Adam Schiff's Impeachment Fun Playhouse
In tacit recognition that his party will never beat the president in 2020 with the gang of whackos vying to head their ticket and that no real impeachment will ever occur, Congressman Adam Schiff, with the acquiescence of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, called to order what they are calling an "impeachment inquiry." It's presumably designed to see whether formal impeachment proceedings should begin. (Impeachment proceedings cannot take place without a vote to do so in the House. Vulnerable Democrats would never vote for it any more than would almost all Republican congressmen. And conviction and removal from office for impeachment would have to occur after a full hearing and two-thirds vote in the Senate — which also will not happen. The Democrats, again, are counting on the civics and constitutional ignorance of their base.) It flopped, in any event. The hearings, in fact, show that this is simply the rerun of the Russian Collusion scam. Only the name of the country has changed — this time, it's Ukraine, a country that, you may know, is a major enemy of the Russians.
As Daniel Greenfield persuasively argues, these investigations are attempts to delegitimize the president and his administration, and I predict that people are sick of this nonsense. I urge you to read this article in its entirety. Here's but a sample.
The impeachment push is the same discredited scam that the Democrats had pushed on the country at the cost of millions of dollars, years of legislative stalemate, ruined lives and fake news. It's like getting a scam email from a Nigerian prince, turning him down, and then receiving another email from the same address, except he now claims to be a Zambian prince, but still wants you to cash the same check. [snip] In April, the Mueller report was released. And it was a big, giant nothing. Democrats tried to play it for all they could. At the end of May, Mueller officially called it quits. At the end of July, despairing House Dems dragged him in to testify. Mueller had more trouble remembering things than Joe Biden.
The vicious scam that had begun with the Steele Report was finally dead. Time for a new edition.
The day after Mueller killed the Russia smear dead, President Trump spoke to President Volodymyr Zelensky of the Ukraine. And the Democrats immediately slotted it in as the new Steele Report. A few weeks into August, the complaint was filed. And by August's end, it was passed along to Rep. Adam Schiff through the connivance of an intel oversight official who made sure it ended up in Adam's sweaty hands.
That's the same scheme which took a product of the Clinton campaign and routed it through the DOJ, FBI and intelligence agencies in order to give the Steele Report a veneer of official legitimacy. This time around the key players fixed the problem that came up when the Steele Report was traced to its source, who turned out to not only be an FBI informant, but was being paid to smear Trump by Hillary Clinton.
There's a backstory (or two) behind the president's call to Ukrainian president Zelensky, which forms the basis of the "whistleblower's"(actually gossip's) complaint.
There's a treaty signed by then-president Bill Clinton and ratified on October 18, 2000, which provides that the U.S. and Ukraine are to mutually assist one another in "the prosecution of a wide variety of crimes" and includes "taking of testimony or statements of persons; providing documents, records and articles of evidence; serving documents; locating or identifying persons; transferring persons in custody for testimony or other purposes; executing requests for searched and seizures; assisting in proceedings related to restraint confiscation,, forfeiture of assets, restitution, and collection of fines; and any other form of assistance not prohibited by the laws of the requested state."
Right now, presumably in accord with this provision, Department of Justice attorney John Durham is exploring the role Ukraine (and other countries) played in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. At the same time — perhaps in connection with this — the president's counsel, Rudy Giuliani, at the request of the State Department, is working with the recently elected new Ukrainian government on how to proceed.
We've earlier noted Joe Biden's boasting (captured on video) that he extorted Ukrainian officials, warning that he'd hold up a billion-dollar transfer to them if they did not fire the prosecutor looking into the payoffs to Hunter, then on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy firm registered in Cyprus.
The fired prosecutor has written a notarized statement dated September 4 of this year stating that he was fired because of Joe Biden's demand that he be removed:
Less attention has been paid to the letter in May of last year that three Democrat senators, Robert Menendez, Richard Durbin, and Patrick Leahy, wrote to Ukraine's prosecutor general, who had closed out four investigations they deemed critical to Mueller's probe. The letter carries a not very subtle hint that if their wishes were denied, support for the new government was at stake.
This letter is in direct contrast to Speaker Pelosi's claim this week:
Ironically, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declared Tuesday that the mere possibility that President Trump had asked Ukraine to continue an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden — even without a quid pro quo — was enough to trigger an impeachment inquiry.
As Congressman Devin Nunes notes, this isn't the only such irony:
- Joe Biden bragged that he extorted the Ukrainians into firing a prosecutor, who happened to be investigating Biden's own son.
- Three Democrat senators wrote a letter pressuring the Ukrainian general prosecutor to reopen investigations it reportedly froze on former Trump campaign officials.
- Another Democratic senator [Chris Murphy D. CT] went to Ukraine and pressured the Ukrainian President not to investigate corruption allegations involving Biden's son.
- According to Ukrainian officials, Democratic National Committee contractor Alexandra Chalupa tried to get Ukrainian officials to provide dirt on Trump associates and tried to get the former Ukrainian President to comment publicly on their alleged ties to Russia.
- Ukrainian official Serhiy Leshchenko was a source for Nellie Ohr, wife of Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr, as she worked on the anti-Trump operation conducted by Fusion GPS and funded by the Democrats.
- And of course, Democrats on this very committee negotiated with people they thought were Ukrainians in order to obtain nude pictures of Trump.
