When we consider the pending impeachment of Donald Trump, most of us want to compare it to the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

After all, the Clinton saga was interesting. It had all of the essential ingredients: “sex, lies and video tapes.” But it happened organically. Clinton lied under oath. He brought impeachment upon himself.

Others argue that the Trump experience is closer to that of Richard Nixon. But Nixon was caught on tape covering up a burglary. It did not require sex. He too brought misfortune upon himself, albeit platonically.

Hence, the focus on Nixon and Clinton are misplaced. They do not shed much light on Donald Trump’s plight. The game being played in Washington today is the strategy which impeached — but narrowly failed to remove — Andrew Johnson from the presidency.

On April 15, 1865, Republican Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Left in office was a “deep state” of political appointees who demanded harsh treatment for the defeated Confederacy. Vice President Andrew Johnson, a lifelong Democrat, was swiftly sworn-in to take Lincoln’s place. An entire political system was thereby thrown into turmoil.

To the politicians of the time, the Civil War was fought to preserve the Union, end slavery and solidify the rule of the Republican Party. Andrew Johnson was an anomaly who had no place in that “natural order of things.”

Unlike 1860, Lincoln did not run in 1864 as a Republican. He and Johnson formed the National Union Party. It was a ruse used to undercut the Democrats supporting Lincoln’s opponent. Johnson was a useful token to extract an electoral win in 1864, but he was never expected to have any real power. He was a former slave holder who Republicans viewed as morally unfit to be president.

So, the Republicans of 1865 treated Andrew Johnson the same way Democrats treat Donald Trump. They planned his impeachment soon after he took office.

In 1867, the House Judiciary Committee probed Johnson’s bank accounts and called the “deep state” to testify. The committee even tried to find collusion between Johnson and Former Confederate President Jefferson Davis. But, like today’s investigation of Donald Trump’s finances and like today’s charge of Donald Trump colluding with the “enemy,” the “witch hunt” found nothing.

However, Republicans had “an insurance policy.” It was called the Tenure of Office Act, passed over Johnson’s veto. It declared that a presidential cabinet member who was confirmed by the Senate could not be fired without the permission of the Senate. And when, without Senate approval, President Johnson fired Lincoln’s “deep state” Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, Johnson was impeached.

Like the Republicans of 1868, Democrats of 2019 at first tried and failed to tag the president as a traitor and then as a financial fraud. When that failed, they set an impeachment trap consisting of well-placed individuals within the national security apparatus. Any attempt to exercise proper presidential power like firing the Ukrainian ambassador or investigating the corrupt practices of Joe Biden were utilized as a pretense for impeachment. It was and is a reaction from the “deep state” trying to hold onto its power and influence.

Of course, Andrew Johnson was not removed by the Senate and neither will removal be faced by Donald Trump. Johnson, like Trump, was a casualty of a former power structure desperately trying to hold onto yesterday. Their joint experiences teach us that presidents who challenge the “deep state” can become targets of that state. And, when the entrenched power structure is challenged, it will access every weapon available to destroy its opponent.

Presidents Andrew Johnson and Donald Trump had the courage to oppose the “deep state.” In both cases, they survived and pressed on with their policies. Unfortunately, Johnson was so wounded, he was not re-nominated by either party for a second term. In 1868, the “deep state” survived by supporting the corrupt presidency of Ulysses S. Grant.

Whether the “deep state” will survive in 2020 will be up to the voters. The next election will determine whether the Trump Presidency will just fade away like that of old soldier Andrew Johnson. Or, will the policies of Donald Trump triumph over an impeachment that, like Johnson’s, was planned by the “deep state” long before it happened? 2020 will determine if democracy is a “deep state” casualty.

(18) comments

Mark Hayes

Having read the comments of our local epictemophiliac/ultracrepidarian, difficult to distinguish which is considered to be more fitting, I find it all to be rather hypocritical, that so much be made from so little. Taking into consideration the many times our own Presidents and diplomats of the past have used financial favors to extract what they desire from foreign countries, those being the offers of cash/aid in order to control, while demanding the assurance that those countries will support American priorities, reminds me of the mafia and gang tactic of extortion payments. Other than the protocol used, this Biden/Trump issue actually seems rather minimal in comparison to this governments past experiences involving foreign matters, more political than Constitutional.

