We are in the third act of an epic morality play, and the Bidens and their ally Toobin stand exposed as corrupt, sexually perverse people.
Starting with the 2016 election, Scott Adams said that Donald Trump is the ultimate showman, and that he understands how to create a narrative. Adams is correct and I knew that, in 2020, it was always going to be Trump who controlled the October surprise. After all, since they subjected Trump to a daily colonoscopy for the last four years, the Democrats have no arrows left in their quiver.
Even the Wuhan virus is proving to be a failure when it comes to destroying Trump. The economy is rebounding; voters understand that China, not Trump, is to blame; Americans have been repulsed by the Democrats’ embrace of covid despotism, and Trump’s own bout with the virus shows that we’re coming to the end of the pandemic.
Additionally, as Americans watch Europe again collapse under the weight of the virus, despite ostensibly doing everything right compared to Trump’s doing everything wrong, they’re realizing that, in fact, Trump didn’t do anything wrong terribly wrong. He responded swiftly to events based on the best information available. No matter how one approaches the Wuhan virus, some people (sadly) will die.
When it came to whichever Democrat primary candidate became the Democrat presidential candidate, I always assumed that Trump would be able to pull a rabbit out of his hat. I also assumed, once Biden was the anointed one, that there would be lots of rabbits. When I envisioned those rabbits, though, I imagined that they would have Russian accents.
Thus, I had faith that, despite the Democrats using the Wuhan virus to slow down the Durham investigation, there would still be red meat regarding Biden’s involvement in the Russia hoax. Even when I learned that Durham would say nothing before the election, I told myself, “That’s okay. He probably can’t get a D.C. Grand Jury to indict anyone. And if he can get a D.C. Grand Jury to indict, it’ll be a year, at least, before there’s a trial. And in that year, all that the media will show are statements from the defendants’ attorneys saying that they’re innocent. I’m sure that Trump’s plan is to put the documents before the American people and let them make up their minds.”
What I hadn’t seen coming down the pike was Hunter Biden’s computer. Indeed, how could anyone have imagined that Hunter Biden would drunkenly abandon his computer at a little repair store; that the owner, after taking legal possession, would investigate the contents; that Deep State agencies would rebuff the owner’s efforts to turn over the contents to the government; that the FBI, having ignored evidence of Joe Biden’s corruption, would eventually send one of its child sexual exploitation experts to check things out; or that The New York Post, Rudy Giuliani, and Steve Bannon, would end up being the ones taking the story public.
And even if I had been able to imagine all of that, I would not have been able to imagine that the Biden camp would be unable to refute the hard drive’s contents; that Hunter Biden’s former partner, rotting in prison, would turn over his entire email account to Peter Schweizer; or that the Ukrainian government would have seized a computer from a Ukrainian bad guy with corroborating emails.
The only thing I knew would happen was that, the moment something bad about Biden emerged, the media and the Democrat party (but I repeat myself), would instantly blame “Russian disinformation.”
Frankly, Hunter Biden’s hard drive has been the most amazing denouement possible to the drama of the first term of the Trump presidency. I’m hoping that, during the debate, no matter what question the biased “mediator” asks Trump, he begins his answer by turning to Biden and asking him something about the evidence on the hard drive, whether it’s about Ukraine, China, or whether Biden knew about his son’s sexual activities with little girls (assuming that kind of stuff is indeed on the computer). And the follow up is that Biden, if he knew about all this stuff, also understood that this knowledge meant he was ripe for blackmail by China, Ukraine, Russia, and God alone knows what other bad actors in the world.
Indeed, if he’s feeling frisky, perhaps Trump can even ask Biden if Hunter got his taste for little girls from watching his Daddy. Then, and only then, should Trump answer the question asked of him.
As is so often the case, I can’t think of a better analysis of what’s going on than Tucker Carlson’s opening monologue:
And while we’re on the subject of the media acting as Joe Biden’s praetorian guard, USA Today, which publishes a weekly column from Glenn Reynolds, refused to publish this week’s column. Please go to Instapundit and read what USA Today censored.
All of the above news about Biden is excellent (although the censorship is evil). But there’s news today that’s truly delightful, that’s the icing on the cake and the gilding on the lily. That news is that Jeffrey Toobin exposed himself during a Zoom meeting with staff from The New Yorker.
Why is this so lovely? Because Toobin is a bad man. He’s a bad man because he puts bad ideas out there and has done so since he sparked the second coming of modern American racism by writing in The New Yorker about the “race card” regarding O.J. Simpson’s trial. I truly believe that, had Toobin not written the article, the race issue might have come up as a defense, but it would never have overtaken the national consciousness as it did.
Toobin is also a bad man because he’s an intellectually dishonest man. He writes about the law like a sleazy lawyer, pouring misinformation and misunderstandings into credulous readers’ brains.
