Insights Into Tomorrow

Insights Into Tomorrow: Episode 1 "Presidential Impeachment"

November 04, 2019 Season 1 Episode 1
Insights Into Tomorrow
Insights Into Tomorrow: Episode 1 "Presidential Impeachment"
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Insights Into Tomorrow
Insights Into Tomorrow: Episode 1 "Presidential Impeachment"
Nov 04, 2019 Season 1 Episode 1
Sam and Joseph Whalen
What is impeachment, what is it used for and what are the consequences of using it~
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode we explore the nature and definition of presidential impeachment while looking at how it has been employed in the past. We look at what the process entails, how it should be employed and how congress is using it in the modern world. We also look at the current process underway, examine the merits of the facts and explore the impact such actions will have on the future of our country.



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Speaker 1:
0:02
Insightful podcast by informative hopes, insights, a podcast network.
Speaker 2:
0:25
[inaudible]
Speaker 3:
0:25
welcome to insights into tomorrow where we take a deeper look into how the issues of today will impact the world of tomorrow from politics and world news to media and technology. We discuss how today's headlines are becoming tomorrow's reality.
Speaker 4:
0:59
Welcome to insights into tomorrow. This is episode one, presidential impeachment. I'm your host, Joseph Raelynn and my talented and insightful cohost Sam Waylon. Are you doing today Sam? I'm doing good. Thank you for joining us in studio today. Uh, usually you are coming in via Skype, but we do have you in studio today and uh, we're going to be talking about what is probably pretty big in the news right now. And that is, uh, the subject of impeachment. And I think our challenge today is to do so without getting overly political, which I think you'll agree, probably challenging with this topic. I mean, it's inherently political, but you know, we're going to do our best. So I would like to take a look at what impeachment is. A little bit of history, uh, on past impeachments. And then as we do with the show how look into the future and see what we think, uh, the current cycle of political impeachment will have meaning for the company, uh, country. So, uh, let's get started. First off, we'll talk about what impeachment is and um, actually take a look at some of the texts from the constitution describing it.
Speaker 4:
2:23
So I want to go with a definition that we are taking from Wikipedia because I found it on the internet. It must be true. Um, impeachment is a process by which a legislative body level's charges against a government official. Impeachment does not in itself remove the official from office. It's the equivalent to an indictment in criminal law and thus is only the statement of charges against the official. Once an individual is impeached, they must then face the possibility of conviction on the charges by a legislative vote, which is separate from the impeachment, but flows from it and a judgment which it convicts the official on the articles of impeachment. Um, a conviction would entail the officials removal from office. So I think the first takeaway from that is everyone thinks when you're, when you impeach a government official that they're going to get removed from office.
Speaker 4:
3:25
Um, and I like this definition because it gives you a parallel to something that, that most people are familiar with. And that is a criminal investigation. You know, when you, when someone is accused of a crime, they are indicted for it. And that indictment is really just the state leveling accusations. The state then has to prove those allegations in a court of law and then if found guilty by a jury, in this case, there's a penalty phase associated with it where the judgment is. So it's important and in our context here to understand that when we're talking impeachment and we're talking about that early stage of the process of leveling these charges at a president, um, comments on that?
Speaker 5:
4:15
Yeah. I mean, I think we kind of, we kind of covered it already, but there's a big misconception on what impeachment actually is. And I'm sure we're gonna we're gonna touch on that more later. But like you said, impeachment doesn't equal removal from office. There's a lot more that's got to go into that and we'll look at later those examples where there was impeachment proceedings and either nothing came of it or you know, the, the president at the time took steps to get out of it. So impeachment, it's not quite as cut and dry as a lot of people think. So.
Speaker 4:
4:43
Exactly. And really at this point in time, I mean not taking political science here, you know, we can state the facts that right now Democrats are running impeachment, um, hearings. These hearings are designed to, um, determine if there's sufficient evidence to actually lodge official impeachment articles of impeachment against the president. So that's the first step to this process. Now, impeachment itself is kind of interesting when it comes to the president because, um, based on the constitution itself, uh, article one, section two, a clause five for those, uh, lawyers out there tells us that the president and vice president and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office for impeachment, for conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanor. It also tells us that the house of representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment. And if everyone thinks back to their social studies, high social studies and history, this is, this is part of the checks and balances. Right? Yeah. And I mean
Speaker 5:
6:05
they had it figured out back then to a certain extent. I mean trees and Bradbury and are there, that's that last part is where we kind of get a little in the weeds, other high crimes and misdemeanors cause that's kind of broad and it can be applied to a lot of things, which is what part of the dialogue is today. Uh, over, you know, president Trump, right. And, and
Speaker 4:
6:24
you know, the precise meaning of what high crimes and misdemeanors is, has never been fully defined by the constitution and is brilliant as our founding fathers were. You have to think that they kind of saw this as being something that shouldn't be explicitly defined because it's going to depend entirely on circuit
Speaker 5:
6:49
stance. Yeah, exactly. And I think, especially when you're dealing with law, if something isn't specifically stated, that's where lawyers can get in there and make a lot of their argument. And I believe it wasn't Thomas Jefferson, the lawyer. So we had a lot of law centric minds, you know, drafting this document. So they knew what they were doing when they put that in there. And it's probably for things like this where you can, you have that wiggle room where it's open to interpretation.
Speaker 4:
7:14
Yeah. And there was a lot of uh, contributing sources for how impeachment was laid out in the constitution. Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist papers, 65 described impeachment offenses as arising from the misconduct of public man or another words from the abuse or violation of some public trust. Um, so it puts a little bit more definition behind it. Even though these papers, you know, the constitution doesn't consist of these papers, this beat, they kind of serve as guidance for those who are weighing in on these matters as to what the intention was. And a lot of times, um, things like this, especially when it comes to presidential impeachment tend to get up to the Supreme court level and the Supreme court does tend to weigh in on these historical documents to interpret whether or not the, the original foundation of these, uh, laws in and articles in the constitution meant one thing or another.
