Are there any arguments for Trump not getting impeached, besides the argument that Ukraine actually did not do anything so the quid pro quo never happened?

EDIT: To be clear, I'm not asking for an argument that can be supported/justified with reasons, I'm just looking for ALL the arguments that have been made.

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    "I'm not asking for an argument that can be supported/justified with reasons, I'm just looking for ALL the arguments that have been made." That sounds like a perfect way to attract partisan rants, rather than the high-quality answers that Stack Exchange is intended to cultivate.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 11:46
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    @F1Krazy , I am looking for answers like the one Fizz has given.
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 11:49
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    @F1Krazy The Help Center says otherwise!
    – user45266
    Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 4:58
  • @F1Krazy, One remedy would be to require extant arguments be cited, with precedence being given to the earliest and most viral cited instances. Sort of like finding the earliest usage of a term, as with the 'Phrase-Origins' tag on English.SE.
    – agc
    Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 7:56
  • does "not make a martyr our of him" count?
    – vsz
    Commented Dec 9, 2019 at 5:33

6 Answers 6


Assuming you're asking for the Republicans' arguments, there are some more including:

  • that aid being withheld was not linked to the investigation into the Bidens, e.g. that aid was being withheld for general corruption concerts regarding Ukraine. (The Rep. from Ohio on intelligence committee [Jim Jordan] often takes this line in his questions.)

  • that Hunter Biden's participation in Burisma at least had the appearance of impropriety, so that asking for an investigation in his involvement was not unseemly. Several witnesses in the hearing were asked (by Republicans) about their opinion on Hunter Biden's qualifications in relation to Burisma for example, as a way to suggest that Hunter Biden was receiving undeserved money. (Can't recall exactly who asked this, but at least Kent and Sondland were asked this same question, days apart.)

  • that Democrats manufactured the whole concern with a phony whistleblower, who had political motives... and that those career federal employees who back him up are "Never Trumpers". This is probably the line that Trump himself likes best.

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    With regard to your second point, a common argument is that not only is it not unseemly, but that Trump's actions were completely in accordance with the mutual law enforcement treaty the US has with Ukraine. Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 19:59
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    @Fizz The question doesn't seem to be about the hearings specifically. Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 20:02
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    @NoU: That's true, but I answered with issues I recalled Republicans brought up. Surely there are more than I could recall. After a bit of googling, I was able to find a place making that point, but it doesn't seem a major outlet. It's possible that I've missed some better coverage of that. Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 20:09
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    On the third point, the argument that the "whistleblower" matters seems quite irrelevant by now, since everyone on the call, except POTUS, thought it was either inappropriate or downright impeachable.
    – PatrickT
    Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 2:12
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    @PatrickT The argument is more than just about the initial report, which they still wish to characterize as partisan, but also includes the idea that the impeachment proceedings are partisan-driven. It also implies a lack of any real reason for impeachment - essentially the stance that 'there is none and this has all been fabricated/blown out of proportion'. Regardless of whether or not it's true, it's definitely been a common talking point for defending Trump.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 14:31

Arguments you often read in circles which support Donald Trump are:

  • The complaint filed by the whistleblower does not represent the actual content from the conversation between Trump and Zelensky because it was not a verbatim transcript, and the administration has since released a more accurate transcript-like memo not based on hearsay. The whistleblower might have political motivations to oppose Trump, so he might have falsified the content of the transcript.
  • The whistleblower's version would fail the standards of admissibility which would apply in a court of law because it would just be secondhand and thirdhand hearsay (an impeachment process is not a court of law, though).
  • Trump asking for an investigation into activities of Joe Biden as part of a list of other possibly corrupt activities wasn't actually about Joe Biden but about generalized corruption in Ukraine which should be dealt with to ensure the funds don't get misappropriated. Some have also argued that this is just as valid as Vice President Biden withholding aid, provisional on the firing of a specific prosecutor who was allegedly corrupt.
  • Even if the request was, at least partially, about Joe Biden, Trump still didn't act in his own personal self-interest but in the interest of the United States, as the United States has a legitimate interest in possible corruption of high-level US politicians.
  • The President has full authority over foreign policy and can, therefore, act as he pleases.
  • Obama/Biden also held up the military aid, conditional on Ukraine cleaning up corruption, so if holding up military aid to Ukraine until they investigate corruption is bad or illegitimate, Democrats should blame Obama and Biden too.
  • The military aid eventually did get released, so it doesn't matter because, in the end, Ukraine got what they needed without having to provide any evidence against Biden. (the "quid pro quo never happened" argument mentioned in the question)
  • Other US politicians before him did things which were just as bad or worse but didn't get them impeached. This would imply that the impeachment proceedings are mostly politically motivated and are therefore an abuse of the impeachment process which should not be supported.
  • Even if what Donald Trump did was impeachment-worthy, he still shouldn't be impeached because impeachment of an elected President is undemocratic per-se because it negates the will of the voters (even if presidential impeachment is part of the constitution).
  • Even if presidential impeachment isn't undemocratic, Trump still doesn't deserve impeachment because, generally speaking, he is still a better president than the alternatives.

