“I would like you to do us a favor, though …”

December 10, 2019 • 2:20 pm

by Greg Mayer

Driving home last night, I heard on the radio a clip of a Republican congressman at the House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing deriding the proceedings for having no memorable catchphrase. He recalled (inexactly) Republican Senator Howard Baker’s famous question from the Nixon impeachment inquiry, “What did the President know, and when did he know it?”, and from the Clinton impeachment, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

He wondered what phrase could possibly epitomize the Trump impeachment inquiry, offering some line about there being no impeachable offenses. It’s hard to know what combination of cluelessness, motivated reasoning, and lack of attention could lead him to arrive at this statement, for the catchphrase immediately leapt to mind. For the Trump impeachment, Trump himself has already produced the memorable phrase by which his impeachment will undoubtedly be remembered: “I would like you to do us a favor, though”.

If you’re looking for a quid pro quo, quod erat demonstrandum.

65 thoughts on ““I would like you to do us a favor, though …”

  1. I know that I’m gonna remember Trump with a famous phrase he just uttered that pretty much sums up everything you need to know about Trump and his mindset——
    “15 flushes or more”

    That qualifies as a “quid pro flow“

  2. ‘Covfefe’

    ‘I think I am actually humble. I think I’m much more humble than you would understand.’

    (On Puerto Rico) ‘This is an island surrounded by water, big water, ocean water.’

    ‘I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.’

    ‘It’s freezing and snowing in New York – we need global warming!’

  3. Not sure what the phrase would be. Maybe, Not even the president is above the law. Maybe, never have I seen so many people detach themselves from facts and reality.

  4. For the Trump impeachment, Trump himself has already produced the memorable phrase by which his impeachment will undoubtedly be remembered: “I would like you to do us a favor, though”.

    Excellent catchphrase for the impeachment.

    As a catchphrase to remember the entire Trump campaign and presidency I propose: “Russia, if you’re listening…”

  5. Sentence quoted in full: “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.”

    I don’t pretend to know what Trump meant but I do know what words mean. “Us” refers to a plural; the first word in the sentence refers to a single person. They’re different.

    1. Full context of the call summary, the ‘lot’ that Ukraine supposedly knows about is the debunked story of the missing DNC server being in Ukraine. The so-called ‘Crowd Strike’ nonsense.

      Also, parsing Trump’s words carefully gets you nowhere. He rambles, sometimes incoherently and has trouble putting together a coherent sentence.

  6. QPQ’s are notoriously difficult to prove since they require knowledge of what the speaker meant. The interpretation you imply is one possible interpretation, but not the only possible interpretation. (I hope you can see that.) Partisans on both sides have leapt to their favored interpretations. Ambiguity about the meaning of that phrase plus the presumption of innocence leaves us where?

    Even if it were proven that there was a QPQ, aren’t these the stuff of all international relations? (e.g., “stop developing nukes and we’ll lift sanctions” or “fire that prosecutor or you don’t get your money”). Doesn’t the question on the table boil down to whether or not Trump felt that he had a reasonable basis on which to ask for an investigation into Crowdstrike, the missing DNC server, the Ukranian-sourced information that sunk Manafort and, yes, Biden’s son’s cherry job and possible political influence? Even if his reason proved wrong, is that criminal or impeachable? What am I missing here (as he braces for a hail of flaming spears)?

    1. It is clearly bribery and extortion. Speaking about a political rival’s family is clearly out of bounds. The fact that it is fictitious makes it even more outrageous.

        1. Hunter Biden follows in a long line of members of the immediate family of White House occupants — both Democratic and Republican — who have sought to profit, or otherwise benefit, off of their more-famous relative’s name. That line runs through Sam Houston Johnson to Donald Nixon to Billy Carter to Neil Bush to Roger Clinton to the three eldest Trump siblings. And in every instance, doing so has been WRONG.

          That goes for Hunter Biden. Burisma Holdings is owned by Mykola Zlochevsky, Ukraine’s former Minister of the Interior who engaged in corrupt self-dealing while occupying that office. After Zlochevsky left office and his corrupt dealings were exposed, he tried to clean up Burisma’s international image by naming a new board or directors featuring prominent names, including the former president of Poland and the son of the then-sitting US Vice President — viz., Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. It is indefensible that Hunter Biden accepted this position, for which he had no qualifications save a recognizable nameplate of board meetings, at a rate of pay of $50,000 per month.