Toobin is a bad man because, while he was married, he had an affair with a colleague’s much younger daughter, impregnated her, and tried to force her to have an abortion. That is what a moral reprobate does.
Toobin is a bad man because, despite all his moral and intellectual failings, he believes he’s some sort of moral arbiter and, therefore, was one of the most hysterical anti-Trump critics over the past few years.
And that’s why it’s such a wonderful thing to see Toobin done in by his own sleazy badness.
This wonderful Seinfeld clip is perfectly appropriate to Toobin’s conduct:
(Hat tip: Instapundit, where you’ll find a whole bunch of other Toobin material.)
Incidentally, if you’re wondering why all of this is happening to Biden and those around him, there are two reasons. The first reason is that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Biden and his family have lived within a completely protected bubble for decades. They have no sense at all of limitations on their behavior.
The second reason things like this are getting exposed is because leftists are their own Gods. Even people like Joe, who pretend to be Catholic (never mind his support for abortion, gay marriage, transgenderism, and fondling little girls) don’t really believe in an all powerful moral arbiter. They are all their own gods. That’s why they think we puny mortals can control the entire earth’s climate, with no help from the sun. We can certainly pollute and destroy regions, but we are not gods. Once you jettison the moral God and create your own standards, you can expect more stories of depravity, debauchery, and corruption.
(If you’re wondering about why I said all three are sexually perverse, I don’t need to have the Biden hard drive to support this statement. Toobin proved it with the affair and with his Zoom moment. Biden is constantly fondling and sniffing little girls. And Hunter has a predilection for hookers, strippers, and widows. They are nasty, nasty men.)
The House is considering three articles of Impeachment. The Constitution is at issue in questions of Obstruction of Justice, Contempt of Congress and the form of the Senate Trial. Comity and Corruption are at issue as to the Bidens and Abuse of Power. And is this is an unlawful attempted coup?
The House is considering three Articles of Impeachment, one of which is expected to be for contempt of Congress. The House claims that Donald Trump refused to honor lawful subpoenas for testimony and documents as pertains to the Ukraine. Was Trump within his rights to do so? That is wholly a Constitutional question. It is also closely related in at least one relevant part to a likely Second Article of Impeachment, namely Obstruction of Justice as to the Russian Hoax inquiry.
The only vote the House of Representatives has held to authorize an impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump was defeated overwhelmingly in January, 2017. In response to the Ukraine IC IG matter, Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker, unilaterally declared an “impeachment inquiry” on September 24, 2019, and the House immediately began issuing subpoenas for witnesses and documents. As to the latest vote held a week ago to formalize the procedures being used in the ongoing Star Chamber, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was adamant that the Resolution was not an authorization of an “impeachment inquiry.“
Can anything less than a vote by the entire House of Representatives to authorize an “impeachment inquiry” be considered Constitutionally valid? As I’ve discussed before, this is far from mere form. If the House of Representatives approves a resolution for an impeachment inquiry, the House gains a power that it, by the explicit terms of the Constitution, does not otherwise possess — the judicial power to enforce subpoenas and requests for documents on matters outside its Art. I, Sec. 8 enumerated powers. Without that power, the White House was acting lawfully when it refused to cooperate. Tellingly, the House, rather than take those subpoenas to a Court to enforce them — and risk having a Court declare their proceeding unconstitutional — appears to be simply rolling all but one of their refused “subpoenas” into an contempt of Congress charge.
Then there is Part II of the Mueller Report. We can expect the House to adopt Part II virtually in toto as an obstruction of justice charge. There is a twist on this, however, and it is where this overlaps with the Contempt of Congress charge. Without the judicial power of an impeachment inquiry, the House has no power to subpoena the Grand Jury testimony that Mueller referenced in his report. The House subpoenaed the Department of Justice for that information and got the matter heard before an Obama judge (yes, John Roberts, there are progressive judges who rule by ideology, not the law) who ruled that the House was authorized to receive the material — and thus that their current “impeachment inquiry” was constitutionally sufficient. The White House made an emergency appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court, which granted a stay, and the matter is now to be heard on November 12 before the D.C. Circuit. If the D.C. Circuit affirms the lower court’s ruling, the Trump administration will assuredly bring it to the Supreme Court, but there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will take up the case.
All of this brings up a huge, core Constitutional issue: Which branch of government has the power to determine the meaning of the Constitution — specifically in this case, when the question is whether the House may claim judicial powers without a vote of the House of Representatives to authorize an impeachment inquiry? There is no doubt that Articles of Impeachment (other than Contempt of Congress) that the House votes upon would be facially constitutional. So this question applies only to whether the President may be validly held in contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with an impeachment inquiry that was never authorized by a vote of the full House of Representatives.