Speaker 4:
8:21
Um, but again, this stuff really isn't clearly defined from a constitutional standpoint. Um, I think it's clear when we talk about bribery. Okay, that's, that's pretty cut and dry. Black and white. When you have the evidence that's presented to you in that case, um, treason again, could be pretty black and white in most cases. Um, and I think one of the arguments that the Democrats are making at this point is, um, president Trump's calls to have outside countries interfere or investigate their, their labeling and his interference. But investigate, uh, his political opponents is a form of trees and cause you're inviting outside, uh, governments to take part in our elections. And that's one of the clauses. We haven't seen articles of impeachment come out of the house yet, but I would suspect that that's one of the articles of impeachment that we're probably going to see them lean heavily on. Um, and less so on the high crimes and misdemeanors because they are difficult to, um, to really define.
Speaker 5:
9:37
Yeah. I mean you had mentioned that the, uh, bribery and, and trees and can be kind of cut and dry and, um, and I'm not sure in today's world that they are, because I mean for bribery, would you consider, you know, a high donation for a campaign, you know, finance level two, it's not technically bribery, but if you've got lobbyists or someone that's, you know, funding your campaign, you're going to be influenced to, you know, aim for policies that they would want to go for. I mean, it's not bribery per se, but the effect can still be the same. And with treason, the founding fathers had no idea of the kind of global world that we'd be dealing with today. So when you're interacting with foreign governments, where do you draw that line of, am I helping the United States or my furthering a more global agenda? You know,
Speaker 4:
10:18
it's a very good point. From a bribery standpoint though, we do have other more modern laws. You know, we have campaign finance laws that are very well defined in this case. Some may say that they're a little too loose. So I may say they're too strict, but we have a set of guidelines that we can say, okay, if someone's giving you a campaign contribution, uh, is it within these guidelines? Either it is or it isn't. If it's not, then it's bribery. Um, treason. I think you, you have a very good point there right now. Trees in a sort of held up as in the public interest more than anything else. If you're, if you're conducting political operations or global operations that are not in the public interest, um, because the, the president takes an oath of office to defend the constitution and if your taking actions and their interpretable actions, but you're taking actions that are contrary to the defense of the constitution, that is clear cut trees in once it's been interpreted.
Speaker 4:
11:28
Um, so there a little, there's a little bit more wiggle room with those because they're a little more well-defined high crimes and misdemeanors. Well, first of all, we've already been told, you know, the department of justice tells us that we cannot convict a sitting president. So then misdemeanors don't apply at that point do they? If you can't convict them. Um, and what crimes can you convict a on? Well, if I can't convict him of a crime, then high crimes and misdemeanors are off the table at that point by definition. Um, so it's going to be interesting and we don't know where it's going to go. We might not even get articles of impeachment if, if there is not enough information, it's found. But until we do, we're not going to know which of these they're trying to attribute to the president at this point in time.
Speaker 4:
12:20
Um, a couple of other interesting things. Um, in the past, both houses of Congress have given the phrase high crimes and misdemeanors, broad, uh, reading, finding that impeachable offenses need not be limited to criminal conduct. And I think that's one of the interesting things that we have here. You have a lot of, uh, controversy that seems to be swelling around president Trump at this time. People are on him for not releasing his tax documents. Well, there's not a legal requirement for him to release his, his tax documents. You have a controversy around him inviting Ukraine and China to involve themselves in the political process. That's sort of where we're at right now. Where are these impeachable offenses? Um, but at above that you're looking at other things that are less criminal. Uh, for instance, there was controversy about president Trump having an extramarital affair. That's not illegal. So you can't, you can't be impeached for that. Um, even though they're saying that it doesn't need to be criminal conduct, um, it's difficult to come up with articles of impeachment that don't involve some type of criminal activity.
Speaker 5:
13:46
I mean, he did admit to sexual assault and then got elected. Um, and there had been other women that have come out and accused him of sexual assault and I know that that's, that's a different kind of, you'd have to proceed differently with that because you don't have to deal with like statue of limitations and things like that. And you'd have to try each of those cases individually, which would take a while and he might be at office by then anyway, so there's, that's might not be worth pursuing, but I think that is still something important to consider if we're looking at his criminal activity as a whole.
Speaker 4:
14:15
Right. That's true. I mean, but again, is that something that a president can be convicted on? A, we saw similar charges lodged against president Clinton and you know, they were, he was acquitted of, of any charges in that case. So it's kind of shaky grounds. It wasn't like, you know, if you look at, for instance, uh, president Nixon. Okay. You know, and we'll talk a little bit more about impeachment history, but you know, president Nixon was clearly involved once the tape, the Watergate came out and you know, that's what led to his resignation. So he wasn't convicted on impeachment, but likely he would have been because there was establish criminal activity with a break in and a cover up and various other things.
Speaker 6:
15:08
Um,
Speaker 4:
15:09
and they occurred during his presidential term.
Speaker 6:
15:14
Um,
Speaker 4:
15:16
one side of the argument can say you can't, um, impeach a president for activity that's happened before he was in office. Uh, in which case the sexual assault charges against Trump, which she was never convicted of, uh, wouldn't apply either. Um, if people are using that to basically say that he doesn't need to release his tax returns either because the information they're trying to get from us tax returns were prior to his being elected to the office. And, uh, one analogy that I had read, and I forget the, the source that I found in that basically said, you can't hold a president accountable for cheating on a test in high school when he runs for president 30 years later. It just doesn't apply cause that has nothing to do with his term in office. Yeah. I'm thinking the only way it would apply is just for the election.
Speaker 4:
16:13
You know, you get, it's more character examples, um, for an election and that stuff that's supposed to play into what you vote. But in terms of criminal proceedings, I mean there's not a whole lot you can do, but you'd have to speak with your vote and speak with electing an official that you feel morally, uh, is acceptable among other, you know, policy and all that. Now you're, you're absolutely right there and in the point that out, because these are things that should have influenced an election and they did because this information came out before an election and president Trump won the election. So clearly the American public didn't really care too much about these things if that's the case. So, but anyway, you know, I just wanted to make sure we had a, uh, a very good understanding of where, where we were in terms of the definition of impeachment. Let's talk a little bit about, uh, impeachment history.
Speaker 7:
17:14
Yeah.