          But there is not a shred of evidence that Hunter Biden did anything to advance corrupt deals on Burisma’s behalf or otherwise to contribute to corruption in Ukraine. Much less is there any evidence to suggest that Joe Biden aided him in doing so.

          Certainly, Joe Biden was not doing so when he insisted on the firing of Ukraine’s massively corrupt former Prosecutor General, Viktor Shokin, who had previously given Zlochevsky and Burisma a pass. To the contrary, in so doing, Biden was unquestionably enforcing official United States policy, as well as the official, announced policy of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, the entity that was to extend the financial assistance Joe Biden threatened to withhold from Ukraine. Indeed, by doing so — by demanding that a legitimate Prosecutor General be named in Shokin’s stead — Biden was, if anything, putting Zlochevsky and Burisma (and his own son, Hunter, to the extent his son might somehow have had any personal exposure) at greater risk.

          The entire matter is, thus, a red herring Donald Trump has endeavored to exploit purely for illicit political gain.

          1. “The entire matter is, thus, a red herring Donald Trump has endeavored to exploit…”

            Indeed, releasing red herring into the news stream is tRump’s forte. It’s his most significant contribution to our political culture. He IS just one big scaly red herring.

    2. I think you are simplifying or overlooking an important factor in this Ukraine deal. To ask the new leader of Ukraine to investigate a bogus 2016 hoax about involvement in our election. What is reasonable about that? To ask the new leader of Ukraine to investigate a rival of his in the 2020 campaign? And, he really did not require the investigating be started, just announce they would on public TV. And if you do not, no white house visit and no $400 million for your fight against Russia.

      What is it you don’t get about this??

    3. Donald Trump was withholding a coveted Oval Office visit and $491 million in desperately needed military aid pending the new Ukrainian president’s appearing on American national television to announce the opening of investigations into his political rival Joe Bidens and into a fever-swamp conspiracy theory about the hacked 2016 DNC server being stashed in Ukraine.

      That’s a political shakedown, man, pure and simple.

        1. No, what is needed here is for you to read the constitution. Requesting foreign intervention into our elections comes in for high crimes and misdemeanors. Even if there were no quid pro quo (and there was) this alone would do it.

          1. “Requesting foreign intervention into our elections comes in for high crimes and misdemeanors. Even if there were no quid pro quo (and there was) this alone would do it.”

            How do you know that’s what happened here? Is that the only interpretation possible?

        2. Yeah, I read your comment, and, to answer your question, here’s what you’re missing: the alternative theories are risible. Aid packages were passed by the US congress in 2017 and 2018 and Donald Trump — great anti-corruption crusader that he is — said not a word about any of this (not a word about Burisma or Joe Biden until after Biden announced he was running in 2020, emerged as the leading Democratic contender, and was running 15 points ahead of Trump in the early presidential polling).

          And the nonsense about “Crowdstrike” is even more ludicrous. It’s Russian propaganda, picked up by the far right-wing US media, that (pace the findings of the US intelligence agencies, the special counsel investigation, and the US senate intelligence committee) Russian did NOT hack the DNC computer in 2016 — that the DNC hack was an inside job by a young staffer named Seth Rich, later murdered for his perfidy in a robbery staged on behalf of Hillary Clinton, and that the US company brought in to investigate the hacking, Crowdstrike (supposedly co-owned by a Ukrainian), smuggled the server into Ukraine so it could be jerry-rigged to frame Vladimir Putin for the hacking.

          There’s not a scintilla of evidence to support any of it — there was no single DNC “server” (there was a cloud of 14); there is no Ukrainian who owns Crowdstrike; and there is no doubt that Russia did the hacking (or that the 2016 hacking was done to help Donald Trump). It’s all naught but arrant bullshit.

          1. “the alternative theories are risible. ”

            Even if you are 100% correct, does that prove that DT extorted Ukraine to investigate a political rival in order to interfere with the 2020 election, as alleged? There is a lot of space between those two ideas.

            1. The evidence uncovered so far “proves” it as well as we “prove” anything in a court of law. (Granted: impeachment isn’t a court of law.)

            2. The underlying factual predicate is uncontested on the evidence presented, and it establishes that Donald Trump endeavored to abuse the official powers of the US presidency for personal political gain — which is precisely what is charged against him in proposed Article I of Impeachment.

