WH talking-points pre-empt WB

I found it curious how the GOP/WH talking point “No Collusion” came out early and took over the MSM. There was no way, ever, to prove “collusion”, as we all know it’s not a legal construct, so just by getting that word out front, they neutralized Mueller’s report pre-emptively.

I’m seeing a parallel with “No quid pro quo”, but as I’m following this story second- by- second, addicted to The Hive, I notice that the talking- point preceded the WB. It’s in the texts, and especially, the 9/9 Sondland text-- which followed a 5-hour pause and conversation with Donnie 2S, he clearly laid out that “The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind.” I believe this is a strategy to set the defense in advance and inoculate themselves against the obvious accusation.

What I’m really struck by is that this is before the story went public.

Of course, this is what Michael Cohen said about Trump when he testified: he never tells anybody to do anything; never gives an order, and never makes his quids directly connect with his quos. (My take).

He inoculates himself against legal liability by never actually stating the illegal. He may have goofed in the phone call, but not enough, in the memo, for the citizenry to be sure of that.

I’m concerned they will have the same success with with this message as they had with “no collusion”. I’ve already heard a couple of liberal friends who don’t follow as closely as I do say the same thing: “I don’t know that they should impeach, because there was no Quid Pro Quo in the conversation.”

The disinformation is powerful and planned well in advance. Mobster.

How can Dems undo that messaging and what pithy phrase of guilt can we use? Is “Abuse of Power” enough?


When I think of Trump and the perceptions of how easy it should be to prove his offenses, I can’t help but think of what can happen in court when you have two people, one telling the truth and the other a convincing liar, and expect a judge to sort out what happened. The judge has no context, no first-hand knowledge, no history with the parties. So to the judge, it can look like two people with two different but equally credible accounts. Being the honest person in that situation can actually be a disadvantage, because your narrative is constrained by truth.

Although conducted under very different rules, impeachment is a form of litigation, a public trial, and any form of litigation includes an element of risk. What can you prove, how convincing is your evidence, will the jury focus on a minor element of the case and miss the big picture, and the like. In a case like this, proof of the case is going to involve trying to prove and corroborate the allegations through the words and actions of others.

Right now the Democrats pretty clearly believe that they have ample cause to impeach, but they are working on gathering the evidence that they need to shift public opinion in favor of conviction – not so much because Republicans will convict, but because it’s important that the majority of Americans see the acquittal (and not the prosecution) as a political act. It’s not without risk.

For now, and perhaps for the duration, Democrats can’t worry about trying to convince Trump supporters (i.e., the overwhelming majority of Republicans) that impeachment is justified. I suspect that among those who have urged restraint there’s little sense that Trump doesn’t deserve to be impeached, but more of a concern that impeachment will be disruptive, divisive, result in acquittal, and could potentially benefit Trump in the next election. Democrats, I think, should target that population with messaging about the impeachment and associated process. That likely will have to include an element of education for those who don’t understand that you can look at the larger picture, not just the words of the criminal, when determining if specific conduct is criminal.

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Abuse of power by itself is probably not enough, imo. Though, Jenny Holzer’s T shirts (Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise) would be fitting wear these days. But the abuse of power is something we’ve become accustomed to, sadly. This is not by accident. The Jane Mayer NYer piece linked early upthread in WaR XXV (?) The Spell is Broken notes an important result of disinformation: apathy and withdrawal. We are, it would seem, made deeply unhappy by disinformation and respond by shutting down.

I liked Pelosi’s using Betrayal. And I like Ukranian Shakedown (@occamscoin). And Ukranian Shakedown Coverup. It may be fine to have a few descriptions on offer. As I see it, the value of shakedown is it’s accurate, more so than quid pro quo. The other excellent response to quid overuse and misuse was in a NYTimes op-ed where Roger Cohen states ckearly that Quid Pro Quo is Latin. The English translation: I’ve a favor to ask. The point here isn’t did Trump get his “deliverable” (the quo, I guess), but that he sought it through using his office and the means he employed, withholding already allocated aid.

I think you are on to the game when you note that quid pro quo was already being used. We’re being played. The next bit of nonsense is that Trump is sincere and believes the conspiracy nonsense – as if that removes the crime. Imagine if Trump stole all the funds from Social Security, or directed Miller or Barr to do it, and put them in his own account and when called out, says “Well, everyone knows Democrats are like Rumplestiltskin and can spin straw into gold so it won’t matter. Lock Hillary up with a spinning wheel!” I know, this is silly, but my point is the “He believes it” would clearly be irrelevant. He directed a crime.

Anyway, it is a worry that two threads have been started in the last 24 concerning Dem messaging. Here are links:

When Trump Feels Cornered, He Gets Worse https://nyti.ms/2nQNFUn

“Do us a favor” is English for quid pro quo. That’s a Latin phrase now popular with the lackeys of Trump who still insist on calling themselves Republicans. They keep saying, “no quid pro quo,” as if that exonerates Trump.

eta: typos