The Judicial Branch long ago claimed for itself the power to definitively interpret the Constitution, but that right to do so appears nowhere in the text of the Constitution. Can the Senate summarily dispense with any claim for Obstruction of Justice as to this “impeachment inquiry” because the Senators believe that the House acted “unconstitutionally?” Can the Senate do so in the face of a D.C. Circuit Court opinion to the contrary? Could the Senate do so in the face of a Supreme Court refusal to hear an appeal from the D.C. Circuit? And lastly, could the Senate do so even if the Supreme Court hears an appeal and concludes that the obscene House Star Chamber proceeding meets the standards for constitutionality? Those are all valid questions that I believe should be answered in the affirmative, but that could have long term ramifications for how our nation operates.
A second Constitutional question that touches on this and all of the Articles of Impeachment concerns whether Donald Trump will be afforded the same due process rights at trial (rules of evidence, right to bring definitive motions, etc.) that are afforded all Americans in court? As Supreme Court Justice Story said, in 1833 when remarking on impeachment:
It is the boast of English jurisprudence, and without it the power of impeachment would be an intolerable grievance, that in trials by impeachment the law differs not in essentials from criminal prosecutions before inferior courts. The same rules of evidence, the same legal notions of crimes and punishments prevail. For impeachments are not framed to alter the law; but to carry it into more effectual execution, where it might be obstructed by the influence of too powerful delinquents, or not easily discerned in the ordinary course of jurisdiction, by reason of the peculiar quality of the alleged crimes.
Under current Senate Rules, the President does not explicitly have those protections. Under the modifications suggested here, he would gain them. Assuming that the Senate does adopt those changes then before trial begins President Trump should move to dismiss Contempt of Congress Charges for failing to state a legal claim — i.e., the House did not vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry, and thus the President did not obstruct a lawful process. As to the obstruction of justice charge, President Trump should make a motion to dismiss the claim on the grounds that, even assuming all of the facts alleged in the Mueller Report to be true, it does not as a matter of law show a violation of the law or a political offense for which impeachment is warranted. President Trump committed no underlying crime. President Trump substantially complied with the investigation and he committed no act that resulted in the investigation being hindered.
Corruption & Comity
A third Article of Impeachment, according to Breitbart, will be for Abuse of Power. The House’s Star Chamber proceeding is likely to result in a claim that President Trump abused his power by withholding aid from Ukraine subject to them investigating Joe and Hunter Biden for corrupt practices.
This is yet another Article that should be dealt with on a motion to dismiss. The President’s practice and authority to negotiate with foreign countries for the aid they may receive from America is a well-established power of the Presidency, one that has been exercised by numerous other Presidents. Thus negotiating foreign aid with the Ukraine cannot itself, be grounds for impeachment. It is axiomatic that, to again quote Justice Story, impeachment may not be used to “make that a crime at one time, or in one person, which would be deemed innocent at another time, or in another person.“ And in fact, the aid was ultimately released in full to the Ukraine in September, 2019, so there is no Constitutional concern with Congress’s power of the purse, nor any legal concern with the Impoundment Control Act of 1974.
That leads to the next question, whether what Trump was negotiating for — the facts surrounding Joe and Hunter Biden in the Ukraine and whether it involved corruption — was an improper purpose. (It should be noted that Trump never in the transcript explicitly said that Ukraine’s receiving the money hinged on looking into the Biden matter. Indeed, it’s a stretch even to read into the transcript his having said such a thing implicitly.) As a textual matter, Article II § 3 of the Constitution requires the President to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” So when the President looks into possible legal violations, he is acting in fulfillment of his Constitutional duties.
That leaves the last question: Did President Trump have reasonable grounds to suspect that Joe Biden violated federal rules of ethics, and perhaps American laws, regarding corrupt practices? That is a factual matter. Trump does not need to show actual guilt. But he needs to be able to show that, based on the facts as he knew them, a reasonable person would suspect that there was enough evidence of corruption that further investigation was warranted.
As a threshold matter, the Joe and Hunter show went far beyond Ukraine. It was both foreign and domestic. As to the former, when Daddy became Vice President and was given control of foreign affairs in certain countries, Hunter Biden became Joe Biden’s little lamb. With apologies to Sarah Hale and a hat tip to the poetess Bookworm:
Joe Biden had a little Hunter, That filled its nose with snow, And everywhere Joe Biden went Hunter was sure to go; He followed Joe to Ukraine, Romania & China too; He sold his daddy’s name there, But saying so sparked a coup.