Whether or not these arguments are based on truthful premises, are valid or relevant at all is for Congress to decide.

And then there are arguments made by people who oppose Trump, but also oppose the impeachment for strategic reasons:

  • A successful conviction after impeachment requires a 2/3 majority in senate, which is unlikely considering that Republicans currently have the majority. So the whole effort might eventually be futile.
  • In the past, successful impeachment has resulted in a significant popularity boost for the impeached president, which might be counter-productive.
  • If Trump is convicted, Mike Pence will become president, who many Trump opponents consider just as bad or even worse for their political interests.
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    I converted this to a community wiki in case someone would like to add other arguments.
    – Philipp
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 12:21
  • Needs some sort of citation, as in "argued by .....". For example, in your 1st point, who said that the whistleblower "released a transcript"?
    – BobE
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 13:06
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    I thought trump released the transcript.
    – Pliny
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 14:44
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    I am downvoting. This isn't at all an answer to the question. This answers the question "how does the left view the right's arguments against impeachment." But that wasn't the question.
    – grovkin
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 14:59
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    @grovkin: this is one of those questions where answers from Trump's perspective should be entirely unobjectionable. Rather than argue over this wiki entry (which I myself didn't contribute to), it might be better if you and/or Sjoerd wrote a separate answer. (Nothing says you can't.) I wrote a quick answer based on what I could recall of the top of my head... fully expecting someone more attuned to the Republican perspective to write a more complete one. Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 20:04

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the one that seems (by far) the strongest to me.

To wit, that there's simply a lack of real evidence to show that Trump did anything wrong. In Sondland's testimony, for example, he (somewhat reluctantly) admitted that he had no actual evidence to present about why there was a delay in supplying aid to Ukraine. He openly stated that he simply didn't know why the delay happened, and that he guessed it was related to a demand for quid pro quo, but that he couldn't point to any evidence from anybody to actually support that belief.

In short, his conclusion was not based on actual evidence to support his belief, but solely on lack of evidence (of which he was aware) indicating otherwise. He directly characterized it as a "guess".

If, for example, this were a normal court of law, his belief about quid pro quo would almost certainly be classified as speculation. In other words, it wouldn't be considered testimony at all, and if he did manage to say it within hearing of jurors, the judge would give them specific instructions to ignore it (and having done so, reasonable suspicion that a juror had ignored the direction and taken it into account would probably be sufficient grounds for a successful appeal).

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    That's not entirely true. Sondland said: "When the President says, “Talk to my personal lawyer, Mr. Giuliani,” we followed his direction." and asked "And so that official act of that meeting was being conditioned on the performance of these things the president wanted as expressed both directly and through his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, correct?" he answered in the affirmative, saying "As expressed through Rudy Giuliani, correct."
    – JJJ
    Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 3:44
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    @JerryCoffin - Impeachment (at any level) isn't about whether a law was broken, it's about whether the person abused their position. Or, in other words, impeachment is about whether a majority of the House think that the person in question (President or otherwise) did something that's worth potentially removing them from office for.
    – Bobson
    Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 6:13
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    @JJforTransparencyandMonica: Oh, I understand the allegation. The question is where's actual evidence to support the allegation? Your answer tries to make the question whether your three initial points can be linked to the president, or only to Giuliani. The real question is whether there's any evidence that any of them happened at all. And at least based on the testimony so far, the answer is no, there's really not. The closest we have is that when the aid was put on hold, both Sondland and Volker speculated that it may have been for political reasons. But none has cited support for that. Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 6:18
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    @JerryCoffin Here’s Wikipedia’s take on it. It’s well sourced, and quotes some of the Founding Fathers. Whether any given action is a high crime is a political decision made at the time (by Congress, not the courts) and those are very debatable. But the category is pretty clear in the Constitution’s context.
    – Bobson
    Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 6:41
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    The biggest argument put forward for not impeaching Trump seems to be "He did noting impeachable". Whether you think that argument is correct or not isn't relevant to this question. Claims of innocence, seems to me, to be the biggest reason not to impeach.
    – mattumotu
    Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 8:19

One of the strongest arguments is that an election is coming up soon and thus the voters would have a chance to decide Trump's fate:

“Letting voters decide” has emerged as one of the loudest arguments against impeachment as public hearings take center stage on the cusp of an election year. Democrats are investigating whether Trump abused his power in allegedly pressuring the Ukrainian president to pursue investigations of Trump’s political rivals at the expense of national security.

This point of view is countered by the Democrats as following:

Pelosi responded that “impeachment is about the truth and the Constitution,” whereas elections should deal instead with policy issues like gun control and climate change. “That has nothing to do with what is happening in terms of our honoring our oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution and the facts that might support,” Pelosi said.

Pressing Pelosi, the reporter asked: “At what point might you say, let’s just let the voters decide?”

