33 Writers: Please Stop Using Term “Quid Pro Quo”

Regarding Trump’s CRIMINAL actions, “Quid Pro Quo” means “bribery” or “extortion” to describe Donald Trump’s demand to the President of Ukraine to find and/or makeup dirt on Biden. This is very clearly a crime.

Diane Ravitch's blog

This letter appeared in the New York Times on

To the Editor:

A plea from 33 writers: Please use language that will clarify the issues at hand.

Please stop using the Latin phrase “quid pro quo” regarding the impeachment inquiry. Most people don’t understand what it means, and in any case it doesn’t refer only to a crime. Asking for a favor is not a criminal act; we frequently demand things from foreign countries before giving them aid, like asking them to improve their human rights record.

That is not a crime; the crime is President Trump’s demand for something that will benefit him personally. But using this neutral phrase — which means simply “this for that” — as synonymous with criminality is confusing to the public. It makes the case more complicated, more open to question and more difficult to plead.

Please use words that refer only to criminal…

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Ron Chernow: Alexander Hamilton Would Support Impeachment

Diane Ravitch's blog

Ron Chernow, author of Hamilton, wrote in the Washington Post that Trump is the populist demagogue that Alexander Hamilton feared and warned about in The Federalist Papers.

He wrote:

There seems little doubt, given his writings on the presidency, that Hamilton would have been aghast at Trump’s behavior and appalled by his invitation to foreign actors to meddle in our elections. As a result, he would most certainly have endorsed the current impeachment inquiry. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Trump embodies Hamilton’s worst fears about the kind of person who might someday head the government.

Among our founders, Hamilton’s views count heavily because he was the foremost proponent of a robust presidency, yet he also harbored an abiding fear that a brazen demagogue could seize the office. That worry helps to explain why he analyzed impeachment in such detail: He viewed it as a crucial instrument to…

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Teresa Hanafin on Trump’s Stonewalling of Impeachment Inquiry

Diane Ravitch's blog

Teresa Hanafin writes the daily Fast Forward for the Boston Globe.

As he did with the Vietnam War, Trump has decided to sit out the House impeachment inquiry, using what constitutional experts say are bone spurs spurious arguments to claim that Democratic House leaders are conducting an illegitimate inquiry.

He not only is refusing to cooperate with the investigation, he also has declared war on Congress’s very right to investigate the executive branch. It’s a remarkable moment.

The result is that Trump is blocking all employees of the executive branch from testifying before Congress, will withhold every document Congress requests, and will ignore every subpoena that congressional committees issue. We’ll see today what the Dems do next.

Just remember this: Under the Constitution, the House is empowered to impeach, and can conduct an inquiry and hearings any way it wants. The president doesn’t get to tell the House what to…

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Trump’s Roy Cohn Defense: Deny, Attack, Attack Again

Trump says anyone that says he “did it” is a liar and a traitor and should resign or be shot. But some of us will shoot back.

Diane Ravitch's blog


James Hohmann of the Washington Post yesterday  described Trump’s defense when his hand was caught in cookie jar in broad daylight:

The president is running the smashmouth playbook he learned from Roy Cohn, his mentor and Joe McCarthy’s hatchet man. It’s worked repeatedly for Trump, from fighting the Justice Department’s investigation of racial discrimination at his family’s rental properties in the 1970s to overcoming Bob Mueller’s investigation the past two years. Among other things, this strategy involves denying everything and counterattacking critics by accusing them of whatever you’ve been accused of.

The don’t-give-an-inch mentality is what prompts someone like White House policy adviser Stephen Miller to declareon “Fox News Sunday” that “the president of the United States is thewhistleblower, and this individual is a saboteur trying to undermine a democratically elected government.” And it is why Trump allows Rudy Giuliani, his ferocious personal attorney, to keep defending him…

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George Conway III and Neal Cathay: Ukraine Seals the Case for Imprachment

“The Ultimate Impeachable Act”

Diane Ravitch's blog

George Conway III and Neal Catyal are lawyers. Conway is married to Kellyanne Conway; Catyal is a former Acting Solicitor General of the United States. This article appeared in the Washington Post. 

Among the most delicate choices the framers made in drafting the Constitution was how to deal with a president who puts himself above the law. To address that problem, they chose the mechanism of impeachment and removal from office. And they provided that this remedy could be used when a president commits “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

That last phrase — “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” — was a historical term of art, derived from impeachments in the British Parliament. When the framers put it into the Constitution, they didn’t discuss it much, because no doubt they knew what it meant. It meant, as Alexander Hamilton later phrased it, “the abuse or violation of some…

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Jack Hassard: Trump’s Outrageous War on Science

Even Science must be silenced, because Trump simply can never be wrong or corrected because he’s such an “extremely stable genius.”

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jack Hassard Taught science education for many years. He used to write a blog called “The Art of Teaching Science,” but became so upset about current events that he renamed his blog “Jack Hassard’s Blog.”

In this post, he excoriates Trump’s war on science.

He begins:

Science was under assault last week by an un-educated President and his staff who believe that they can supercede the findings of science when the findings don’t agree with their personal and political views.

When Hurricane Harvey inflicted its wrath on Houston and most of East Texas, I painted an art series of 4 canvases showing how hurricanes harm not only property, but the people who endure the storm. This may be a family or community of friends who are wading through flooded streets to find shelter. I believe that science should be in the service of people. In this case, it was in…

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A First-Person Account of 9/11

Diane Ravitch's blog


My friend Bernadette Hoban was attending a business meeting at 120  Broadway, near the World Trade Center, when the first plane hit the first building. She worked for a large insurance company. She never told the full story of what happened that day. Until yesterday when she posted this account on her Facebook page.


The sky was blue, the air was crisp, by all accounts it was a beautiful day. I parked my car on the roof of the Battery Park garage facing the twin towers. I called a friend and remembered telling her how beautiful the Twin Towers looked against the blue sky. I then walked up to broadway in line with others hustling to work. I Slipped into 120 Broadway and up to the 11th floor and into Lebenthal & Co to hold a breakfast presentation to their brokers just like I did every second Tuesday…

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