Hunter Biden’s escapades are well documented in the Ukraine, Iraq, China and Romania, for we know that he followed his father into those countries (sometimes flying into them with his father on Air Force Two) and immediately struck lucrative deals with corrupt politicians or, in the case of China, the government itself. Standing alone, these undisputed facts stink to high heaven. The mere appearance of corruption is an ethical problem for Joe Biden. It becomes a legal problem for Joe Biden if he used his position as Vice President to further his son’s enrichment or to protect him from investigation. And to be clear, based on the facts as we know them, if Trump and Trump’s children had done what Joe and Hunter Biden did, the call to impeach and jail him would be deafening.
When it comes to Ukraine, we know Hunter Biden was hired to sit on the Board of Bursima, a Ukrainian energy company owned by a man who is a suspect in billions of dollars of government corruption. We know that Hunter Biden was not qualified for such a seat beyond his familial relationship to Joe Biden. We know that people associated with Bursima then dropped Hunter Biden’s name to lobby the State Dept. in order to quash the corruption probes targeting their client. We know that at least one American official raised this as a problem to Biden’s office. And we know . . .
It is in fact an open question, not yet definitively answered, whether the prosecutor whom Joe brags about getting fired had an active corruption investigation into Bursima — and perhaps Hunter Biden as well. That was the question Trump seemed to be asking the President of Ukraine to find an answer to in his 25 July phone call. If so, there is more to investigate, such as what did Joe Biden know and when did he know it.
But according to Democrats, it is an abuse of power even to ask those questions. They can go pound sand. No one is above the law, not even a Democrat candidate for office. The only thing Trump asked for is information from an investigation. Was that pretextual or warranted? The first might arguably be grounds for impeachment, the second cannot be. Thus the only factual issue to determine whether to proceed to a full impeachment trial on abuse of power grounds is whether Trump was justified in seeking an investigation of Biden’s seemingly corrupt dealings.
Bottom line, we need to hear from Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, under oath at any Senate trial, to determine whether there was sufficient appearance of corruption for a reasonable person in Trump’s shoes to investigate. Indeed, the rule changes I suggested for the Senate’s impeachment trial are in anticipation of precisely that reality.
Democrats are going nuts over that issue. This from the Daily Beast, warning that “comity” in the Senate would be irreparably damaged by forcing the Bidens to testify:
Senate Democrats issued stark warnings on Wednesday that Republicans would severely damage the institution of Congress if they acquiesced to a push from Trump allies to haul former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter for testimony about their actions in Ukraine.
A top Biden ally, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), told The Daily Beast that calling the 2020 presidential contender—who served for 35 years in the Senate—and his son for testimony “would be literally rolling a grenade down the aisle of the Senate” that would have “lasting consequences” on the upper chamber’s ability to work together.
“Look, Joe Biden is well known, widely respected, and frankly beloved by many in the Senate on both sides of the aisle,” said Coons. “The impeachment process is already disruptive enough. I think we should be approaching it with seriousness, not by entertaining conspiracy theories that are utterly unfounded. And I think it would be a very unfortunate move.”
Zaid has since claimed that what he meant only a “legal” coup. There is no such thing. A coup is, by definition, an “illegal seizure of power from a government.” Now, if what Mr. Zaid had in mind was an unlawful abuse of the laws of this nation to effect a coup . . . that is still not legal. It is an act of sedition punishable at law.
We certainly now have evidence of Mr. Zaid’s state of mind. We have reason to suspect that his client was likely previously involved in the leak of classified information to the press in order to damage President Trump and may have spied on Trump on behalf of the FBI, both illegal acts. Then we have long standing ties between the whistle blower and Adam Schiff’s staff and we have Adam Schiff’s own statement that they coordinated filing a whistle blower complaint. Lastly, we have a grossly legally deficient whistle blower complaint that should never have been filed as such, and certainly never should have been addressed to Congress as a finding of urgent concern. The IC IG did not conduct due dillegence in his investigation.
Now, that could all mean nothing. Or, it could mean that certain people were conspiring to effect a bloodless coup. There is enough here to warrant an investigation to determine the truth. And prosecution would be warranted if what we discover is in fact a seditious conspiracy rather than a series of simple errors. That would in fact be an unlawful coup.
Progressives want to portray any investigation of Biden or the Trump Russia hoax as fundamentally illegitimate. Is Joe Biden above the law?
We’re getting stuff in a bit of reverse order. Yesterday, the White House made public the memorialization of the July 25, 2019, phone call between President Trump and President Zelinskyy of Ukraine, the text of which I embedded here. That phone call, as it turns out, was the entire centerpiece of the whistle blower complaint.