“No, no. The voters are not going to decide whether we honor our oath of office,” Pelosi said. “They already decided that in the last election.”

  • The question is not "how are those arguments countered".
    – Sjoerd
    Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 0:00
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    @Sjoerd so? Answers can go beyond what OP asked as long as they answer the original question. Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 0:01
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    I think there has also been an occasion where someone has said that this allegation is an attempt at influencing the 2020 election. So if it's not investigated and it is true that the president is getting help in his reelection from foreign nations then it may not be a fair election. To find that out, there'd have to be an investigation to see under what circumstances the president asked for, well, investigations. ;p
    – JJJ
    Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 3:48

Right or wrong, Read the transcript has been a common refrain:

Read the transcript on twitter

There has also been a boy who cried wolf argument. The Democrats spent years arguing that Trump was colluding with Russians. That came up empty. Now suddenly there is this whole Ukraine narrative. Why should the Democrats be believed this time?

Devin Nunes makes the boy who cried wolf argument

A related argument has been that the Democrats are pushing impeachment as a way to prevent Trump's re-election. In common with the previous argument, it's suggesting that the impeachment hearings are being held in bad faith. That argument has been made by Trump himself and also by conservative commentator Adriana Cohen.



Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said to journalists

They seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo

People don't care

In an opinion column on townhall.com entitled What If They Gave an Impeachment and Nobody Came? Kurt Schlichter argues against impeachment, by saying

Normal people don’t care.

It's a rather long column, to read it, I'd suggest going to the website, I'll provide a few quotes here. It's not a very coherent piece, so I'll just quote some excerpts that give an impression:

No one cares.

Well, not no one. People in Washington care. After all, Donald Trump’s real crime is not deferring to the same D.C. geniuses who were so relentlessly awful that they caused us to elect Donald Trump in the first place. The meme is going around that “I hired Donald Trump to fire people like you,” and boy – is it ever on point. That the president – yeah, he’s our president and he’s going to keep being our president for five more long years – refuses to submit to the bureaucrats of the ruling caste on foreign policy is not a bug. It’s a feature – the feature that closed the sale.


Nobody, by which I mean a few Never Trumpers – they put the “no body” in “nobody” – who used this ridiculous farce to creep out of their sheds and say what they always wanted to say: “Throw him out of office!” What they also say, in a whisper, is, “So that things can go back to normal and I can go on grifting the rubes as a domesticated enabler of the elite cosplaying conservatism without accountability for never actually conserving anything but my own middling status in the swamp.”

And America shrugs. We’re too busy working, too focused on our 401(k)s going through the roof and on him flipping circuit courts like a boss, to care about the latest outrage to end all outrages.

Trump tweeted a mean tweet that scared the diplo-hackette who a few minutes before had compared herself to the Benghazi studs that her heroine Stumbles McMyturn left to die.


Oh, shut up.


But they will fail.

How do I know?

Because nobody cares.

From an article in the Guardian asking patrons in a bar in Kansas City I'll quote from someone who went on the record describing how many people don't care (emphasis mine):

Martin, a computer programmer, said he “thumbed through the transcripts” from the closed-door questioning of witnesses. He described them as damning but doubts the televised public hearings will shift many people’s position.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a game-changer because 90% of the people who could be convinced already have been. Most of the people who support him don’t care about what came out behind closed doors, or what caused the hearings to be held in the first place,” he said. “My parents probably think that he doesn’t deserve to be impeached at all, so why would they pay attention to this?”

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    The quoted text's contents may be appropriate, but its style is abusive. Suggested remedy: either summarize or paraphrase the text, or make judicious use of ellipses ("...") the better to distill Schlichter's ideas from his id.
    – agc
    Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 7:40
  • I am not living in the United States so it is hard for me to gauge the actual public sentiment on the street, but if you do listen to people on the Internet, then "normal people don't care about the Trump impeachment" seems to be wishful thinking of that commentator.
    – Philipp
    Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 9:35
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    Philipp, I'm American but I live in the UK. No one in the US had heard of Brexit until after the referendum (I was living here at the time), but my US friends were all up in arms despite having had no context or history of information. I find, frequently, the same thing on the other side. Brits frequently have something to say about American politics, but rarely have anything more than a "headlines only" depth of information about it. Most everyone I know back home cares, but they tend to have a little more broad understanding and are thus more reserved.
    – AHamilton
    Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 11:22
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    @Philipp the US is big and it has many streets. We tend to hear from the Rockefeller Plazas and Hollywood Boulevards of the US. There's more to the US than that and you can see the red districts on the maps of recent elections. There are also documentaries where investigative reporters went to Trump heartlands to seek the opinion of his supporters. Many will not care about the statements made by career officials that have previously been characterized as the swamp. So while it's not a position you're likely to find on this site, the sentiment ranges well beyond the columnist I quoted.
    – JJJ
    Commented Nov 22, 2019 at 12:05

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