be well represented to present his side. Motives will be front and center in a trial. So far, and this is just my opinion, I see no proof of motive. Lots of hearsay, and opinions. Hard to convict on hearsay and opinions.
Again I am surprised you feel the Republicans have attack witnesses? The only incident I found that would hurt a witness is Schiff announcing Trump's tweet in regards to Masha Yovanovitch. I felt it was shameful and was meant to shake the witness. As shameful as the tweet itself.
Could you provide an incident that you felt the Republicans were disrespectful to a witness? I am curious about how you came to that opinion.
Based on the balance of probabilities, I think it's reasonable to conclude that Trump's motive for asking President Zelensky to investigate Biden's son was more likely for personal gain than not.
And on the contrary, rather than going through all the proper channels, the White House may have violated the law by withholding funds authorized by Congressional approved funds, without notifying Congress or seeking Congressional approval.
If a president wants to rescind a budgetary authority the Impoundment Control Act requires them to: "... transmit to both Houses of Congress a special message" relaying the amount; what and who the money was for; the reason the authority should be rescinded; and all other facts relating to the circumstances and decision to rescind it.
It should be trivially easy to produced evidence that the White House relayed such a message to Congress. Where is that evidence?
The Government Accountability Office is now launching an investigation after being asked if the law was broken. That investigation is yet to be concluded, but in Dec 2018 the GAO gave this opinion in relation to withholding funds:
"An appropriation is a law like any other; therefore, unless Congress has enacted a law providing otherwise, the President must take care to ensure that appropriations are prudently obligated during their period of availability...The President has no unilateral authority to withhold funds from obligation. "
And in a budget meeting earlier this month, the current Comptroller General, Gene Dodaro said:
"Under the law, which was passed in 1974 ... the President can propose to Congress to rescind the money. The only way that would hold is if Congress says, yes, we agree. And Congress has 45 days to respond".
https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/07/politics … index.html
So the president can't just decide not to spend money that Congress has authorized for spending. Military aid to the Ukraine was authorized by Congress. Therefore he may have broken the law by withholding those funds. So I think your conclusion that Trump went through all the "proper channels" is premature.
You have said you don't believe Trump or the GOP is attacking or trying to discredit witnesses. I think that position is beyond the bounds of reason. So with respect I'm not interested trying to convince you otherwise. I believe that would be a waste of my time.
I am happy to keep the pease and agree to disagree.
"Based on the balance of probabilities, I think it's reasonable to conclude that Trump's motive for asking President Zelensky to investigate Biden's son was more likely for personal gain than not."
I have not disputed the fact that I felt it more than possible Trump wanted the information to gain info on the Bidens to smear Biden during the upcoming election. I have tried to point out there is no evidence to satisfy the Senate. It is my feeling the Senate would not vote to remove the president, and this makes this inquiry a waste of time and money. It appears to be solely political. The Dem's know this is going nowhere. This to me is disgusting. It insults one's intelligence. In the end, it is a show, a show many are tired of seeing. Out party aside, and just use common sense. Why waste money and time when we know the outcome.
Was Trump right to do what he did... No... Are the Dem's right to ask for him to be impeached when they know it will go nowhere --- No
This is our government, business as usual. Fake, phony, and corrupt.
Not sure how you feel any of the witnesses were treated poorly? You do realize they were being cross-examined?. Which is part of having a fair hearing. I found the Republicans mild. We won't see mild if this ends up in the Senate.
You have already responded to this post. In that reponse you said:
"I am happy to keep the pease [sic] and agree to disagree"
As I have no desire to repeat myself, I'll assume you posted your latest response in error, and will disregard it in favor of your previous one.
"he had overheard a call between President Trump and a top American diplomat in July"
This is hearsay evidence and in a criminal trial would not be permitted to be part of the evidence.
This is direct evidence of Trump's duplicity, Mike. You're apparently ignorant of the law, which isn't any surprise to those who see your posts.
He heard it from Trump's own mouth making it admissible.
Randy, Does it matter. Trump asked if Zelinsky was going to do the investigation this is first-hand testimony. His phone call made it clear he wanted them investigated. I would think he would have asked what Soundland thought on the call the following day? The rest of Holmes and Soundland's conversation is opinion related. Nothing but secondhand hearsay. Soundland admitted that he was just offering an opinion to Holmes in regard to Trump's conversation about the investigation. Although Trump for three years has offed aid and weapons to Ukraine, he did a good job in regards to making the decision to arm the Ukrainians. All the witnesses have lamented that his foreign policy was welcomed and beneficial. to the Ukrainian... Can't toss out the baby with the bathwater... We have heard nothing but hearsay. One should not convict on hearsay.