Today, that Whistle Blower Complaint has been released, along with a cover letter from the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (IG IC) detailing the IG IC handling and assessment of the complaint. Neither the whistle blower nor the IGIC had seen the memorialization of the July 25 phone call prior to writing their documents. The whistle blower had no first hand knowledge of the conversation, nor any of the other facts alleged in the complaint that did not appear publicly in the news (itself hearsay). All of the allegations in the document are hearsay or multi-layered hearsay, most coupled with bald accusations and spin. At the center of it all, this from the complaint:
Multiple White House officials with direct knowledge of the call informed me that, after an initial exchange of pleasantries, the President used the remainder of the call to advance his personal interests. Namely, he sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the President’ s 2020 reelection bid. According to the White House officials who had direct knowledge of the call, the President pressured Mr. Zelenskyy to:
initiate or continue an investigation the activities of former Vice President Joseph Biden and his son , Hunter Biden;
assist in purportedly uncovering that allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U . S. presidential election originated in Ukraine, with a specific request that the Ukrainian leader locate and turn over servers used by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and examined by the U . S . cyber security firm Crowdstrike, which initially reported that Russian hackers had penetrated the DNC’ s networks in 2016; and
meet or speak with two people the President named explicitly as his personal envoys on these matters,Mr. Giuliani and Attorney General Barr, to whom the President referred multiple times in tandem .
Of the whistle blowers three claims above, the only one seemingly being pushed as meaningful concerns Joe Biden blatantly conditioning American aid to Ukraine on shutting down the corruption investigation that was, in part, aimed at his son. And other than the July 25 conversation, much of the rest of the complaint concerns meetings taken by Rudy Giuliani that show nothing. The meat of it all is the phone conversation of July 25, something that does not on its face establish that Trump proposed an unlawful quid pro quo to Zelinskyy.
So now what do the progressives and the MSM do? They start by outright lying about what was said in the phone conversation between Trump and Zelinskyy. And for that, we go to Adam Schiff’s opening statement at today’s House Intelligence Committee Hearing on the whistle blower complaint.
A Fantasy Full of Schiff
This may be the most scurrilous opening statement ever given. Rep. Adam Schiff made up a series of facts and quotes out of whole cloth to portray the July 25 phone call between President Trump and President Zelinskyy as a Trump demand that Ukraine fabricate “dirt” on 2020 candidates if he wanted to receive American aid:
Rep. Adam Schiff acknowledged on Thursday that he made up parts of the Ukraine phone call transcript when he delivered his opening statement at a much-watched TV hearing with the U.S. top intelligence officer.
Mr. Schiff, California Democrat and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said his reading was “part in parody”––but made the admission only after Rep. Mike Turner, Ohio Republican, called him out.
In his opening statement, Mr. Schiff said Mr. Trump asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky for fabricated dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and said Mr. Trump threatened to make the same request Mr. Zelensky eight times–––both quotes not in the transcript.
When it came his time to question Joseph Maguire, the acting Director of National Intelligence, Mr. Turner noted inaccuracies uttered to a large TV audience as Democrats rev up talk of impeachment.
“It’s not the conversation that was in the chairman’s opening statement,” Mr. Turner said. “And while the chairman was speaking I actually had someone text me, ‘is he just making this up?’ And yes, yes, . . .
Parody my eye. Schiff did nothing to point that out his fabrications during his speech. It was an utterly outrageous attempt to influence public opinion with scurrilous lies. Schiff should be subject to an ethics complaint and expelled from the House for that.
The Quid Pro Quo Wasn’t Stated In The Phone Call Because Supposedly It Was Common Knowledge To The Ukrainians
With no quid pro quo in the July 25 phone call, a second effort is underway to make it seem as if the quid pro quo was so well known to the participants that it did not require statement during the phone call. The whistle blower states:
During [the May – June] time frame, multiple U . S. officials told me that the Ukrainian leadership was led to believe that a meeting or phone call between the President and President Zelenskyy would depend on whether Zelenskyy showed willingness to play ball. . . . This was the state of affairs as conveyed to me by U.S. officials from late May into July. I do not know who delivered this message to the Ukrainian leadership, or when.
Setting record straight: @Leshchenkos confirmed to me what those of us in Kyiv already knew—he is NOT currently an advisor to Ukraine’s Zelenskiy & wasn’t at time of July 25 call. He said he DID NOT tell ABC insistence for leaders to discuss Biden probe was precondition for call. https://t.co/fNh5sMYj9i
For their final attempt at breathing life into this farce, the MSM is taking a page from the FBI and their treatment of Christopher Steele. The FBI, in their four applications for a FISA warrant, tried to redeem the fact that all the information in their applications was hearsay by telling the Court that Christopher Steele, the source providing the hearsay, was trustworthy and knowledgeable. Now it is the MSM’s turn to try and pull that same trick as pertains to the anonymous whistle blower.
The whistle-blower who revealed that President Trump sought foreign help for his re-election and that the White House sought to cover it up is a C.I.A. officer who was detailed to work at the White House at one point, according to three people familiar with his identity.