Speaker 4:
17:20
So there have been three instances of impeachment activity in the history of the United States, and this comes actually from the, uh, house of representatives, a website itself, history.house.gov. So the first was Andrew Johnson, who was the president. It was president Lincoln's vice president and took over the role after the assassination of Lincoln. Uh, he was charged for impeachment on February 24th, 1868 and a key charges were violation of the tenure of service act for removing secretary of war, Edwin Stanton. Uh, ultimately he was acquitted of this, but this, um, this was largely a political posturing thing. If you look back at history on this, um, Andrew Johnson was a Southern Senator who was brought on by Lincoln, um, in an attempt to try and bring the country back together. Um, Johnson was not a, a SA, uh, son. He was not in favor of separation of, uh, society. He was not a succession as I should say.
Speaker 4:
18:50
Um, but he was a staunch southerner and he had very, uh, classical Southern ideas when it came to African Americans and slavery. Um, and he, he worked very hard to, um, try and stymie a lot of the reconstruction efforts, um, and partially in an attempt to expedite reconstruction, but also so that Southern landowners did not lose a lot of power in the South. And, um, he did some unconventional things. Um, he had passed laws, uh, while Congress was in a recession, not recession, they were in summer session, um, and basically tried to Ram certain things through that would not have been approved by the Senate at the time. And there was a law that was put in place by the Senate called the tenure of service act that basically required, uh, any cabinet member positions to be, if you're, if you were going to remove them, you had to get Congress's approval for it.
Speaker 4:
20:08
And he basically ignored that, flaunted his power, removed them, removed, uh, secretary of war, Stanton from office. And this is what the house latched onto to challenge him on. And ultimately they, they couldn't pin anything to him. But it's similar to, um, some of the things that we're seeing with president Trump now where, you know, Democrats are trying to stop president Trump from, you know, running his administration the way that he feels it should run because it's in, in contrast or, or conflict with how Democrats largely think things should be run. There's a lot of animosity. Um, there's a lot of division in the country and now granted, you know, we're talking the end of a civil war here. So I think the country was probably a little more divided than than it is now. But there were still division either way. And, uh, I think, I think the impeachment of Andrew Johnson was more of move of frustration from Congress than anything else. And to a certain extent, that might be the case today with, um, the Democrats trying to impeach Trump. Uh, because even if you look at the democratic party, they're very divided on how they want to handle the situation. And you're not seeing a whole lot of unity come through. What are your thoughts on that?
Speaker 5:
21:42
Um, yeah, I think you're, you're absolutely right and I, I can see how it'd be, uh, a move of frustration then and now, um, it that you do kind of get the impression that we're grasping or the Democrats are grasping for straws and they're trying to throw anything out the wall to get Trump and see what sticks. And I mean he's also not really doing themselves any favors, but a lot of stuff that's come out, especially when he released, um, the transcript of the phone call, uh, with Ukraine, there was a lot of damning evidence in that. Um, but there Def, uh, Trump's team's defense was, well, if we were guilty, why would we release it at? But if you look at it, there's a lot of stuff in there that could lead to impeachment. And I don't remember it off the top of my head, but, um, I'd seen, uh, an article that broke it, a lot of it down, cause there's a lot of information in there. Sure. Um, but yeah, I mean similar to Johnson, I'm not sure that it would result in, you know, a removal from office. He might just be ended up getting acquitted, especially if they go for the political angle like, uh, Johnson had with removing the, um, secretary of war instead of a more criminal angle. Um, that what would stick.
Speaker 4:
22:49
Right, right. And, and you know, in the case of Andrew Johnson, it was, Congress basically said, Oh, we make a, we made a rule. He broke the rules, so now we're going to impeach him for it. Oh, it wasn't a constitutional mandate. It wasn't a violation of the law of anything. It might've been contempt of Congress, but is that an impeachable offense for the, the president should be removed. They didn't think it was at the time somebody was acquitted. The next example that we have is, is bill Clinton, you know, this is in, in most of our timeframe at this point. So bill Clinton was impeached on December 19th of 1998. Uh, he was charged with a few more things. He was charged with lying on their oath, obstruction of justice. And ultimately he was acquitted as well. And, uh, just to refresh people's memories, this had to do with the Monica Lewinsky incident.
Speaker 4:
23:44
Uh, the alleged affair that he had with his intern at that point and lying on their oath is an impeachable offense and obstruction of justice if proven is an impeachable offense. Um, we S you know, um, there was a special prosecutor involved here. I'll, uh, you know, the Mueller investigation, Clinton had his own investigation and, uh, ultimately he was acquitted of his as well because there was insufficient evidence to show, um, to prove the charges against him. Now again, like we said at the beginning, like you said at the beginning of the podcast, ultimately impeachment is a by definition political event. Um, I don't know how politically motivated a lot of the stuff was at the time for bill Clinton. Uh, I think a lot of the impetus for the Clinton impeachment was what Congress thought the president should be or should act as, or how appropriate the president should be.
Speaker 4:
25:00
Um, and, and I think that came across more than political posturing really deal. There was some in there, certainly. Um, and I think the parallel that we can draw between the Clinton and Trump is Trump is not your traditional politician. Um, he says things he does things, uh, that you would not expect a politician to say or do. Um, any acts in a way that something is very unpresidential. So I think some of the fire that people have in their belly for impeachment on Trump is very similar to some of the, of the reasoning that people had for Clinton. What do you think?
Speaker 5:
25:44
Yeah, I think that's, it sounds about right. I mean, I think a lot of it, you mentioned that Congress wanting a more presidential president, but I think it's also public sentiment as well. I mean, I'm sure I wasn't, I mean, obviously alive at the time, but I know certainly now there is a lot of public outcry for impeachment and against Trump's method of, uh, you know, having the presidency. And I can see why or how that would be similar with Clinton, where, you know, he lied about having an affair with his wife. And that's inherently almost anti-American. Like, you know, something that is very easy for American people to go against. And I think we're seeing a lot of that with Trump as well, where he's admitting a lot of things and he's acting in a lot of ways that we don't see as professional for someone at that level of power that was the highest level of power that should be acting that way. And I think you have the public sentiment affecting congressional sentiment as well against him. Right, right. And
Speaker 8:
26:44
you know, being on presidential is not an impeachable offense. Um, if anything, again, is one of those things that should be played out at the polls, you know, let the American people choose. Oh, and the last example that we have, obviously we saved the best for last here is Richard Nixon. So Richard Nixon's date of impeachment was July 27th, 1974. Uh, that was when the first article of impeachment was approved by the house of representative, uh, houses, judiciary committee. And his key charges were obstruction of justice, abuse of power and contempt of Congress. Um, and that last one there. Now, both of you know, we've seen abuse of power with Johnson. We've seen obstruction of justice with Clinton, but contempt of Congress is fresh with, with Nixon. And I think that speaks volumes as to the, uh, mood and intent of Congress at that point in time where you're going to cite contempt of Congress there.