Jim Tomashoff

"...the many times our own Presidents and diplomats of the past have used financial favors to extract what they desire from foreign countries, those being the offers of cash/aid in order to control, while demanding the assurance that those countries will support American priorities..." Yes, but these Presidents were not asking the governments of these countries to do political favors for him personally. Moreover, Congress, almost unanimously passed legislation requiring the President to provide military equipment to Ukraine. If a president wishes to withhold such aid he can do so with an agreement from Congress or at a minimum with consultation with Congress. This was not done. Indeed, it was purposely kept secret from Congress. Context matters.

Jim Tomashoff

Do I think any of the following will have any impact whatsoever on Peyton Cook? No, I don't. But he challenged me to come up with some "facts" so here are some, complete with sources, something Peyton NEVER provides, and from one of his favorite sources of "facts" to boot.

"An ally of Donald Trump has changed his impeachment inquiry testimony to confirm that the US president offered Ukraine a quid pro quo to investigate a political rival.

Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, said he had told a senior official in Ukraine that nearly $400m in military aid would probably be withheld until the country announced an investigation into corruption, including allegations concerning a gas company with ties to the former vice-president Joe Biden’s son Hunter." https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/nov/05/trump-impeachment-sondland-ukraine-quid-pro-quo-latest

Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano on Tuesday pushed back against the argument that President Trump using a quid pro quo in his dealings with Ukraine did not qualify as an impeachable offense.

"Oh, it’s clearly impeachable because the president requested something that’s criminal to ask," Napolitano said on Fox News https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smQSV97voOE

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano put some distance between himself and many of his Fox colleagues when it comes to President Donald Trump seeking assistance from a foreign leader in the upcoming election, describing it as an “act of corruption” that is the “most serious charge” yet against the president.

Appearing Monday on the Fox Business Network, Napolitano—who warned in June that Trump was “prepared to commit a felony to get re-elected—was asked by host David Asman about the ongoing controversy surrounding a whistleblower’s complaint surrounding Trump’s communications with Ukraine.

“Who is in more trouble here,” Asman declared. “The president who had this phone call with the Ukrainian leader or Joe Biden who actually did have a quid pro quo with regard to Ukraine when he was vice president?” (The Ukrainian prosecutor general said in May that there is no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden or his son Hunter.)

“I think this is the most serious charge against the president, far more serious than what Bob Mueller dug or dragged up against him,” Napolitano noted. “If there was a quid pro quo—it does appear as though a quarter of a billion dollars in defensive weaponry was held back for a period of time while these eight conversations were going on between the president.”

Asman, meanwhile, pointed to a Wall Street Journal report noting that the July call between Trump and the Ukrainian president didn’t reveal a specific quid pro quo. https://www.thedailybeast.com/foxs-judge-napolitano-trumps-act-of-corruption-with-ukraine-is-most-serious-charge-hes-faced-yet

“So if you are the President of the United States and you are making a conversation that you know your intelligence community is listening to,” the judge replied. “Of course you’re not going to articulate a quid pro quo. You’ll just make the quid pro quo happen.”

Trump, for his part, essentially admitted to threatening to withhold aid to Ukraine on the call if they didn’t investigate “corruption,” apparently referencing Biden and his son, telling reporters on Monday that “if you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?”

Asman pivoted to Biden, claiming the former vice president voiced a “direct quid pro quo” when he threatened to withhold a billion-dollar loan guarantee—at the behest of several Western countries—if Ukraine didn’t dismiss its then-prosecutor general Viktor Shokin for corruption. The Fox Business host parroted Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s accusations that Shokin was actively investigating Hunter Biden’s company at the time of his dismissal, an assertion that has long been debunked."

Jim Tomashoff

I mistakenly put the citation involving Napolitano's conversation with Asman in the wrong place. It should be at the end of the sentence to ends, "...long been debunked. But here's another source speaking to the "quid pro quo" the Peyton says never existed. Oh, and it includes comments by a Republican Congressman and testimony, under oath, by a member of the National Security Council who reports on first-hand information provided to him by Ambassador Sondland.

"A Republican member of one of the House committees involved in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump said Sunday that information provided about Trump during a closed-door deposition of a former National Security Council official "is alarming" and "not OK."

"Well, of course, all of that is alarming. As I've said from the beginning, I think this is not OK. The President of the United States shouldn't even in the original phone call be on the phone with the president of another country and raise his political opponent," Rep. Mike Turner, an Ohio Republican, told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union."

"So, no, this is not OK," he added on Sunday.

On Saturday, Morrison testified that US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was acting at Trump's instruction in his dealings with Ukraine. According to Morrison's deposition, Sondland said the President told him that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "must announce the opening of the investigations" into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Morrison also testified that US aid to Ukraine was conditioned on the country announcing an investigation into the Bidens. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden in Ukraine.