The man has since returned to the C.I.A., the people said. Little else is known about him. His complaint made public Thursday suggested he was an analyst by training and made clear he was steeped in details of American foreign policy toward Europe, demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of Ukrainian politics and at least some knowledge of the law.
The whistle-blower’s expertise will likely add to lawmakers’ confidence about the merits of his complaint, and tamp down allegations that he might have misunderstood what he learned about Mr. Trump. He did not listen directly to a July call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine that is at the center of the political firestorm over the president’s mixing of diplomacy with personal political gain.
No need to worry about reliable facts or the actual law. Trust the Deep State and they will take care of it all.
Getting Dirt or Investigate Corruption?
We can thank Adam Schiff for one thing today, and that is making it crystal clear that he wants America to believe that what Trump was doing in the June 25 phone call was nothing more than to “make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of dirt, on this and on that.”
Except that is not what Trump asked Zelinskyy to do. The first thing Trump asks of Zelinskyy is to provide the information he has on 2016 election interference coming out of the Ukraine and help in locating the DNC server. None of that is aimed at the 2020 candidates, though progressives want to try and bootstrap that information into being viewed as illegitimate as well. Indeed, Schiff, in his statement, implies that all the information Trump asked for will be false and made up by the Ukraine.
Trump did raise Joe Biden’s outrageous abuse of power to shut down an investigation aimed at Hunter Biden. Here is precisely what Trump said:
Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. . . . The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.
Taking Trump’s words at face value, he asks for nothing other then to look into an incident that supposedly occurred, not to create dirt out of whole cloth. So is Joe Biden, who indeed has been quite open about extorting the Ukraine with American aid money, now immune from any investigation because it might in fact show him in a bad, possibly criminal, light as he is running for the highest office in the land? Is he above the law?
Part of the answer to that question rests on whether there indeed was an ongoing Ukrainian investigation that reached to Hunter Biden on the day when Joe extorted the then Ukrainian President to fire the Ukrainian prosecutor.
In March 2016, Joe Biden threatened to withhold IMF funding from Ukraine if officials did not fire Viktor Shokin, who was then serving as Ukraine’s Prosecutor General. At the time, Shokin’s office was overseeing an investigation into Burisma and its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky. According to Bloomberg’s source, Shokin’s investigation had been “shelved” in 2015, well before Biden’s intervention, and “[t]here was no pressure from anyone from the U.S. to close cases against Zlochevsky.” Various outlets seized on the report to dismiss coverage of the Biden scandal:
PolitiFact: “It’s not even clear that the company was actively under investigation”
Axios: “Ukrainian official knocks down Biden conflict scandal”
New York Magazine: “The investigation into Burisma was dead long before Biden started his campaign to oust Shokin”
Do read the whole article. It goes on to explain that the information was incorrect. That said, probably the definitive answer to the Hunter Biden question comes from investigative reporter John Solomon. His answer, based on hundred of documents and interviews, is yes, the investigation was quite active when Biden shut it down. (H/T Ace)
So the real question at issue is whether Joe Biden above the law. Because, as Andrew McCarthy points out today at NRO, to claim he should not be investigated seems the mother of all double standards.
What Laws Did Trump Violate In His Phone Call With President Zelinskyy?
By Joe Biden’s own admission, he extorted the Ukraine with American tax dollars. What he demanded and received benefited his son and prevented the Obama-Biden administration from being embarrassed. That certainly seems an act of corruption. If so, can asking a foreign power to continue what had been a valid investigation of corruption on its own soil constitute an impeachable offense?
In the IC IG letter linked at the top of this post (and, in an act of pure incompetence, composed by the IG IC without ever seeing or even asking to see the memorialization of the July 25 phone conversation), the IG IC laid out the supposed offenses that the President is alleged to have violated with his conduct:
Here, the Complainant’s Letter alleged, among other things, that the President of the United States, in a telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodyrnyr Zelenskyy on July 25, 2019, “sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the President’s 2020 reelection bid.” U.S. laws and regulations prohibit a foreign national, directly or indirectly, from making a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election. Similarly, U.S. laws and regulations prohibit a person from soliciting, accepting, or receiving such a contribution or donation from a foreign. national, directly or indirectly, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election. Further, in the ICIG’s judgment, alleged conduct by a senior U.S. public official to seek foreign assistance to interfere in or influence a Federal election would constitute a “serious or flagrant problem [or] abuse” under 50 U.S.C. § 3033 (k)(5)(G)(i), which would also potentially expose such a U.S. public official (or others acting in concert with the U.S. public official) to serious national security and counterintelligence risks with respect to foreign intelligence services aware of such alleged conduct.