Speaker 8:
27:49
And really, you know, most of us are familiar with the Watergate break in, um, the coverup of the tapes, et cetera, et cetera. So the, I don't want to get into a detailed discussion on that, but Nixon's attempts to cover that up even after, um, Congress had subpoena the tapes, you know, once the tapes became public knowledge, they were altered. There were sections of the tapes that were, um, allegedly overwritten, um, before they were handed over. You know, Nixon initially agreed to hand over transcripts, which is not what Congress asked for him when he finally gave the tapes over. There were these omissions in the tapes. Um, and clearly Congress did not accept that. Now, once he did hand the tapes over, I didn't think it was a week or so later, he resigned from office. Uh, the handwriting was pretty much on the wall at that point in time that he was going to be impeached and most likely convicted on so much though that even without a conviction of any sort, uh, Gerald Ford had given him a broad pardon once he became president, uh, of any future prosecutions on the subject, which if that doesn't scream guilty, I'm not sure what thoughts at that point.
Speaker 8:
29:16
Um, but I think Richard Nixon is kind of the animosity of Congress, which if you look at today's political rhetoric that goes back and forth, that's sort of where you see us going with some of this stuff where the house is controlled by the Democrats and the, the vitriol that's, that's there about everything you do comes out between these two of them. And there's daggers flying back and forth in every press release that you see. So I could see a certainly going down that Richard Nixon route. What do you think?
Speaker 5:
29:55
Yeah, I think, I mean, like you said, it's all deeply personal. Um, it's just, it's almost to the point where it's two people, like fist fighting on Nick. The steps of Congress. That's where we're getting to, especially with the debates, um, coming up. It's a lot of that. But also I think with Nixon you have similarities then and now where Nixon had a history of lying to the American people and getting caught doing it. He had,
Speaker 8:
30:18
but let's be honest, what politician doesn't have a history of lying to them.
Speaker 5:
30:22
Yeah. But he got caught and it was really, uh, really obvious. Like, um, I could be wrong about this, but he was with Vietnam with the invasion of Cambodia and he lied about that or is
Speaker 8:
30:31
well, yeah, the escalation.
Speaker 5:
30:33
Yeah, the war. Yeah. So that was, there was that, and then I think it sets a precedent when a politician is going to lie and cover things up and then do it, does it over and over again. It tarnishes if the people can trust them. And we live in a world today that's obviously very cynical, but Nixon was kind of the first president that made people cynical because he got caught lying about massive things. I mean, JFK looking back now kind of did some of that too. And a lot of, and I'm sure every politician had, but Nixon was the first one to do it. And especially with the impeachment, it kind of solidified him as a liar president. And today we have that. And again, not being political, but it is just proven fact that president Trump is somewhat of a compulsive liar, contradicting himself constantly and changing his views on things and changing his stance on a lot of things and lying. And I think that that, that is a dangerous precedent to take, especially as a president. I mean, there are times when you need to lie and you need to maybe obscure things from the public and I can understand that, but when it's obscuring and lying to protect yourself and to protect the position of power that you have, that's where you get into some dangerous territory. Yeah. And that's, you know,
Speaker 8:
31:47
that's a very good point of having to look at, uh, a history and reputation. I mean, Richard Nixon by all accounts was a dirty politician. Uh, he ran very dirty, very negative campaigns. He would go out of his way to dig up stuff on his opponents. And use that to his advantage. And in a lot of the dirty politics that we see today, he pioneered. Um, but yeah, he was caught red handed with several things, um, controversies while he was in office and, and it's solid. His reputation, which did not help him in this situation.
Speaker 5:
32:27
Was he a part of the McCarthy team? He was
Speaker 8:
32:30
around when McCarthy, McCarthyism was around, I don't know how large a role he played. He wasn't particularly prompt
Speaker 5:
32:38
just because that's another thing that's up today as well. The concept
Speaker 8:
32:40
of witch hunts and McCarthyism and all that. Sure. I didn't know if I could draw another parallel there with Nixon as well. Yeah, no, that's a good point. Um, but if you look at, uh, president Trump, president Trump,
Speaker 9:
32:53
he,
Speaker 8:
32:55
I've seen various statistics and depending on what news source that you, you trust or you reference, uh, I've seen things say every fourth word out of his mouth, statistically as a lie. Um, and some of those lies are stretches of the truth or untruths or omissions or whatever. Um, but for someone who campaign on political office based on not being a politician, he's, he's got a pretty good reputation of lying like a politician does. Um, to the point. And it's not just him, it's his staff. I mean we have catch rages, catch phrases in our vocabulary now. Uh, thanks to his advisor, Kellyanne Conway, we have words or phrases like alternative facts where a factual statement is made about the president and we're told, well no, the president had, was using alternative facts to draw his conclusions. Um, so it's, it's difficult in a situation where someone can get up in front of the public, make a clearly and, and easily provable statement that's false and get away with it.
Speaker 8:
34:10
And when they're challenged on it, simply don't talk to the press. I mean, we've had months go by with president Trump where there aren't press releases because our news conferences rather, cause when there's a news conference, people ask questions and when they invariably ask questions that are going to get answers that aren't truthful, then it's just easier to just not have those questions asked. It seems. Um, and part of that secrecy that we're saying I think is what's driving some of the animosity at this point in time too. So for, it's interesting to look at our historical incidents of impeachment and see how there are some parallels to what we have here. Some of it is legitimate, I'm sure. I'm sure a lot of it is politically driven in this very corrosive environment that we're living in right now politically.
