Schiff Shafts Biden

Congressman Adam Schiff (to experience the deep void, look into his eyes) has fallen into a trap in which he aims at the president and wounds his party’s front-runner, Joe Biden, instead.

It’s not my imagination. MSN’s Chris Hayes tweets: “ I am watching this something turn into a story about Biden and am going to pass out.” 

Let’s go to the old journalism rule, that a story should tell readers who, what, where, and sometimes why to see what’s news and what’s nonsense.

The Washington Post printed on its front page a story that the president made a call and a promise in it to an unspecified foreign leader, which so disturbed someone, he reported it. The story was sketchy, to say the least. Peter Suderman captured it precisely in a tweet:

So, a thing happened, and Trump was involved, and apparently so was a foreign leader, and someone in the natsec field became upset. But it's not clear what happened, or who the foreign leader was, or who is upset, or why?

Snapping at the hook, no less than three Democratic congressmen have opened separate investigations into whether the President is conspiring with Ukraine for favorable election results -- Adam Schiff, Elijah Cummings, and Eliot Engel.

Let’s walk back the cat, look at the latest reports and we’ll see how their desperate efforts to rid themselves of the President who’s almost certain to win a second term boomerang on Joe Biden.

Who?

The identity of the person the press claims is a whistleblower is unknown as yet. He, as the Other McCain notes, is almost certainly “a Democrat operative [snip] a perfect example of the ‘Deep State’ problem that Trump’s supporters have been talking about for three years. The bureaucrats seem to believe they should have more influence on U.S. policy than the President himself, if the President doesn’t share their world view.” 

As the President observed earlier, all his conversations with foreign leaders are surely listened in on by various members of the intelligence community here and abroad, so the report of a “whistleblower” having access to secretive conversations seems utter bunk. Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, through the agency’s counsel, declined to turn over  the complaint to Congress, indicating it was not “urgent,” a threshold that must be met before turning over such complaints, and that the allegations in the complaint concern “conduct by someone outside the Intelligence Community” and that they involve “confidential and potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community.” 

In any event, this leaker (not a whistleblower, in my view) was operating on limited facts. The call was preceded by visits between Rudy Giuliani and Ukrainian official Andrei Zermak, at the very request of the State Department, part of a diplomatic effort to repair relations with Ukraine and newly elected president Volodymyr Zelensky. Zelensky has been trying since last summer to hand over evidence of corruption by Americans in Ukraine during the Obama administration. Those efforts faltered when the U.S. Embassy in Kiev failed to issue visas in a timely manner so they could hand over this evidence, and when thereafter Ukraine hired a former U.S. attorney to hand over the evidence to the U.S. Attorney in New York, they got no response. The evidence involved efforts by the Democratic National Committee to pressure the Ukrainian government to meddle in our election, and the payoff to Joe Biden’s son as well. At each step of the way, Giuliani informed U.S. officials of the discussions. 

Indeed, it turns out the leaker was merely reporting hearsay and had no independent knowledge of the conversation. From Brit Hume:

Here’s a “new revelation” in this article: the whistleblower complaint is based on hearsay. From the article: “The whistleblower didn't have direct knowledge of the communications, an official briefed on the matter told CNN.”

Robert Barnes nails the political hijinks :

Where?

The setting for the scandal was the prior administration in Ukraine, a country totally corrupt and given to paying off well-connected Democrats for political and financial return.

In January of this year, Kenneth P. Vogel and Juliia Mendel detailed the setting and issues in the New York Times. As vice-president, Joe Biden dealt with the former Ukrainian Administration of President Petro Poroshenko. Poroshensko’s prosecutor general Viktor Shokin was investigating government corruption, including that by the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, which employed Joe’s son, Hunter, as a consultant.

Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine appears to have been well compensated. Burisma paid $3.4 million to a company called Rosemont Seneca Bohai LLC from mid-April 2014, when Hunter Biden and Mr. Archer joined the board, to late 2015, according to the financial data provided by the Ukrainian deputy prosecutor. The payments continued after that, according to people familiar with the arrangement. [snip] Bank records submitted in that case -- which resulted in a conviction for Mr. Archer that was overturned in November -- show that Rosemont Seneca Bohai made regular payments to Mr. Biden that totaled as much as $50,000 in some months.

The story got some play in the major media and then died as Biden rose in the Democratic primaries.  It was almost dead when Schiff inadvertently revived it this week.

And there is certainly evidence that Biden had interfered to aid his son’s cash cow, Ukraine.

Joe Biden bragged that he had threatened to withhold a billion dollars to the desperately broke Ukrainians if they didn’t immediately fire the prosecutor general who was looking into Burisma.  The former Ukrainian prosecutor general reports that Biden’s threat was responsible for his ouster and it was done to protect Hunter Biden.