I am having real trouble identifying how Trump could have violated any of those statutes based on the facts as we know them now. I will admit that I am not an expert in this area of the law and, if anyone can correct me, feel free. This is not a case of soliciting donations or offering bribes. This is not a case, unlike 2016, where there were alleged underlying crimes in which Trump was alleged to have conspired.
Information itself may be of value, but I do not know of any court case where obtaining foreign information was deemed a violation of the law. If that’s the case, lock up the DNC and Hillary for life after what they did in 2016, paying a Brit to get information from Russia and publish it a month before the election.
As Kevin Williamson points out, the threat to impeach Trump began in December, 2016, even before he came to office. His real impeachable offense, in the eyes of the left, was winning the election.
. . . Any president has a perfect right to tell a foreign head of state and recipient of major U.S. aid that his corruption-plagued country has played a destabilizing but still murky role in recent American elections and in scandals that have affected the American people, and in particular the current president of the United States — and that it would be a good thing to get to the bottom of it.
Americans, left and right, would like to know the exact nature of Ukrainian-Russian interference and the degree, if any, to which CrowdStrike played a role in the Clinton-email imbroglio and why CrowdStrike (which analyzed the server that the DNC refused to turn over to the FBI) was apparently exempt from FBI investigation.
That Biden is now a Democratic front-runner does not provide immunity or excuse the fact that he was vice president of the United States tasked with Ukrainian affairs when his problem-plagued son, without any energy or foreign-policy experience, made a great deal of money for apparently nothing more than lending his Biden name to benefit a corrupt Ukrainian-Russian-related company. Nor should we overlook that Joe Biden threatened to cut off U.S. aid — $1 billion — to Ukraine if it did not within six hours fire the too-curious prosecutor who was looking into the mess. And that prosecutor was fired. And that $1 billion in aid was not cut off. And Hunter Biden was no longer a target of any investigation. And he made a great deal of money. . . .
I agree with Hanson’s ultimate conclusion, that this will destroy Biden’s candidacy. And . . . it will do nothing more than strengthen Trump in the eyes of voters.
Alternate title: Ukraine, Donald Trump and Joe Biden — Quid Pro No
First, for all those of you deep in a dark fantasy of impeaching Trump, an oldie but a goodie
Watch. Recapture the excitement as you waited expectantly for impeachment to overturn the election results but a few months ago. This one has it all. Progressive politics as religion. An indictment of Trump for the high crime and misdemeanor of winning the 2016 election, of being the “worst” and, in addition, committing almost all forty of the fantasy crimes and wrongs articulated by the NYT that Bookworm addressed in her post yesterday. After you’re done with the sing-along, might I suggest a safe space and some My Little Pony coloring books. Hold on tight to your dreams.
For the rest of us . . .
President Trump this morning released the transcript of his phone call with President of Ukraine. The transcript of the entire conversation is below. A few comments on it first.
It appears that the DNC Server — the one that was hacked and set off the whole Trump-Russia mania — is in the Ukraine. This from the memo (emphasis mine):
The President:I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot. of things that went on, the whole situation .. I think you’re _surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it.
Holy smokes!!! What in the world is going on with that? This stinks to high heaven.
One of the most corrupt aspects of the entire Trump-Russia coup attempt was the FBI’s failure to secure and investigate the DNC server. You remember, of course, that the DNC claimed Russia hacked its server. The DNC based this claim upon a report from Crowdstrike, a computer analytic firm that Perkins Coie hired on the DNC’s behalf. Because the DNC refused to hand its serve to the FBI / DOJ, those agencies could only clutch to their collective breasts a redacted, draft version of the Crowdstrike report. It was this report, based upon a server they never analyzed, that the FBI / DOJ used as a foundation for the Trump investigation.
What’s staggering is that the above conversation strongly indicates that the DNC server, which the DNC refused to allow even the FBI or Special Counsel Robert Mueller to examine, is being stored outside U.S. borders and in the Ukraine. What the hell?
Further, it seems from what Trump said that people in the Ukraine were involved both in the hoax and in meddling with the 2016 campaign. That was news to me. I haven’t seen that information before, but here is the Washington Times today verifying it:
U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating Ukraine’s role in the 2016 FBI probe of President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, the Department of Justice confirmed Wednesday. . . .
“A Department of Justice team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is separately exploring the extent to which a number of countries, including Ukraine, played a role in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election,” DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement.
Ms. Kupec said Ukrainians who are not government officials have already volunteered information as part of the probe. She also said that Mr. Barr has not yet contacted the Ukrainian government over the investigation. . . .
