If you ask the Democrats, one reason that Trump should be impeached is that he tried to extort Ukraine to investigate a long-debunked conspiracy about Joe Biden and his son. Put in more general terms, it could be said that one reason the Democrats want to impeach Trump is that he tried to push an investigation of Joe Biden and his son. Interestingly, some Republicans are accepting this claim and using it to defend Trump.
Taken without context, the claim “one reason the Democrats want to impeach Trump is that he tried to push an investigation of Joe Biden and his son” can be interpreted in many ways. Some of Trump’s defenders have made the claim that the Democrats are trying to impeach Trump out of revenge because of what he tried to do to Joe Biden. While this sort of revenge motive would certainly be morally problematic, their motivation is irrelevant as to whether Trump committed acts that warrant impeachment. To use an analogy, the fact that a prosecutor wants to lock up criminals because his family was hurt during a robbery does not entail that the criminal she is prosecuting is not guilty of the crime.
It is certainly fair to consider that motives can bias people, which is why the legal system (at least in the ideal) strives to have objective judges. One unfortunate aspect of almost any impeachment is that congress is made up of politicians who generally have party loyalty and thus it is almost always reasonable to see them as biased. Bias cuts both ways—those defending the president can generally be as biased as those favoring impeachment. While this does show a clear issue with impeachment, it does not count in general against the Democrats more than the Republicans.
A more interesting defense is that the Democrats are taking the view that Trump should have not pushed the investigation (into the debunked conspiracy theory) because they think that Biden, as a candidate, should be protected. As some of Trump’s defenders have noted, this would entail that candidates for office should be immune to investigation. The obvious point here is that we should infer that since this is absurd, the Democrats are wrong to try to impeach the president over this—after all, they also say, he was (incompetently) trying to root out corruption.
I certainly agree that candidates (and office holders) should not enjoy immunity from investigation. But this is not what the Democrats are claiming. Rather, their concern is that Trump used his office to try to coerce Ukraine into “investigating” a debunked conspiracy theory about Joe Biden in order to gain a political advantage in the 2020 election. To use an analogy, it would be as if an official was being investigated for using the police department to harass civil rights workers and her defenders claimed that critics said that civil rights workers should be immune to police investigation. This is, obviously, not being claimed at all. Their concern is with the misuse of the office, not with the legitimate operation of the police. Likewise, the Democrats legitimate concern is with the misuse of the office, not with the legitimate investigation of corruption.
Mike, in your view, how should the corrupt behavior of the Bidens in Ukraine be investigated?
Michael LaBossiere says
Well, that begs the question by assuming their behavior was corrupt.
The Biden thing has been investigated-there is no there there; just a conspiracy theory.
I certainly agree that people exploiting their family connections to office holders is morally wrong and Hunter was wrong to accept that offer. But this was all legal and there is no evidence that Joe was unduly influenced.
“Debunked” is on my list of Words We Would Be Better Off Without. Along with “THE science”, “problematic”, and many others, it is a rhetorical signal indicating “Do not look here, do not question this, ignore the man behind the curtain.”
On the other hand, it does have the useful characteristic of indicating upfront that the speaker is presenting a purely emotional argument, without engaging with the substance of the facts.
And here we see it twice in five short paragraphs. It doesn’t really matter, but I have to admit, that’s impressive, in its way.
Nothing about the Biden story has been “debunked”. Then-Vice-President Biden had at least a conflict of interest. He does, however, have an absolute defense in that he was carrying out US policy. Any attempt at assigning any legal liability to him would have to go back further, into the forming of the determination that, of all the possible objectives for the US coercion of Ukraine, this particular firing would be the priority. How was that decision reached? If it turns out that that was driven by Biden, then the prosecution would have a place to start, though the defence might still hold. It is also possible that there could be evidence of deals cut within Ukraine itself. But this is pure speculation. There isn’t any current reason to charge Biden with corruption, but the conflict is undeniable, and cannot be “debunked”.