              1. Are you sure you’re not stirring in just a bit of hope to conclude the evidence establishes what you say is established?

              2. I’m open to countervailing evidence, if you have any. Please feel free to set it forth.

                Republicans in congress sure haven’t adduced any such evidence. And Donald Trump has unconstitutionally blocked the testimony of the officials in his own administration who could potentially exculpate him, were he innocent of the charges made against him.

              3. I have no evidence to the contrary, much like I have no evidence that there is no god. Unfortunately, what you call evidence is not dispositive. If real evidence (not circumstantial suggestions) can be produced, I’m perfectly willing to accept what you claim. Thus far, I haven’t seen it. Respectfully, you haven’t either. What makes you so sure your explanation is the only possible one? Is there any other possibility? We’re talking about Trump here, so the range of possibilities is quite broad, isn’t it?

                Someone else mentioned that intent is not a component of some crimes. It would be in this case, since intent to interfere with an election/benefit himself electorally is/are the linchpins of the case. If, say, we uncover another reason Trump withheld funds (even a bad one) the “crime” disappears or remains unproven. Shame about that presumption of innocence bit. Intent is critical here. It is correct that intent is not a feature of all crimes, such as sending classified information on an unapproved email server, as an example.

              4. Sorry, one last nit. Disagreements between branches of government are routine. I’m not an expert but subpoenas are routinely contested, claims of privilege asserted, etc.. Wouldn’t DT’s behavior be unconstitutional only after the SCOTUS has ruled on a subpoena and he ignores that? Otherwise, this appears to be part of the scrum between the branches. The executive is not above the legislative, but neither is it below. Would you agree?

              5. And as for “hope,” I’ve reluctantly abandoned mine that any Republicans in the House of Representatives will honestly evaluate the evidence presented.

                We’ll soon see if there are any senate Republicans willing to stand up for the United States constitution and the rule of law. The signs so far are not encouraging.

              6. Intent is frequently established inferentially through circumstantial evidence, including in criminal cases where the burden is by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. There are pattern jury instructions routinely given in federal criminal cases directly on point.

                Moreover, we have direct evidence of Donald Trump’s mental state via his own statements — to Gordon Sondland (including those overheard by David Holmes), on the telephone call with Ukraine president Zelenskiy, and in front of the entire nation on the South Lawn of the White House.

                The president has an “executive privilege” for “deliberative communications” with certain members of his administration. There is no such thing as executive “immunity” from process. Such immunity would render nugatory congress’s constitutional oversight authority. Were it otherwise, Richard Nixon would not have had to give up his Watergate tapes, nor Bill clinton have had to sit for a deposition in the Paula Jones case (as the Supreme Court compelled each of them to do).

            3. Why are Trump apologists so hung up on the fact that Trump tried, but didn’t succeed? A failed crime will still land you in prison. Regardless, look at the timeline that was already established up thread: OF FUCKING COURSE he extorted Ukraine to interfere with the 2020 election. It’s just a sequel to 2016, simple as that. Trump’s mind works in simplicity: worked once, let’s do it again; haven’t been caught personally, keep doing. Do you not read what you wrote and the cognizant responses and not see how preposterous your arguments are? Where’s your head at man? You sound like a person in a cult. Oh…yeah…shit…my mistake.

              1. I haven’t made any argument. I’ve merely pointed out that Trump’s intent has not been established. It has been assumed, including by others in these comments. If sufficient evidence is produced to prove his intent, then we can believe that the alleged QPQ was for illegitimate aims. But you do not KNOW that. Only one person does. This should be clear. I understand your frustration that not everyone shares your assumptions.

                Your belief that the current Ukraine narrative is of a piece with the debunked “Russia collusion” theory is telling. If you’re still willing to believe the latter… are you sure I’m the cultist?

                As for what Trump apologists believe, you’ll have to ask them.

    4. The issue of quid pro quo is relatively moot now that the House Democrats have submitted articles of impeachment boiled down to 2 articles:

      1. Abuse of power
      2. Obstruction of congress

    5. There was no quid pro quo.

      A quid pro quo is when you give do something for somebody in exchange for them doing something for you. The something Donald trump was going to do was to let the Ukraine have money that was already theirs.

      This wasn’t a quid pro quo, it was extortion. Plain and simple.