Ex-NSC official corroborates Sondland said he was directed by Trump on Ukraine.

Morrison's testimony, which was released by House impeachment investigators on Saturday, adds additional corroboration to the testimony of others, like US diplomat Bill Taylor, that Sondland said he was acting at Trump's direction when he was urging Ukraine to announce political investigations. https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/17/politics/mike-turner-donald-trump-impeachment-inquiry-cnntv/index.html

This won't incline Peyton to change his mind about the quid pro quo either. He'll say it was published by CNN, so it just has to be a false lying attack by the Deep State against Trump. Even though all CNN is doing is directly quoting other people. Right Peyton?

Peyton Cook

Trump may have asked the new Ukrainian President to look into the Biden’s dealings with Birisma, but it never happened. Therefore, there was no “quid pro quo”. But when Biden himself threatened to cut off aid, and gave the then corrupt Ukrainian President six hours to fire the Prosecutor, it did happen. That was a “quid pro quo”. CNN and other of the media outlets you frequent would never report this, but Fox did.

Peyton Cook

The lethal aid to the Ukraine, which Obama never gave, was halted until the new Ukrainian President was vetted as being the reformer he said he was. There was wrongdoing by at least by the then Vice President, and I, as many others, saw him boast about getting the former corrupt Ukrainian President to fire the Prosecutor. I bet that wasn’t reported by CNN.

Jim Tomashoff

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Military aid promised by the U.S. to Ukraine — and the strange circumstances under which it was held up and eventually released — is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

For Republicans, the key fact is that Ukraine received the money, regardless of any request from Trump for an investigation of Joe Biden or the 2016 U.S. elections. For Democrats, withholding the aid for investigations is an abuse of power, regardless of what happened in the end.

A look at key dates involving the nearly $400 million in military assistance that had been approved for release in the early months of 2019:

JULY 3: The hold

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a national security official working at the White House, becomes aware that the military aid has been held up. He testified that he received a notice from the State Department. “That’s when I was concretely made aware of the fact there was a hold placed,” he said in testimony to lawmakers.

JULY 10: The meeting

A meeting at the White House with Ukrainian officials is cut short when Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, says he has an agreement with the acting White House chief of staff that Ukraine’s president would get a meeting with Trump if Ukraine agreed to launch investigations.

Then-national security adviser John Bolton “stiffened” and ended the meeting, later telling colleague Fiona Hill to report it to the National Security Council’s lawyer, she testified. "I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and (acting White House chief of staff Mick) Mulvaney are cooking up on this,” Hill said Bolton told her.

JULY 18: The hold-up announcement

In a secure call with national security officials, a staff member of the White House Office of Management and Budget announces there’s a freeze on Ukraine aid until further notice, based on a presidential order to the budget office.

JULY 25: The phone call

Trump speaks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, asking him for favors that include an inquiry into Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s dealings with Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company, and to investigate whether Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. He later calls it a “perfect” call.

AUGUST: The questions

Catherine Croft, the special adviser for Ukraine at the State Department, says two Ukrainians reach out to her to ask about the status of the military assistance. She told lawmakers she couldn’t recall the exact dates, but believes the outreach took place before the Aug. 28 publication of a Politico article detailing the hold.

AUG. 12: The complaint

A whistleblower files a formal complaint addressed to Congress that details concerns over the July 25 phone call and the hold placed on the military aid. The complaint is withheld from Congress until Sept. 25.

AUG. 28: The article

Politico publishes details that the military aid to Ukraine is on hold, setting off a scramble among diplomats in Ukraine and the United States.

AUG. 29 AND AFTER: Ukraine’s desperation

William Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified that he did not know the aid had been withheld until after the Politico article appeared, when he started receiving “desperate” calls from Ukrainian officials.

“The minister of defense came to me,” he said. “I would use the word ‘desperate,’ to try to figure out why the assistance was held.”

Taylor said the minister thought if he spoke to Congress, or the White House, he could find out the reason and reassure them of whatever was necessary to get the aid. If the money wasn’t provided by Sept. 30, it would be lost. (Jim: it would be lost because Congress appropriated the money only for fiscal year 2019, which ended Sept. 30th)

SEPT. 9: The investigations begin

Three House committees launch a wide-ranging investigation into the allegations that Trump, his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and possibly others, tried to pressure the Ukrainian government to help the president’s reelection campaign by digging up dirt on a political rival.

