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The Fallacy in One Side's Impeachment Argument

The Fallacy in One Side's Impeachment Argument

By Monday, 25 November 2019 12:28 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Now that the public hearings portion of the impeachment inquiry has ended, the process is moving forward toward an impeachment vote by the entire House of Representatives.

While most Americans have formed a view regarding guilt or innocence, many still want to evaluate the arguments from both sides. Maybe a fallacy can be found.

The undisputed facts are that U.S. military aid to the Ukraine was held up for at most 55 days by President Trump. The reason had to do with corruption investigations.

The Democrats’ view is that Trump held up the shipment in order to force the newly elected Ukraine government to “dig up dirt” on one of his potential political rivals. This was, in fact, a bribe. Trump offered to release nearly $400 million in military aid, to talk on the phone to the newly elected Ukrainian President and give a him a credibility building White House invitation.

The Dems say the offer was contingent on the Ukraine guarantying to investigate Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This investigation must also include the company called Burisma who has presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son as a board member. And to investigate Joe Biden’s involvement with his son’s activities.

The Dems further claim that Trump wanted to smear a potential pollical opponent so the whole deal was arranged simply for Trump’s personal gain. That bribe, alone, is an impeachable offense.

Add to that Trump’s obstruction of justice, contempt of Congress and abuse of power and there are now four articles of impeachment. Based on the vote that created the impeachment inquiry, nearly every Democrat in Congress agrees.

The Republican view is quite different. In 2014, Russia invaded the Ukraine and annexed Crimea. The U.S. did not offer military assistance. Trump changed the policy and requested military aid. Once approved and ready for release, Trump wanted to ensure that the newly elected government was not corrupt.

Trump wanted to be convinced that the new government was committed to eliminate corruption and to investigate any illegal activities by Ukrainians during the 2016 election. It widely known that the Russians interfered in that election. Since at least one Ukrainian citizen has already been convicted of tampering with the U.S. 2016 election, Trump wanted to know if there were more.

There is also some circumstantial evidence that former Vice-President Joe Biden may have some involved in the highly corrupt company Burisma, where his son receives extraordinarily large sums for seemingly doing very little.

Trump released the funds when U.S. diplomats assured him that the new government was committed to clean up corruption. Trump also was pressured by Congress who was set to freeze the money if it was not released.

The GOP view is that this action was not a bribe. Indeed Ukraine received all of the funds and did absolutely nothing in return. GOP would also argue that there is no crime called obstruction of Congress. Congress and the president routinely disagree on release of information. The courts make the decision which is exactly what is happening here.

Trump hasn’t obstructed any justice by using executive privilege. And he certainly didn’t abuse his power. The reason is that he didn’t want to investigate a potential political rival. Instead he wanted to investigate a former vice president. Just because Biden runs for president doesn’t mean he can’t be investigated for potential wrong doing a few years ago...

So which argument has the fallacy? The answer is that they both do, but one side’s fallacy undermines their entire argument.

The Democrats’ argument is based on the premise that Trump only wants Biden investigated because he wants to harm a political rival. If that is false, then their entire argument is undermined.

Trump says he is investigating a former vice president and that’s all. He might argue that suppose the investigation reveals John Kerry’s step son, formerly Hunter Biden’s business partner, is implicated. Suppose then, officials wanted to investigate John Kerry to see if any of his influence was used improperly.

That would be acceptable. But if Kerry decided to enter the race for president would the investigation on him have to stop? Is Biden untouchable just because he is running for president?

To convict the president of a crime jurors must be convinced “beyond a shadow of a doubt” of guilt. Since it is possible that Trump did just want to examine all corrupt activity in 2016, there is more than a shadow of a doubt concerning the Dems accusation that Trump just to investigate a political rival. That means he is not guilty.

The truth is probably that Trump did want to target Biden, not because of any fear in future elections but more as a revenge. Since the day he was elected president the Democrats have pushed degrading and untrue accusations about him. Trump keeps saying that the Dems are actually doing the things that they falsely accuse him of doing.

He wanted to prove his point. Eventually he probably will, as investigations on the Biden activity in Ukraine have already started here in the U.S..

In the end, the Democrat argument is built on fallacy. Trump committed no impeachable acts. That was the case during the investigation into Russian collusion, obstruction of justice, finance campaign violations and now bribery.

Trump won in 2016. If the Dems want him removed, in less than a year they have a real opportunity by convincing voters their candidate is best. That’s what they should be concentrating on, not the impeachment fallacy.

Dr. Michael Busler, Ph.D., is a public policy analyst and a professor of finance at Stockton University in Galloway, New Jersey, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in finance and economics. He has written op-ed columns in major newspapers for more than 35 years.

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Now that the public hearings portion of the impeachment inquiry has ended, the process is moving forward toward an impeachment vote by the entire House of Representatives.
fallacy, one, side, impeachment, argument, trump
Monday, 25 November 2019 12:28 PM
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