As for the motivation for the impeachment, there is no ambiguity or mystery here. The Democrats are not trying to impeach Trump because of anything he may have tried to do to Biden; they’re gunning for him because so many of them viscerally hate him, and because the more rabid members forced Pelosi’s hand, against her better judgement about the political effects in the year before the election.
Burisma had to think they were getting something for their money.
You know what’s an “interesting” defense? The idea that “hands up, don’t shoot” is not a lie because, of course, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Not that I would use the word “interesting” myself, but then again I don’t teach something called”ethics”. On the taxpayers’ dime, no less.
I’m not sure you’ve identified the major reason the Democrats are upset about Donald Trump. It’s not that he wanted to investigate the Bidens; it’s that he put his personal interests above his responsibilities as President and compromised the national security interests of both the U.S. and Ukraine in the process. Any politician will want to get dirt on an opponent, but one that violates his oath of office to do it shouldn’t be in that office. (And now he’s obstructing the investigation into his actions – also an impeachable offense.)
Anything that Joe or Hunter Biden did or did not do is beside the point. If it deserves investigation, it’s a different case. Advocating for it as a way to deflect the investigation into Mr. Trump is a sideshow and is justifiably ignored by Congressional Democrats.
Michael LaBossiere says
True; even if Joe were 100% guilty of all that the conspiracy theories say, Trump would still be in the wrong for using his office for his own personal advantage.
Thoughts, TJ, DH, CT?
OK…typing problems today…
It is rather shocking that the mission of universities has changed from teaching and research to social justice. It is sort of a vicious circle:
1) kids pay big bucks to go a university to learn social justice
2) kids graduate and can’t find a job because they don’t know anything and can’t think
3) kids are broke but still have to pay their student loans
4) kids are angry and gravitate toward socialism
5) they are so poorly educated that they don’t realize that socialism will make them worse off
Michael LaBossiere says
I cannot speak for universities that I am not directly familiar with, but that is not true of Florida A&M University. While people are concerned with social justice, the focus is on teaching and research. True, social justice does come up in poli sci, ethics and such classes, but if you take a chemistry class, you learn chemistry.
The same seems true of Florida State; although my knowledge is second hand.
Yesterday elsewhere I got diverted to the topic of Flat Earth, I spent several hours discovering that quite a few people take it seriously. There are headlines suggesting that a third of millennials don’t believe, or aren’t convinced, that Earth is round. Those headlines are not correctly supported by the YouGov poll – they could be overstated by 100% – but even allowing for that, it took me by surprise. I always thought that Flat Earth people were trolling, even before the Internet, with a rather clever subtext of “but can you PROVE it?” Apparently, they’re serious – nowadays at least.
It brought home to me how humans can believe anything at all that we are not disabused of by our personal experience – and we live in a bubble that protects us from the elements, from the dark, from the gangs that form when there is an opportunity, from totalitarianism. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that people can forget how bad things can be, and instead gain social approval, which is in our personal experience, by performing Conspicuous Convictions?
I don’t know how bad it is. I have had no connections with schools of any kind in the last 20 years, and I take media reports and outrage with a grain of clickbait.
I have seen a strong turn to the feeling that the government is an omnipotent benevolent presence, and that is of course led by people who are paid and sustained by the government, and whose bubble is maintained by the government – so for them, that is their daily experience. Anything except everyday physics and toe-stubbing does depend on what the government does. Through education, those beliefs could be transmitted to students who live in a bubble very different from the one we grew up in.
I don’t know. It does worry me for the farther future. I won’t live to see the USA’s breakup or decline, but it’s on my list of candidates for major disasters over the next century.
So in the interest of having something actually philosophical to discuss here, instead of the usual polemics and Trump hatred (BIRM), submitted for your consideration:
If a person testifies or otherwise presents information in a formal, supposedly truth-seeking endeavor, and then later, upon cross examination or similar, when the person is probed further on that first piece of information essentially, for the most part, either refutes it or in some manner presents information that significantly, in the context of logic in a singular timeline configured universe, by logical inference refutes the previous information, do you accept as fact the first thing the person said or use what was later said as more representative of the reality of the singularity-ish universe in which all of this transpired?