SEPT. 11: The aid is released

The funds are suddenly released. Senate Republicans said that happened in part because Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, threatened to block $5 billion in Pentagon spending for 2020 if the aid wasn’t given to Ukraine. They said the aid was held up while Trump looked into whether Zelenskiy was serious about fighting corruption. Taylor and other diplomats involved in Ukraine were not given a reason for the aid being released.

IN THE AFTERMATH: The canceled CNN interview

Taylor said Ukraine’s president was planning to do an interview with CNN in which he would make a public statement on the investigations that Trump had pushed for.

Taylor was concerned about the interview and its potential to play into “domestic U.S. politics,” and on Sept. 13 asked Ukrainian officials about it. The interview never happens.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/curious-release-military-aid-ukraine-n1082256

Of course Peyton will poo poo this timeline because it was correlated and published by NBC, part of the MSM and the Deep State. But, then again, Peyton ONLY believes Trump, Fox, and Breitbart.

ken leary

We were told by a sane Republican that the "deep state" is the Military/industrial (complex?) Should probably add financial to that list. Some call it corporate America. Corporations owns the MSM so they control , or they did control, the narrative. This makes me think of that "greatest trick the devil ever pulled" warning. Read "Giants" by Peter Phillips. He names names, organizations, and their interconnections. Trump is stepping on these people's toes. They don't like that.

Sally Larson

How appropriate, there's an article about the supposed Deep State in the Washington Post this morning.

"Trump, who campaigned on fighting the deep state, has instead installed the deep state 2.0: even more corrupt, more contemptuous and more in-your-face to citizens who object. In voting to throw the bums out, his supporters got the same old policies, only this time exacerbated by unbridled corruption and contempt for the Constitution. Hoping to drive the deep state away, they installed it in the seat of power, where it’s sprawled out more comfortably than ever."

Peyton Cook

A very good analogy. The Radical Republicans used an unconstitutional law to get rid of Andrew Johnson. The Radical Democrats are attempting to Impeach Trump for bribery. His July phone call was to a newly elected President who ran a anti-corruption campaign. Trump asked him lo look into the association of the Bidens with a corrupt Ukrainian oil company. We now that then Vice President Biden had coerced the former Ukrainian President to fire the prosecutor investigating the oil company by threatening to cut off money. That is bribery. The July phone call was not a quid pro quasi there was no would.

Jim Tomashoff

Peyton, I want to thank you. I've learned from you how the mind of an unquestioning true believer works. I never understood how seemingly intelligent and educated people could faithfully trumpet the nonsense that would-be authoritarians pedal. Following your comments over the years now I do. At both an emotional and intellectual level I understand and can now envision that had you been born German around 1910, you'd have made a fine Waffen SS officer.

Peyton Cook

Other than the unbecoming slurs you wrote, exactly what did I get wrong. I stand by what I wrote; there was no “quid pro quo”. You have the bad habit of not adding anything to serious about conversation; only smears and defamations. Grow up and act like an adult!

Jim Tomashoff

I constantly add to the serious conversation. I've written chapter and verse about the limits of executive privilege, citing at length the Supreme Courts ruling in U.S. v. Nixon. Countless times I've attempted to point out your erroneous assertions of "facts" by citing, at length, articles, rulings, legislation, etc. that refute your assertions. Nothing ever gets through to you, hence my belief that you are a true believer who believes, uncritically, what you are told, regardless of how ludicrous it is, by people you support. You would be a great Waffen SS officer because that mode of thinking is consistent with how they came to believe what they did and then acted upon it. The only people who argue there was no quid pro quo are the people and organizations you've previously cited as the ones you believe, Limbaugh, Breitbart, and Trump. So, in this instance, you got everything factually wrong, but it is pointless to try to convince you otherwise. You're the classic example of "my mind's made-up, don't confuse me with facts."

Sally Larson

Um, deep state = conspiracy theory = doesn't exist.

Conrad Meyer

Sally, they exist. Do you think for one nanosecond that the deep state is going to raise their hand and say "lookie here"?

Sally Larson

Such an easy out for those who are loosing. "While the belief in a deep state is popular among Trump supporters, critics maintain that it has no basis in reality, arguing that the sources of the leaks frustrating the Trump administration lack the organizational depth of deep states in other countries. Critics also warned that use of the term in the U.S. could undermine confidence in vital institutions and be used to justify suppressing dissent." Wikipedia

Conrad Meyer

It will be interesting to see what IG Horowitz's report has to say.

PS - never believe what you read in Wikipedia - a tiny cut above Facebook.

Sally Larson

Narcissism+Paranoia = Trump+Deep state.

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