Speaker 9:
35:11
Um,
Speaker 8:
35:11
let's come back and talk about the modern impeachment process.
Speaker 7:
35:21
[inaudible]
Speaker 8:
35:22
impeachment resolutions made by members of the house of representatives are turned over to the house judiciary committee, which decides whether the resolution and the allegations of wrongdoing by the president and merits a referral to the full house for a vote on launching a formal impeachment inquiry. This is kind of a sticking point right now that we're running into because one of the things that the Trump administration is calling for is that full house vote.
Speaker 6:
35:53
Um,
Speaker 8:
35:54
now because the Democrats have the numbers that that full house vote will likely fall along party lines. But part of that is the opposing party who's being impeached, uh, has the right to call their own witnesses. They have their own subpoena power and they have access to all of the documentation. And the situation right now is that call hasn't been made. So they're having impeachment hearings right now, which is a subcommittee event. So the Republicans are kind of, you know, Colin shenanigans on this one and saying, well if you, if you want to impeach him then then let's impeach him. Let's follow the actual rules and procedures and everyone gets everything exposed to the public and the Democrats don't seem ready to do that. What are your thoughts on that?
Speaker 5:
36:49
Well, I mean like we talked about in the last segment about having something that sticks, especially with Andrew Johnson, it might be a case of that, that they're, you can look at it two ways. One, they know they don't have any, they don't have anything that'll like stick and get him permanently, but they're talking about impeachment to damage him in the upcoming election. Or the second option is they're just gathering more evidence so that they have a full presented case. My guess is it's probably the first one that they don't have enough to fully remove him and get him through impeachment and they're just using it to damage them for the upcoming election, which could turn against them if he does what he did when he was originally elected and paints himself as kind of a martyr that's being dragged through the political mud by the, you know, the ones that are always in power and the ones that are controlling everything which could help them, you know, and the other side, his, his
Speaker 8:
37:39
proverbial drain, the swamp is being dragged down into the swamp. That's a very astute point there. Uh, and, and one that I have to agree with because I think one of the, one of the mistakes that the Democrats are probably running into at this point is, um, they are
Speaker 8:
37:59
exposing themselves really. I mean, if they're not ready for, for a formal impeachment, you've got, you know, the, the Hawks in the democratic party that are requiring that something be done. And there's not enough evidence right now to, to stick to get a formal inquiry going. But the half step that you're doing here could very well play right in the Trump's hands. Um, you know, he's a master media manipulator. And the last thing that you probably want to give an opponent like that is, is the fodder of, you know, a half followed procedure that would make him look like that martyr, that underdog that will earn more, um, attention. Um, and you're right, we're looking at very long times for impeachment procedures to go and we're talking like 18 months. Um, so that's well past the current election cycle. So even if they go all the way to impeachment with this, it's not going to happen during his Karen term.
Speaker 8:
39:09
Um, so it may turn out to be a mistake to have started down that path. And given the, the president, their opponent will say, uh, an out for, um, so the entire house of representatives votes for or against a formal impeachment inquiry on needing only a simple majority or a single vote for approval, um, which they'll probably get approved. And if approved the house judiciary conducts an investigation to determine, um, if there's enough evidence to warrant articles of impeachment against the president, the committee then drafts articles of impeachment pertaining to specific charges, supported by evidence, the committee votes on each article of impeachment deciding whether to refer each article to the full house for a vote. And this is getting ahead of ourselves because we're not at that point yet. Um, no formal charges have been filed. No evidence has been offered. Um, so we haven't gotten to that point yet. Um, and for the sake of a country we, maybe we won't get to that point or beyond. Um, it's clear the aim of the majority of the Democrats is really to get president Trump out of office. And I'm not sure that impeachments the right way to do that. What are your thoughts?
Speaker 5:
40:34
I had mentioned this before, but the Democrats, and I know we're trying to, we're going to keep saying it, but we're trying to avoid being political. But just from my point of view of the Democrats seem extremely desperate because Trump took them by surprise initially. And when won the presidency. And I think that they don't want to underestimate him again, but I also think that they're playing themselves out of it because they're doing something like this where logically you would think, Oh, he's under impeachment investigation that will take away votes from him because he's seen as a, as a criminal, or is it someone unfit to have the office when in reality, we don't live in that kind of world anymore. Especially because Trump looks for those kinds of things and can spin them as a positive for himself. Yeah. Especially because he's appealing to his own silent majority in the country that look for things like that. They'd look for examples of the swamp, like you had mentioned. And I look for big politicians trying to keep the little guy down, even though Trump is nowhere near the little guy. But he prays. He can present himself as one. And I think that's exactly what's happening. And I think that it's gonna it could potentially do more harm than good and probably will.
Speaker 8:
41:42
Yeah. And I don't think it'll, it'll help, uh, the democratic election process at all. Uh, having Trump under impeachment without having articles of impeachment there. I mean, if they are, if the Democrats are unable to file charges, uh, against the president and present concrete evidence, it's probably going to backfire on them in the election and it's going to have the exact opposite effect. But that's just my, my personal prediction there. Speaking of, uh, the effects of impeachment, we'll come back and we'll talk about what we think the future of the country in the presidency looks like with, uh, upending impeachment
Speaker 7:
42:29
[inaudible].
Speaker 8:
42:30
So everyone who's attended a high school knows that should the president be removed from office, uh, he would be replaced by the vice president in this case, uh, vice president Pence would assume office. Um, and I'm not sure that really has the effect that the Democrats are looking for. A vice president Pence, um, largely supports all the same policies that Trump has. So from a policy standpoint, you're not gonna get much. Um, and considering the Karen term, um, you're not going to have Pence in office very long without a general election anyway, unless this carries over and Trump wins the election and the impeachment carries through into his second term. Um, having president Trump removed by voice, pears, president Pence, what effect do you think that's gonna have on the country?