    6. To the extent that there is any ambiguity in Trump’s actual words, other witnesses made emphatically clear that Trump withheld hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money, as well as the requested White House visit, pending Ukraine’s announcement that they were investigating Hunter Biden. Witnesses also made clear that Trump didn’t give fig about actual corruption — by Biden or anyone else — and that Trump simply wanted the “announcement” of the investigation. Additionally, the allegations that the DNC server is “missing”, that Crowdstrike facilitated its relocation to Ukraine, and that Joe Biden orchestrated the firing of the Ukrainian prosecutor to protect Hunter are as baseless as the allegation would be that Trump kidnapped the Lindbergh baby. Just making up preposterous allegations doesn’t automatically entitle them to be taken seriously.

      And — come on — this is Donald Trump we’re talking about. A guy who has clearly and demonstrably lied thousands of times while in office, and who repeats the same lies over and over again even after being corrected. No rational person could conclude that he has any credibility whatsoever.

  7. I won’t be submitting a catch phrase for consideration. However, I’d like to submit a possible explanation for Trump’s state of mind when he said, “I’d like you to do us a favor, though”. I think Trump was thinking of ‘us’, as in ‘anus’.

  8. “It’s hard to know what combination of cluelessness, motivated reasoning, and lack of attention could lead him to arrive at this statement, . . .”

    You forgot the most likely reason, lying.

  9. Right on, GM.

    The other laconic summary of the case comes from the impeachment inquiry testimony of National Security Council Russian Specialist Fiona Hill, when she said that Trump’s minions were “involved in a domestic political errand; we were being involved in national-security foreign policy, and those two thing diverged.”

    1. Yeah, Dr. Hill is probably the foremost expert in our government on Ukraine and Russia. What could she possibly know.

  10. I wholeheartedly agree that the ‘favor’ remark best sums up the impeachment. However, I believe that our brilliant businessman’s remarks at Hilton Head on 12/29/15 best sum up HIM: “I went to an Ivy League school. I’m very highly educated. I know words. I have the best words. I have the best, but there is no better word than stupid, right?”

  11. It’s hard to imagine how tRump will be remembered and which foolish statement he made will echo down the ages. All I know is he will be regretted by nearly all who lived through this phase of our nations infancy.

    1. You’re assuming we make it to adolescence. Getting through and actually rectifying this administration’s corruption perhaps will be the test to whether or not this country survives its infancy. If things don’t rectify quickly, the baby will be thrown out with the bathwater.

  12. You nailed it, GM. The other hilarious part, if you like dark humor, is that Trump openly admitted he’s seeking foreign help in digging up dirt on the Bidens. Emolument city. The Democrats didn’t even charge him with that.

    Probably they’re thinking the American public is too dumb to get it. Sadly, probably correct in that.

    1. There is easily more impeachment articles that could have been written. Obstruction of justice as laid out in the Mueller report comes to mind.

    2. Yeah, could have been added, but would have detracted from the seriousness of the two articles that are deep and don’t take a lot of time to discover, prove or understand. Emolument investigations would have drawn this out for months on end. The courts are a mire, and guilty people and their henchmen know how to take advantage of this fault. Plus, Trump has stacked the high courts with so many hacks, it would be foolish to relinquish further actions upon their decisions.

  13. A more rational man then I would be discouraged by the chances of removal of Trump by the Senate. At best, there are Republican Senators prepared to vote for removal, at least 20 are required.

    But the odd thing is, and I admit this is the last thing I can hang my hat on, Trump himself will have a lot more say how he defends himself and how the Senate trial goes compared to what has happened in the House.

    He’s so dang narcistic and stupid, I believe he’s going to try and run things himself and botch it in the end.

    Oddly, Trump himself is our best chance at his own removal.

    I could be wrong. I’m not as optimistic for removal as I was a month ago.

    1. You may have A good point about his botching his own defense. I saw a cartoon on FB with a cop telling him “You have the right to remain silent; you don’t have the ability but you do have the right.”

  14. Call me Old-Fashioned, but I still am utterly flabbergasted how this guy won the Republican nomination, let alone the Presidency after being hot-miked, saying this:

    I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything

  15. We live in a world with next to no attention span, where a few noble people (like Greta Thunberg) are shouting from the roof tops but are being drowned out by the bluster of idiots.

    This morning on Radio 4 Aron Sorkin, who has adapted To Kill a Mockingbird for the stage, said that Trump has so little depth that he would be impossible to depict on stage. Other characters have moral ambiguities & redeeming points – he is a nothing.

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