December 15, 2019

So far, Trump has parried every Democrat thrust..

Say what you will about Donald John Trump, but he fights.

These are facts about the Ukraine Scandal. In a January 2018 speech before the Council on Foreign Relations, Former Vice President and current Democrat presidential frontrunner Joe Biden bragged about getting the Ukrainian government to fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, then investigating Burisma holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company. Biden’s son Hunter sits on Burisma’s board and his consulting firm does business with them.  On 25 July of this year, President Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about Shokin’s firing, suggested he investigate and also asked him look into Democrat efforts, confirmed by the Ukrainian embassy in Washington, to dig up dirt about Trump in Ukraine.  A ‘whistleblower’, still anonymous as of this writing, claimed Trump threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless Zelensky did as the president asked. None of this is in dispute.

On September 24th, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would begin a formal ‘impeachment inquiry’. She has no choice. The hard left of the Democrat caucus, led by Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, has been clamoring for impeachment since taking office. Pelosi has attempted to manage Ocasio-Cortez and her Squad of freshman Democrats with house hearings led by Judicial Committee Chair Jerold Nadler (D-NY). But, when news broke of Trump’s phone call with Zelensky, Pelosi could no longer hold back AOC and the rest of the hard left. Pelosi’s impeachment inquiry will fall under the auspicious of the House Intelligence Committee ironically chaired by Adam Schiff (D-CA).

Ironically, because Adam Schiff was first elected to congress in 2000 defeating incumbent James Rogan, a Republican who was one of 13 House Managers of President Clinton’s impeachment in 1999. After the Drudge Report broke the story of Clinton’s dalliance with a White House intern, Washington widely assumed that the president would resign. But Clinton fought back throughout 1998 and slowly the public’s appetite for impeachment waned. Clinton was eventually acquitted by the Senate which couldn’t even get a majority for removal, despite Republican control.

Right now, polls show the public evenly split on the matter of impeachment. Morning Consult, which has been measuring the impeachment issue for months, released a poll taken Sept 27th through the 30th showing 46% of public support and 43% oppose impeachment proceedings. Note again, 46% of the public is supporting impeachment proceedings not impeachment. As we saw with the Clinton impeachment 20 years ago, this is the peak of public support for impeachment. From here, public support will only drop. Which is why Pelosi, Schiff, and the Democrats are moving impeachment along as fast as possible, avoiding a floor vote and trying to draft and pass articles of impeachment by the end of the year at the latest. Schiff said, “We’re not fooling around here, though. We don’t want this to drag on months and months and months, which appears to be the administration’s strategy.”

This plan depends on Republican acquiescence, and the Republicans look to drag things out. During the Mueller probe of alleged (and non-existent) Russian collusion, the administration gave the independent council complete cooperation, amounting to hundreds of witnesses, thousands of hours of depositions and millions of documents. Schiff has subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Giuliani, a former Federal prosecutor himself, has retained legal counsel and is fighting the subpoena while Pompeo is so far not allowing his personnel to appear before Schiff’s committee.

Pelosi foolishly announced the impeachment inquiry before she had even seen a transcript of the call between Trump and Zelensky or the whistleblower’s complaint. Pelosi and Schiff surely anticipated the Trump Administration would invoke executive privilege, allowing the Democrats to claim a Trump Administration coverup.  Much to the surprise of Washington, Trump released the call transcript and whistleblower complaint the next day. The call transcript shows Trump and Zelensky having a banal conversation and exchange of pleasantries. Speaking about a wide variety of topics, Biden’s name only came up once. The whistleblower complaint is made up entirely of secondhand knowledge. That is, the complainant was not in the room or on the line for the call. He or she offers nothing but hearsay.

Trump and the GOP are fighting mad. This week Trump’s reelection committee announced an $8 million ad buy in vulnerable House Democrat districts featuring a television spot accusing Schiff and Pelosi of fomenting a coup, “Democrats are trying to undo the election regardless of facts, attacking the president by any means necessary, fabricating evidence,’ the ad begins. The scandal has done nothing to separate Trump from his base. Polls show Republicans sticking by Trump and those Republicans are backing that up with cash. Trump and the GOP raised a staggering $15 million dollars from the time the Ukraine story broke until the end of September. The Democrats counted on Trump and the GOP to be passive. They counted wrong.

William Stroock, author of military fiction

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