Speaker 5:
43:24
Well, I think, I think Penn's in some ways is a scare, well, for my personal view, a scarier prospect and than president Trump because Pence is a more traditional politician. He's not as loud and as boisterous. He's more of the guy behind the scenes for Trump. So I think if he was put in power, he'd be able to, he might be able to get more done in terms of, of policymaking and pushing his agenda forward. Not to mention he's extremely, uh, anti LGBT, um, which I personally don't agree with that, um, at all. But I think that that is one of the things that I've noticed about him that I think is, is particularly unsettling to see and to have someone that has so vocally against that, um, in office. And I know that it's, you're not going to have the perfect person in office ever, but to have someone like that that is politically could be effective and has those kinds of views, I think would be a worst prospect that, uh, president Trump currently,
Speaker 8:
44:19
yeah. Uh, vice president pants does, um, promote very traditional conservative Christian fundamentals, especially when it comes to LGBTQ. Uh, from a standpoint of, of Trump, not a particularly religious man. So he's not, he's not preaching religious ideals like Trump does. So from, from that aspect, yeah, Trump might, uh, Pence might be a little bit more dangerous than Trump to some of the, um, points that the Democrats want to push. Um, but not being as boisterous as you described him as, um, would probably be causing, I think, a little bit less controversy in some of the public statements and foreign policy initiatives that Trump kind of undertakes. I don't, I don't want to say he's running, you know, of a foreign policy cause he seems pretty scattershot in his approach. Um, almost in an erratic fashion. Um, I think the mastic li, uh, Pence could, could possibly be a little more, um, caustic to the Democrats. Um, but from an international standpoint, I think he might come across a little bit better internationally. What about the impact on the financial markets? What are your thoughts on that?
Speaker 5:
45:47
Um, well, we can see here that the, during the, um, Nixon, when Nixon resigned, the S and P 500 dropped 25%, but during the Clinton impeachment, the S and P Rose by 22%. So it is going to throw things in a torque, a turmoil, excuse me. Um, in both directions. And I think especially with Trump being a, or at least he was, I'm not sure if he's still is having a lot of financial, uh, I guess cloud or our reputation. You could very well talk to people that he knows, you know, friends that he has a lot of backroom deals and kind of maneuver the markets to reflect negatively if he's an impeached, which we'll tell John at the end, he alludes to a kind of a new civil war if he's impeached. Right? So there's a chance that he might, you know, try to manipulate the markets to his favor to give that impression to people as well.
Speaker 8:
46:39
Yeah, and I, and I tend to agree, um, Trump if nothing else has proven to be, um, rather manipulative of the financial markets. Uh, he seems to, in the time he's been in office now and even during the 2016 election, he has a tendency of making statements and, and taking actions that have a direct impact on the financial markets. And generally when you see a politician do that, it's usually in response to a market shift. You know, uh, Obama or Clinton trying to inject, uh, some additional money in the economy during a recession period. Uh, Reagan restructuring the tax structure during prosperous economic times I'm part of, is trickle down economics so that that prosperity can, can reach other people. Um, usually you see a president doing that for, at least on the surface, the greater good of the country with Trump. I'm not sure it's quite the same motivations.
Speaker 8:
47:54
Um, the biggest thing that we see with Trump, two real big things that we've seen with Trump have been his, uh, tax break, which ironically was a five year tax break. Um, which tells me he, he kind of fell he was going to be a one term president and he didn't want the backlash of that, a tax break, that rebound on that tax break to hit during his presidency. Uh, and it would hit on immediately on the next president. And the other thing is the, um, the trade war with China and various other nations that we're running into right now where you're seeing trade goods, common trade goods, commodities, electronics, you know, luxury goods are increasing as much as 25 to 30% to get them into the country now. Um, and the cynic in me wants to know who's profiting by that, who's making that money? You know, how much money is Trump and his family and his various enterprises making off of this because it makes no sense to do it if there isn't profit.
Speaker 8:
49:05
Um, so anything that happens from a Trump administration, I'm skeptical about from a financial standpoint. I have to wonder where the gain is, who's making the money. And as with anything with politics, follow the money. If you follow the money, then you'll see where the motive is. So my concern with the market from an impeachment standpoint is yes, we know you're going to see volatility, um, that volatility is going to be driven by inside people that are manipulating that market for their own good. And ultimately it's not going to be the country that benefits from that, at least not on as a whole. So there's a legal impact to consider with this as well. On Donald Trump. Um, back on September 29th, retweeted a tweet from a, we'll say, controversial pastor and it said from Donald Trump's actual, uh, Twitter account, real Donald Trump, uh, if the Democrats are successful in removing the president from office, which they never will be, parentheses, it will cause a civil war like fracture in this nation from which our country will never heal. Ah, he was quoting pastor Robert Jefferies or Jefferis, um, and it was, uh, sent the Fox news as well.
Speaker 6:
50:46
Um,
Speaker 8:
50:47
that scares me quite frankly, that the president of the United States, even though these aren't his words, he's re tweeting the, we'll say threat in this case because to me this is a threat that if Donald Trump is removed from office, there will be a civil war. What are your thoughts on that?
Speaker 5:
51:10
I think he's just pan or knew his audience. He's playing to his audience. I mean, he's historically throughout his presidency and during his election seeks to radicalize people and he seeks to radicalize the, um, I don't want to say disenfranchise, but the people that have felt left out and that just so happens to typically be people that are also white supremacists. Yeah. Um, so I think by latching onto this and saying this, I personally don't think there would be a civil war. I think this is totally outlandish, but I think that by saying this, he's charging up those, you know, the alt-right and the white supremacists and the people that worship him to continue to be radicalized and to come and either literally or metaphorically fight for him come impeachment times. I mean, I'm, I'm not sure if I'm, like we had the whole point of the show if we'll ever get to impeachment proceedings, but if we did, I wouldn't be surprised if there were people radicalized, you know, uh, alt-right people, you know, either protesting or trying to storm the, uh, Congress or something like that. Um, and I think if he were to make the call to action, I think they would come, you know, and I'm not, I wouldn't be surprised if he did as the last resort.
Speaker 8:
52:21
Well, and there was an article in the daily beast that we cited in our show notes here, and they talk about this post and Donald Trump's involvement with it. And, and they basically said that the talk of a civil war like fracture has been the theme of the right for, for some while now it's surfaced in this case, uh, in Charlottesville in 2017 during the violent clashes between white supremacists and protestors. And it was that same clash when commenting on it that Donald Trump labeled the white supremacists, labeled both sides as fine people,
Speaker 6:
52:56
um,
Speaker 8:
52:57
which a lot of people took offense to, uh, and thought it was inappropriate for a president to be labeling white supremacists is fine people. Um, but basically the article goes on to say that the idea of the civil war fracture has gone hand in hand with this prospect of a race war for quite some time now.
