My opinion is that the best political move is to do your job, to the best of your abilities, and if impeaching a president for crimes, regardless of wished for outcome, is your job, then you do it.
Sure. But it kinda has to actually be crimes that reach the level of impeachment. Trumps alleged crime didn't come close. So while we could speculate a moralistic non-political reason for going forward with it anyway, it's far more likely that this was a political calculation. Given Pelosi's statement immediately after the vote in the house to impeach that this would "forever put an asterisk next to Trump's name in this history books", it's a pretty good bet that was the whole point.
It would be like having a bunch of evidence of a murder, but not convicting,
because the jury is conservative, and you are afraid they won't convict, so you give justice the finger, sit on your hands, and take a paycheck.
Striking out the irrelevant and politically biased part of your analogy, this is something that DAs literally do every single day. It's pretty much their job. The look at the evidence of a case and make a determination as to whether a jury is likely to convict. Then they decide whether to go forward with charges, what charges to go forward with, whether to plea bargain, etc. And yes, how a jury might view the actions in question (regardless of political biases) is going to factor in to that.
As I mentioned earlier, in a regular trial, there are multiple crimes which could be charged, each of which the defendant can be found guilty or not guilty of, and then there are a range of sentence possibilities for each charge. With impeachment, there is only one sentence. So the jury is not just determining whether they think the defendant committed the crime, but also whether the crime merits the one sentence they are allowed to give.
A better analogy is that you live in a criminal justice system where there is only one sentence: execution. Period. You either commit a crime sufficiently bad that you need to be killed for the betterment of society, or you don't. In that sort of system, a DA would not bother to bring a defendant to trial if he committed the equivalent of jaywalking, right? (or would, if we were in a Niven story, but let's pretend that we don't have organ banks pushing this).
Trump's actions are right on the edge of illegality, and only if you assume motivation and future follow up actions which never happened. Sure, we can argue that he should have more clearly separated any investigation into Biden's actions in Ukraine from even the suggestion of being connected to funding to Ukraine, but at the end of the day, Ukraine got their full funding, at the time they were expecting it, and there's no indication that they wouldn't have regardless of the whistle being blown on the situation. The standard for crime being used here could probably be applied to just about any president in our nations history, if you tried really hard.
So no. It wasn't up to standard. And as I pointed out earlier, many GOP senators said as much. That even if Trump was guilty of all three charges the House brought, they simply weren't serious enough offenses to remove the president from office. Now we can pretend that's political as well, but when you look at past actions by presidents that standard has been pretty clear and Trump didn't come close to meeting it.
I was using it differently, sorry to muddy the waters.
I guess I thought that the best political move would be to do your whole job, so that your constituents would be happy with your performance, and vote for you in future.
Correct. And in this case, "doing your job" means voting for impeachment if and only if you believe that the president has both committed a crime *and* that the crime meets the standards required for removal from office.
I think you are both kinda proceeding with the idea that if the House thinks that the president committed any crime at all, that it's their duty to bring impeachment, since that's "the right thing to do", or something. Um... They're capable of making that assessment about whether the alleged crime meets the removal criteria, just as a DA is capable of assessing what a jury is likely to convict on. It was their responsibility to make that assessment, and they clearly didn't do so.
Which leads us back to their being some sort of political reason for doing so. Again, I just can't see how any honest person could look at the charges and say "this is so bad, so horrific, and so representative of a direct harm to our nation if we allow this person to stay in office that we must impeach and remove him". It just doesn't fly. Edited, Sep 8th 2020 2:53pm by gbaji