The Trump-Zelensky Phone Call
Doubtless assuming that the president was the usual Republican, clueless to their machinations, Democrats lied about the nature of the phone call. Here is the full transcript (unlike the "annotated ones" the NYT and Washington Post published to make it seem other than what it was). I suspect that Schiff thought the president would not do that, and their fake interpretation would rule the day as a fight over executive privilege was fought. Similarly, Schiff probably thought the administration would refuse to release the complaint by the person described as the "whistleblower." Outsmarted again.
Both documents show that there is no there there. As Britt Hume tweeted when the transcript was released:
As of Wednesday morning, when the Ukraine phone call transcript was released, the public knew more about what transpired on the call than the whistleblower knew when he/she filed the complaint.
Indeed, the transcript was so devastating to the Democrats' claims that Schiff, instead of reading it, read what he called a "parody" of it — but conceded that it was faked only after he was called out for manufacturing what it actually said.
At first, some Democrats claimed that the transcript was faked. It wasn't. Two CIA employees detailed to the White House made the transcription. Others claimed that the ellipses in the transcript revealed hidden redactions. Actually, they simply signified a pause by the speaker. Interestingly, sometime between May 2018 and August of this year, the form for filing a whistleblower report was changed substantially with little if any notice. As of May 24, 2018, the relevant Form (I.C. I.G. ICWPA FORM 401) required that the report involve "urgent concerns," be about an "intelligence activity," be "reliable first-hand knowledge," and not be "second-hand knowledge." If, like me, you believe that coincidences like this in D.C. are too rare to mention, this should get your antennae twitching. This complaint merely repeats secondhand knowledge. It is utterly false about the nature of the Trump-Zelensky conversation and reflects, instead of wrongdoing by the president, that there are some in the bowels of the government who have policy differences with him and wish to wound him.
The Ukraine call complaint against Trump is riddled not with evidence directly witnessed by the complainant, but with repeated references to what anonymous officials allegedly told the complainant: "I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials," "officials have informed me," "officials with direct knowledge of the call informed me," "the White House officials who told me this information," "I was told by White House officials," "the officials I spoke with," "I was told that a State Department official" [snip]
The complainant also cites publicly available news articles as proof of many of the allegations.
"I was not a direct witness to most of the events" characterized in the document, the complainant confessed on the first page of his August 12 letter, which was addressed to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.)... Hearsay is generally inadmissible as evidence in U.S. federal and state courts since it violates the constitutional requirement that the accused be given the opportunity to question his accusers.
... While the complaint alleged that Trump demanded that Ukraine physically return multiple servers potentially related to ongoing investigations of foreign interference in the 2016 elections, the transcript of the call between Trump and Zelensky shows that such a request was never made.
The complainant also falsely alleged that Trump told Zelensky that he should keep the current prosecutor general at the time, Yuriy Lutsenko, in his current position in the country. The transcript showed that exchange also did not happen.
Additionally, the complaint falsely alleged that T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, a U.S. State Department official, was a party to the phone call between Trump and Zelensky. [snip]
In a legal opinion that was released to the public along with the phone call transcript, the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) determined that the complainant's submission was statutorily deficient and therefore was not required to be submitted to Congress. The White House nonetheless declassified and released the document to Congress late Wednesday evening.
Dissecting the complaint, Henry Olsen, writing in the Washington Post, sagely suggests that the Democrats' best option is to stop relying on this confection (something clearly written by several people, some of whom probably are on Schiff's committee staff):
Democrats now have a difficult choice to make. The wisest course of action would probably be to drop the complaint as a significant piece of evidence, since it raises almost nothing new. That would be politically embarrassing since they have made so much of it, but they could claim that the whistleblower's job has been done since it unearthed the alleged wrongdoing and placed it in the public domain.
The alternative course sets the Democrats on a dangerous path. If the whistleblower's complaint is probative of impeachment, then the whistleblower must testify to find out who gave the person the information that is described. That cannot be done without Republicans present and likely means the whistleblower's identity must be disclosed. It is one thing to keep that person's identity secret when the matter is largely handled internally; it is quite another when it is being used to try to remove the democratically elected leader of our nation. The accused must have a chance to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him, and that right applies as much to Trump as it does to anyone accused of wrongdoing.
Investigation of the whistleblower's allegations also inserts the House Democrats into the deepest workings of the administration, such as the alleged discussions among White House officials to "lock down" records of the phone call. The president would be remiss if he did not assert executive privilege over these discussions. That will inevitably present Democrats with a Hobson's choice: Either delay the impeachment hearings to fight such assertions of privilege in court or drop the matter to proceed to a vote without having all the evidence before it. Neither will help them achieve their likely aim: the swift resolution to impeach the president before the election year starts in earnest.
The last year has seen an avalanche of fake news — about one major story a month by my count. In my view, they have only further discredited the already on its last legs major media and the Democratic Party they promote. I'm inclined to agree with Scott Adams that the political and media elites cannot fathom that their globalist worldviews were wrong and that Trump was right. Rather than concede that Trump and the voters have popped their narcissistic bubble, they invented a movie in their heads in which he's a monster and the evidence of that is just around the corner.
I agree as well with Conrad Black that in 2020, Trump will steamroller this ragtag crew of kooks and retreads desultorily arrayed against him.
Congress has now scheduled a two-week recess. Schiff promises that work on the funhouse probe will continue. I hope so. As long as it continues, funds will keep pouring in by the millions to both Trump's re-election campaign and his impeachment defense fund.
Correction made: Senate conviction on impeachment requires a two-thirds Senate vote.