We up until now have been a country that would not consider even holding such an inquiry. We were not a country that accused someone of a crime without any evidence. This is a discussing time for the country, and it's this kind of cheap politicking that the Dem's have always used. It's not new... It's one of the very reasons Trump was elected. The Dem's have further our feelings. So, Ya think this will work out well for the Dem's? This impeachment crazy has put the final nail in their coffin. Common sense is a Bi--ch is it not?
Randy, YOU saying anyone is ignorant of anything is like Bill Gates telling someone they have too much money.
You are funny. Bless your heart.
Oh, and learn what hearsay is and why it's not permitted in a court trial.
"This is hearsay evidence and in a criminal trial would not be permitted to be part of the evidence."
This is not a criminal matter. If it were, Donald Trump could be arrested by a law enforcement agency, photographed, fingerprinted, interrogated and temporarily held in custody while further inquiries and a decision on whether to charge is made. He could then either be kept in a pre-trial prison until the date of his trial, or bailed to appear at court on a later date. In a criminal trial, if found guilty, he could receive a custodial sentence (prison), a fine, or some combination of both. So I strongly suspect a criminal proceeding, and everything that goes with it, is not something you really want.
If it is, I think there is a very high probability that Trump will experience a criminal proceeding (or several) after he leaves the White House in one or five years time.
Okay, if it goes to trail in the Senate, all the hearsay evidence won't be admissible. So, what will be left? Not much.
On this we can definitely agree - it is not a criminal matter. Instead it is a political ploy, yet another political game for power. One indication is that, over and over, the room listens to testimony and the Democratic half hears "Trump is guilty!" (and publicly says so) while the Republican half hears "I assume (or presume)Trump is guilty" (and publicly says so). When virtually everyone in the room is a lawyer, and it's about truth and criminality, this is impossible...but it is certainly possible when it's all about politics rather than the law. One only need to have rather selective hearing, after all, to spin words into what is wished rather than what was said.
Yes, he could go through those things (fingerprinting, jail, etc.). It could be for most anything - spousal abuse, child pornography, drug dealing, gun running etc. He might even be found guilty of those, or anything else on the books as criminal.
(But you might want to be careful, for you slipped a little there in insinuating that Trump could, just maybe, win yet another election. People in your position are forbidden from doing that, and you could be kicked off the bandwagon if you don't take more care about telling truths that should never be mentioned.)
You're incorrect that we on the left believe Trump can't be re-elected, Dan. We know there were many ignorant people who voted for him the first time and they still are listening to his lying ass.
The ultimate penalty in a criminal trial is loss of life or liberty. The ultimate penalty in an impeachment trial is removal from office. So I think it's reasonable that the impeachment process is not subject to the same rules as a criminal trial.
Originally the founders wanted to make impeachment possible only if a president committed the specific crimes of treason or bribery. This was objected to because it was too limited:
"Why is the provision restrained to Treason & bribery only? Treason as defined in the Constitution will not reach many great and dangerous offenses. [Warren] Hastings is not guilty of Treason. Attempts to subvert the Constitution may not be Treason as above defined-As bills of attainder which have saved the British Constitution are forbidden, it is the more necessary to extend: the power of impeachments"
(George Mason, September 8th, 1787)
https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/farr … 1787-vol-2
And there was recognition that the kind of "abuse or violation" committed by "public men" (those in public office) may be different in nature to that of others:
"Those offences which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself".
(Alexander Hamilton, March 7th , 1788)
This is reinforced by commentaries from the time:
"Not but that crimes of a strictly legal character fall within the scope of the power; but that it has a more enlarged operation, and reaches, what are aptly termed political offenses, growing out of personal misconduct or gross neglect, or usurpation, or habitual disregard of the public interests, various in their character, and so indefinable in their actual involutions, that it is almost impossible to provide systematically for them by positive law.."
(Justice Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833)
https://lonang.com/library/reference/st … n/sto-310/
It seems like the founders thought a criminal proceeding would not be suitable or sufficient to address abuses of public trust by people in public office. On balance, I think they were right.
Of course, if Trump is not happy with the testimony of others being accepted against him, he is free to give his own account by testifying under oath to the impeachment inquiry. He is also free to waive any claims of executive privilege and direct Bolton, Mulvaney, Pompeo, Giuliani etc. to testify also.
When I heard about David Holmes'testimony, I couldn't help but remember the outrage of Hillary's security breach, a handful.of classified emails. Here we have a president speaking to an ambassador on a presumably unsecured cell.phone so loudly that bystanders can hear. And, one can reasonably assume other countries are also listening, including Russia and the Ukraine.
Where are the security hawks and their outrage?
Oh, never mind.
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