Why?

Can there be any doubt in your mind that the leaker was a Democratic mole in the White House, or a person privy to some information gleaned by the intel community who represents interests and views in conflict with the President’s?

If you think for a moment that the decision by the DNI not to turn over the leaker’s complaint to Congress was inappropriate, consider this:

1.Article II of the Constitution gives the president sweeping power to conduct foreign affairs, negotiate with leaders of other nations, make demands or offer promises.  The Constitution does not grant the power of review, approval or disapproval to spies or other unelected officials in the executive branch.

2.The ICWPA law defines the parameters of an “urgent concern” complaint as an abuse or violation of law “relating to the funding, administration, or operations of an intelligence activity involving classified information, but does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters.”  The president’s conversation with a foreign leader does not seem to fall under this whistleblower definition. 

3.It appears the acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) agrees with this assessment. His agency’s general counsel wrote a letter stating the complaint did not meet the ICWPA definition because it involved conduct “from someone outside the intel community and did not relate to intelligence activity,” according to a report by Fox News. This is why the DNI refused to forward the complaint to congress. 

My Facebook friend Daniel Wattenberg observes: “There is a very telling functional similarity between the Russian Collusion narrative and the new CIA Whistleblower narrative. The former made it taboo to follow the breadcrumbs to exposure of Hillary's incriminating deleted emails. The latter makes it taboo to follow the breadcrumbs to incriminating evidence of Biden strong arming a Ukrainian leader to obstruct a criminal investigation into his son's activities.”

There is also a very strong similarity between Schiff’s consistent lies about the Mueller investigation and the phony Russian Collusion story and the effort to remove the President for trying to repair relations with Ukraine, relations jeopardized by the former administration’s corruption. He hopes the moribund press will broadcast his claims loudly and readers will not go beyond those headlines. In the meantime, as is their wont, the hysterical press on the left is drooling over the possibility of another impeachment angle, all else having failed to work and the President’s popularity growing as their candidates manage to turn off tranche after tranche of voters .

Once again, Schiff pushed hard on the revolving door and it’s about to smack him and his party in the face. This coming week, President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky are set to meet. Watch for it.

Note: An earlier version of this piece mischaracterized the involvement of Christopher Heinz. AT regrets the error. 

Congressman Adam Schiff (to experience the deep void, look into his eyes) has fallen into a trap in which he aims at the president and wounds his party’s front-runner, Joe Biden, instead.

It’s not my imagination. MSN’s Chris Hayes tweets: “ I am watching this something turn into a story about Biden and am going to pass out.” 

Let’s go to the old journalism rule, that a story should tell readers who, what, where, and sometimes why to see what’s news and what’s nonsense.

The Washington Post printed on its front page a story that the president made a call and a promise in it to an unspecified foreign leader, which so disturbed someone, he reported it. The story was sketchy, to say the least. Peter Suderman captured it precisely in a tweet:

So, a thing happened, and Trump was involved, and apparently so was a foreign leader, and someone in the natsec field became upset. But it's not clear what happened, or who the foreign leader was, or who is upset, or why?

Snapping at the hook, no less than three Democratic congressmen have opened separate investigations into whether the President is conspiring with Ukraine for favorable election results -- Adam Schiff, Elijah Cummings, and Eliot Engel.

Let’s walk back the cat, look at the latest reports and we’ll see how their desperate efforts to rid themselves of the President who’s almost certain to win a second term boomerang on Joe Biden.

Who?

The identity of the person the press claims is a whistleblower is unknown as yet. He, as the Other McCain notes, is almost certainly “a Democrat operative [snip] a perfect example of the ‘Deep State’ problem that Trump’s supporters have been talking about for three years. The bureaucrats seem to believe they should have more influence on U.S. policy than the President himself, if the President doesn’t share their world view.” 

As the President observed earlier, all his conversations with foreign leaders are surely listened in on by various members of the intelligence community here and abroad, so the report of a “whistleblower” having access to secretive conversations seems utter bunk. Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, through the agency’s counsel, declined to turn over  the complaint to Congress, indicating it was not “urgent,” a threshold that must be met before turning over such complaints, and that the allegations in the complaint concern “conduct by someone outside the Intelligence Community” and that they involve “confidential and potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community.” 

