I'm not going to try to convince a fellow who's mind is made up, but my conscience is clear and I think I'm merely one of many honest conservatives. In other words, my answers to John's test questions would be "yes," yes," and "yes." Having said that, I must quibble about the words "illegitimate" and "unfair." I'd rather say "unwise" or "harmful to the norms of our Constitutional system" because the removal of a democratically-elected President prior to the end of his or her term ought to be something that draws substantial bipartisan support and not a mechanism by which a strictly partisan majority in the House can attempt to nullify an election. In this case, the impeachment is not even a serious attempt to nullify an election. With no chance of conviction by the Republican Senate, impeachment is simply a gambit in the permanent campaign. The folly of that is apparent, although nothing but good sense would prevent a foolish House majority from devoting its two-year term to a never-ending series of futile impeachments. But this impeachment is legitimate in the sense that a majority of the House has acted within the bounds of the Constitution. As for "unfair," I mean, c'mon, politics ain't beanbag and who cares whether anything is unfair? Are we gonna tell mom?
To his credit, John worries about whether he's nuts himself. He believes (as do I) that most of us can easily spot hypocrisy in others but are slow to see it in ourselves. Logs and motes. And John uses the impeachment of President Clinton as a touchstone, which is a good idea. He accepts that many conservatives thought Clinton deserved to be impeached and should have been removed from office for lying under oath about sex. (Alas, to my mind too few agreed with the removal part.) But John can't understand how anyone who supported removing Bill Clinton can really, truly and without being blatantly hypocritical oppose impeaching and removing President Trump for his conversation with President Zelensky (transcript here).
So, maybe John is sane and I'm nuts, but I think he's asking me to prove my sanity by explaining to his satisfaction why an apple is not an orange. Disconcerting.
So here goes. Lying is common. Lying about sex may be more so. Sometimes, it's just good manners or perhaps the best path toward closure and sleep -- "How was it for you?" -- but Clinton was not impeached for lying to his lover, or for lying to his wife about his lover. He was impeached for lying under oath. Every salty little bunny knows that perjury happens, and maybe a lot, but when someone's caught at it, that's a big deal. Or should be.
Trump's call to Zelensky is in a different ballpark. Obviously, Trump wasn't under oath and no one has argued that he lied to Zelensky or lied about Zelensky. Impeachment seems to be based on the idea that he tried to bully Zelensky into announcing an investigation of Joe Biden in order to weaken or eliminate a candidate who threatened Trump's re-election. In the sense of a President asking a foreign leader for help with domestic political issues, the call was more like President Obama's hot mic incident with President Medvedev. Or perhaps it was more like whatever negotiations Obama had with mullahs to burnish his legacy with the Iran deal. Obama shouldn't have been impeached for the hot mic or the Iran deal, and wasn't.
To the substance of the matter, there is ample smoke around the Bidens, Burisma and aid to Ukraine, just as there is ample smoke around Ukraine's involvement in Democratic skullduggery related to the 2016 election. It would be nice if someone did investigate it and one hopes we'll get there eventually.
Running for the nomination of a major party should not give a candidate immunity from a well-founded investigation. Just as, had there been a basis for Crossfire Hurricane and its progeny, Trump should have been investigated. (There might've been no basis and the investigation might've been illegal. We shall see.)
In olden days, a candidate with Joe Biden's exposure would never dream of winning a nomination. In the unlikely event that they were nominated, a canny opponent would bury them with an October surprise. But standards seem to have relaxed.
If Trump had said or implied that he wanted Zelensky to make up dirt about Biden, the case would be much different and I'd back impeachment. Just as, if an outgoing President used fiction concocted by the nominee of his party as the basis for counterintelligence operations against the nominee of the other party, I'd back impeaching the outgoing guy. Except it would be too late. That's a circumstance the Founders never imagined.