Speaker 6:
53:18
Um,
Speaker 8:
53:19
and there've been talk of race worsens back in the 60s during the Vietnam era. Um, so this, this isn't a new concept, but I think this is probably the first time in history that you're kind of seeing it if not promoted by at least accepted by a sitting president of, you know, okay, so white supremacists really isn't that bad. They're fine people. And when you get that stance from the chief executive, where do you go from there to try and solve that?
Speaker 5:
53:58
Um, well, I don't know, as you were talking about it, it made me think a lot about when Lincoln was elected, uh, prior to the civil war. I mean, the South said if Lincoln's elected, we're going to succeed. And Lincoln didn't even show up on the ballot in some Southern States. Yeah. And he's still won. And it's something, it reminds me of something like that. I mean, this civil war, the nation was still fairly new and we had a lot of things we need to do to work out, especially with the issue of slavery, which was the big one. Um, and I think today we don't really have that big issue that is dividing us. I think it's just political beliefs and I mean sure you could site, um, you know, class warfare and wealth inequality and things like that. But I think, I think it's always been this way.
Speaker 5:
54:40
I think that white supremacy, maybe not white supremacy to the extent that we're seeing now, but I think there have always, there's always been a disparity between races, especially with those in power. I just think it's been more behind the scenes and, and, and it was never talked about. But now with president Trump, because he's not the type to hide things, well, hide his views on things. He's always the first to tell you what he thinks. We're just seeing more of that come to light. And I think that it's so radical in a bad way to see a president just say whatever comes to his mind. Because before, I'm just the other day I heard a tape of, I believe it was Nixon and maybe Gerald Ford, um, talking about something and they were just casually throwing out racial slurs that this was a recorded tape that was a hidden in during the Nixon administration.
Speaker 5:
55:32
But now you can get something like this one on Trump's Twitter and it's, it's such a, a radical change of, um, how a president functions in the media and especially Trump because he obviously utilized the Twitter, how, how we're supposed to handle that and what we're supposed to interpret from it. Whereas before the president was seen as a kind of a total, like something that you would carry with, uh, some kind of honor with Trump. You realize that they're just people and that they have these beliefs that maybe you know, your racist uncle had, but now your racist uncle is the one that's in power and maybe always has been. Yeah.
Speaker 8:
56:09
Yeah, that's true. That's true. Um, the one thing that I think is kind of scary about this is there's a CNBC article, uh, that talked about that there's ample evidence now that, that Russia had used Facebook ads to inflame racial tensions during the 2016 presidential election. And you know, we've, we've seen the results of the Mueller report and there hasn't been sufficient evidence to suggest that Trump was involved in any outside influence of the president's presidential election. But there was sufficient evidence that came out of there to suggest that Russia was involved in influencing the election. And it wasn't that they were trying to tell you who to vote for, who not to vote for. They were dividing the country on racial lines along racial lines. And that divide influenced who people voted for. Um, and that kind of outside, like if, if Russia can see that those divides exist and they can find a way to manipulate them through Facebook, a social networking platform that can influence the outcome of an election, that's kind of dangerous stuff there. I mean to me that that speaks of a groundswell of animosity along racial lines that suggests that a race war may be something that someone's really is trying to trigger, at least tap into for racial. Um, we'll say profit in this case for political profit. Um, do you think that there's racial tensions that could be manipulated like that?
Speaker 5:
58:00
I think there are tensions, but I also think that things like this, the tactic is to divide people as much as possible because the more people that are that the more people are divided, the easier they are to control and to influence into manipulate. And I think that instead of, it's easier said than done, but instead of, you know, feeling the racial tensions and seeing things like that, I think that if we were instead to focus on the things we have in common and the things that we share, then things like this wouldn't be such an issue. I think people are so determined to, it's that that age old thing of, I want to feel unique but part of a group. And I think that we're seeing a lot of that now and I think that comes out of both racial tensions and with the political situation that we've got now, political tensions because it's difficult to have a Democrat and a Republican talk to each other seemingly with without some kind of animosity and it goes to, it seems like it goes to you as a person. It's not just your beliefs, it's who you are as a person. And I think that there's a lot of the issue and of course Russia who is, well not really our enemy, they're kind of, they're another global superpower. It'd be, it would make sense for them to want to manipulate us in this way because it's the easiest way to do it. And it's really easy to do it as you can see here. And the impacts that it's at now with, you know, influence on influencing
Speaker 8:
59:22
our elections. Yeah. And it's not like the United States hasn't had a history of influencing other nations elections. I mean, CIA had an entire division devoted to that. Um, the Washington post had an article that talked about some of the practices that Cambridge Analytica had undertook. Um, Cambridge Analytica was deeply associated with the Trump 2016 campaign. They use something they called the psychographic techniques, um, as opposed to demographic techniques. Um, they basically would go out, w take a step back a second and kind of explain some background on Cambridge Analytica. So Cambridge Analytica is a UK based company that had us operations and they would accumulate data from multiple data sources. Um, one of those being Facebook. Um, and they did so by running this questionnaire on Facebook and people would answer this information and give Cambridge Analytica this information for free. And then Cambridge Analytica then basically scrape their friends lists and get information about their friends as well.