In any event, this leaker (not a whistleblower, in my view) was operating on limited facts. The call was preceded by visits between Rudy Giuliani and Ukrainian official Andrei Zermak, at the very request of the State Department, part of a diplomatic effort to repair relations with Ukraine and newly elected president Volodymyr Zelensky. Zelensky has been trying since last summer to hand over evidence of corruption by Americans in Ukraine during the Obama administration. Those efforts faltered when the U.S. Embassy in Kiev failed to issue visas in a timely manner so they could hand over this evidence, and when thereafter Ukraine hired a former U.S. attorney to hand over the evidence to the U.S. Attorney in New York, they got no response. The evidence involved efforts by the Democratic National Committee to pressure the Ukrainian government to meddle in our election, and the payoff to Joe Biden’s son as well. At each step of the way, Giuliani informed U.S. officials of the discussions. 

Indeed, it turns out the leaker was merely reporting hearsay and had no independent knowledge of the conversation. From Brit Hume:

Here’s a “new revelation” in this article: the whistleblower complaint is based on hearsay. From the article: “The whistleblower didn't have direct knowledge of the communications, an official briefed on the matter told CNN.”

Robert Barnes nails the political hijinks :

Where?

The setting for the scandal was the prior administration in Ukraine, a country totally corrupt and given to paying off well-connected Democrats for political and financial return.

In January of this year, Kenneth P. Vogel and Juliia Mendel detailed the setting and issues in the New York Times. As vice-president, Joe Biden dealt with the former Ukrainian Administration of President Petro Poroshenko. Poroshensko’s prosecutor general Viktor Shokin was investigating government corruption, including that by the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, which employed Joe’s son, Hunter, as a consultant.

Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine appears to have been well compensated. Burisma paid $3.4 million to a company called Rosemont Seneca Bohai LLC from mid-April 2014, when Hunter Biden and Mr. Archer joined the board, to late 2015, according to the financial data provided by the Ukrainian deputy prosecutor. The payments continued after that, according to people familiar with the arrangement. [snip] Bank records submitted in that case -- which resulted in a conviction for Mr. Archer that was overturned in November -- show that Rosemont Seneca Bohai made regular payments to Mr. Biden that totaled as much as $50,000 in some months.

The story got some play in the major media and then died as Biden rose in the Democratic primaries.  It was almost dead when Schiff inadvertently revived it this week.

And there is certainly evidence that Biden had interfered to aid his son’s cash cow, Ukraine.

Joe Biden bragged that he had threatened to withhold a billion dollars to the desperately broke Ukrainians if they didn’t immediately fire the prosecutor general who was looking into Burisma.  The former Ukrainian prosecutor general reports that Biden’s threat was responsible for his ouster and it was done to protect Hunter Biden.

Why?

Can there be any doubt in your mind that the leaker was a Democratic mole in the White House, or a person privy to some information gleaned by the intel community who represents interests and views in conflict with the President’s?

If you think for a moment that the decision by the DNI not to turn over the leaker’s complaint to Congress was inappropriate, consider this:

1.Article II of the Constitution gives the president sweeping power to conduct foreign affairs, negotiate with leaders of other nations, make demands or offer promises.  The Constitution does not grant the power of review, approval or disapproval to spies or other unelected officials in the executive branch.

2.The ICWPA law defines the parameters of an “urgent concern” complaint as an abuse or violation of law “relating to the funding, administration, or operations of an intelligence activity involving classified information, but does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters.”  The president’s conversation with a foreign leader does not seem to fall under this whistleblower definition. 

3.It appears the acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) agrees with this assessment. His agency’s general counsel wrote a letter stating the complaint did not meet the ICWPA definition because it involved conduct “from someone outside the intel community and did not relate to intelligence activity,” according to a report by Fox News. This is why the DNI refused to forward the complaint to congress. 

My Facebook friend Daniel Wattenberg observes: “There is a very telling functional similarity between the Russian Collusion narrative and the new CIA Whistleblower narrative. The former made it taboo to follow the breadcrumbs to exposure of Hillary's incriminating deleted emails. The latter makes it taboo to follow the breadcrumbs to incriminating evidence of Biden strong arming a Ukrainian leader to obstruct a criminal investigation into his son's activities.”

There is also a very strong similarity between Schiff’s consistent lies about the Mueller investigation and the phony Russian Collusion story and the effort to remove the President for trying to repair relations with Ukraine, relations jeopardized by the former administration’s corruption. He hopes the moribund press will broadcast his claims loudly and readers will not go beyond those headlines. In the meantime, as is their wont, the hysterical press on the left is drooling over the possibility of another impeachment angle, all else having failed to work and the President’s popularity growing as their candidates manage to turn off tranche after tranche of voters .

Once again, Schiff pushed hard on the revolving door and it’s about to smack him and his party in the face. This coming week, President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky are set to meet. Watch for it.

Note: An earlier version of this piece mischaracterized the involvement of Christopher Heinz. AT regrets the error.