Speaker 8:
60:44
And their, their job was to analyze all that data determined who was cause it. I mean you and I are both well aware of the fact that the country is very polarized and that tends to be the case in most other countries where they were active. It wasn't about taking someone who was a staunch Democrat and getting them to vote Republican. It was getting that, that group in the middle there who was the undecided group that that swing group and, and influencing them and manipulating them to do what you want. And that's largely what Cambridge Analytica did. And they learned this tactic in other countries. Um, for instance, in a Trinidad, they had a practice where you had two minorities in Trinidad and they ran a campaign to suppress the vote and they suppress the vote with willing participants. Like we've had voter suppression in the United States where people have been intimidated, they've been attacked, you've had poll taxes, all these other things to get certain people, certain groups, not the vote. Cambridge Analytica was actually, um, we'll say brilliant. I'll give them the, the credit in this case. They were brilliant enough to manipulate the youth of this one minority in Trinidad. To think that not voting was a way of protesting. We're not going to vote because all politicians, evil, all politicians are corrupt. And by doing that, they were able to swing 6% of the vote towards their target party just by convincing the youth of the other party that voting was, was unfashionable. Um, and really it was brilliant the way that they did it, but
Speaker 8:
62:41
they were employed to work with the Trump administration as well. And some of the statistics that came out, talk about the Trump administration spending $16 million on Facebook ads versus the Democrats spending about a million dollars on Facebook ads. Um, and this is a, the dominant social network that we're talking about here. And it's about manipulating people's perception just like any, any political campaign really is.
Speaker 6:
63:11
So
Speaker 8:
63:14
Trump has really based his presidency on his nationalistic values, his make America great again. Um, but really it's about dividing Americans along a class line. [inaudible]
Speaker 6:
63:29
um,
Speaker 8:
63:30
and that divide that's there, you know, it's, I think it's always been there. He basically drove a social media wedge right into the middle of that and separated it even further and has been able to exploit that, his use. And I think if anything, you're going to see that type of tactic and that type of, um, split,
Speaker 6:
63:57
um,
Speaker 8:
63:57
really exploit it. Should he be removed from office for impeachment reasons. Um, and I don't know if that's something that the country could,
Speaker 6:
64:09
um,
Speaker 8:
64:11
sustain or come back from. And, and, and I think that's what scares me more than anything else is there the divides there. And most politicians traditionally have not attacked that divide. And that's the one thing that Trump has done. He's recognized that and he's exploited that and he's, he's pushed that divide further apart. What do you think about that?
Speaker 5:
64:35
Um, I think, I think there is a certain truth to that, but I also, you know, there was a time before television, right? So there weren't any television, political based ads. But now, especially with local elections, you see them all the time. They are, they have low production value and no one really takes them seriously because they're targeted at, you know, people that are easy to manipulate. So you see these kinds of ads and you think, Oh they're just a norm. And we see them all the time, you know, before you watch jeopardy. And I think that that is where social media will head because we've got, we've got, Trump is the first one that really exploited, I mean you had Obama do it more for the to get the youth vote and to spread his message right when social media was becoming a thing.
Speaker 5:
65:14
But now we've got Trump that is using it to divide people, slander political opponents. And I think that that's setting up a dangerous precedent that future politicians will most likely take advantage of as well. So I think that social media is just becoming another Avenue for political slander to a certain extent. And I think that it does seem scary, but I also think we're ignoring people's ability to normalize things. And even we've seen that with Trump so far. I mean, when he was initially elected, everything he said was making headlines. And now every day he just says whatever he wants. And we've just kind of grown used to it. And you have to remind yourself of this. This doesn't have to be the norm and that we can have a president. So I think seeing these tactics use on social media will become just as normalized as that.
Speaker 8:
66:02
And I think, I think you're right. I agree with you. Um, television is a great example of when, when Nixon and, uh, Kennedy debated each other. It was really the first time you had televised debates and you had a traditional politician like Nixon get up there who was coached and rehearsed and polished in his responses and, and his, his policies. Um, get out there and debate Kennedy. And because Kennedy was a modern, uh, media celebrity, you know, basically, and, and had that movie star personality about him, he had the foresight to allow them to put makeup on him. And as a result, he looked better on TV. Even though those people that were listening on the radio all agreed that Nixon won the debate. Ultimately it was candida that won the election because he was able to take that new technology and, and use it.
Speaker 8:
67:04
Now granted he wasn't, he wasn't using it to influence others so much as to um, make himself come across better. Uh, he wasn't trying to divide the nation. Um, so yeah, I mean social media is just another tool that's being used in the political process on no different than TV was. My concern has been a politician who is keen enough to see where the divided. It's like, it's like fighting an opponent. Um, who knows where your weakness is. You're in a boxing match and your opponent watched your last fight and knew that you probably had a rib injury and he's going to come in there and he's not going to toy around. He's not going to dance with you in the ring. He's not going to have a fair fight. He's going to go after that damage rip and he's going to beat you in that ribbon until you fall and you can't fight anymore.
Speaker 8:
68:01
Um, eh, is it dirty fighting to do that? Maybe it works, but it works. Yeah. And I think that's sort of what Trump is, is Trump is that guy that's going to go in there. He's a, and a lot of, to his credit comes from his, his business prowess. Um, Trump's not a politician. He's a businessman and he's a businessman who's made his fortune by exploiting other people's weaknesses. Um, he just happens to be taking that same tactic to politics. And as a result, people that play by the traditional rules are crying, foul as a result. Is it on sportsman? Like maybe, but should Pollock, has politics ever been sportsman? Like, I mean, you've had political campaigns that have attacked [inaudible], you know, candidates, dogs, you know, it's like candidates wives. And so it's like dirty politics isn't something that's unique to Trump. Um, I think Trump may do it better than other people, uh, certainly more effectively than other people. Um, I think the thing that probably bothers me most is that we have those weaknesses as a society. We have those racial divides, this, this far from the civil Warren and with, you know, civil rights being at the forefront of a lot of our discussions. We as a society are still very fragile and when it comes to that sort of thing, and we now have a politician who can masterfully manipulate, lead those weaknesses. And I don't know, maybe I'm a little disappointed in society for being, being that fragile.
Speaker 8:
69:46
Anyway, I think that was, and on a real, uh, yeah, you know, we're all doomed. I think that was what we had this week. But if you have any, have final thoughts for us, just remind yourself that it's not, this isn't normal and it doesn't have to be. Yeah, I think those are good closing words. Uh, this has been another episode of insights into tomorrow. Uh, we'd love to get your feedback. Feel free emails@commentsandinsightsintothings.com. You can check us out on our website@wwwdotinsightsintothings.com. You can check us out. Our videos are up on YouTube at youtube.com/insights and the things, and you can get the audio versions of this podcast@podcastdotinsightsintotomorrow.com and I think that's it. Another one in the books. Thanks for listening folks. Bye.
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