A few points: One, this is starting to sound like a Tom Clancy novel. Two, it is no wonder that some people are near frantic to impeach Trump and short circuit the investigation into the Trump-Russia coup. Three, the MSM is studiously ignoring any part of the transcript Trump released that doesn’t deal directly with Biden. This means that the MSM’s audience, unless its members are curious enough to read the transcript themselves, will never know about the peculiar relationship between the DNC and Ukraine or about the missing DNC server that triggered the whole Russiagate hoax. So, for example, you get this from the NYT: Trump Asks Ukraine’s Leader to ‘Do Us a Favor’ and Also Urges Inquiry of Biden
Quid pro NO
Sorry, progressives, notwithstanding all your swamp fever dreams of impeachment, Trump did not propose a quid pro quo nor did he commit any wrongdoing vis-a-vis his phone conversation with Ukraine’s president. Biden predicated previously-agreed-upon financial aid to Ukraine by demanding at the last minute that Ukraine agree to fire the prosecutor general investigating his son. (“Nice little country you’ve got here. It would be a same if something happened to it.”) There is nothing in the transcript that sees Trump saying “I’m doing nothing for you unless you first do this for me.”
Nor did Trump propose aid in return for investigating Joe Biden’s corrupt act. It is apparent that, while Trump’s request for a follow-up investigation occurred in the context of other agreed-upon exchanges of goods and services (so to speak), none of these other arrangements were contingent upon Ukraine agreeing with Trump’s request.
Most importantly, perhaps, as to those things the President of the Ukraine indicated that he intended to investigate, the only promises he made to President Trump were to conduct open and fair investigations and to provide honest information.
Crazy Nancy has given in to the radical fringe of her party (as an aside, it was not long ago that she was the radical fringe) and is still trying to keep the dream alive. She issued this statement today, as slanderous as it was based on falsehoods:
The release of the notes of the call by the White House confirms that the President engaged in behavior that undermines the integrity of our elections, the dignity of the office he holds and our national security. The President has tried to make lawlessness a virtue in America and now is exporting it abroad.
“I respect the responsibility of the President to engage with foreign leaders as part of his job. It is not part of his job to use taxpayer money to shake down other countries for the benefit of his campaign. Either the President does not know the weight of his words or he does not care about ethics or his constitutional responsibilities.
“The transcript and the Justice Department’s acting in a rogue fashion in being complicit in the President’s lawlessness confirm the need for an impeachment inquiry. Clearly, the Congress must act. . . .
You decide how far out of touch with reality she is. This from the memo (emphasis mine):
The President:I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it There are a lot. of things that went on, the whole situation .. I think you’re _surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.
President Zelenskyy: Yes it is. very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. . . ., I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly .. That I can assure you.
The President:Good because I· heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. . . . The other thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.
President Zelenskyy: . . . The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case.
This is Biden’s Waterloo
Biden is already in trouble, running a moribund campaign and falling behind Sitting Bull in the latest national poll. This transcript turns the spotlight onto Biden’s corrupt act in the Ukraine, a topic that will be invoked endlessly as long as it is in the news. And it is just going to get worse when all of the China corruption involving Hunter Biden is forced into the mainstream. I can’t see how Biden survives it. And the real irony of it all is that the “whistleblower’s” lead attorney has donated to Biden.
Here is the memo of the conversation released today in it entirety:
Telephone Conversation with President
Zelenskyy of Ukraine
Pre·sident Zelenskyy of Ukraine
Notetakers: The White House Situation Room
July 25, 2019, 9:03 – 9:33 a.m. EDT
The President: Congratulations on a great victory. We all watched from the United States and you did a terrific.job. The way.you came from behind, -somebody who wasn’t given much of a chance, and you ended up winning easily. It’s a fantastic achievement. Congratulations.
President Zelenskyy: You· are absolutely right Mr. President. We did win big and we worked hard for this. We worked a lot but I would like to confess to you that I had an opportunity to learn from you. We used quite a few of your skills and knowledge and were able to use it as an example for our elections and yes it is true that these were unique elections. We were in a unique situation that we were able to achieve a unique success. I’m able to tell you the following: the first time, you· called me to congratulate me when I won my presidential election, and the second time you are now calling me when my party won the parliamentary election. I think I should run more often so you can call me more often and we can talk over the phone more often.
The President: [laughter] That’s a very good idea. I think your country is very happy about that.
President Zelenskyy: Well yes, to tell you the truth, we are trying to work hard because we wanted to drain the swamp here in our country. We brought in many many new people. Not the old politicians, not the typical politicians, because we want to have a new format and a new type of government. You are a great teacher for us and in that.
The President: Well it’s very nice of you to say that. I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk and I think it’s something that you should ·really ask them about. When I.was· speaking to Angela Merkel she talks Ukraine, but she doesn’t do anything. A lot of the European countries are the same way, so I think it’s something you want to look at but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine.
President Zelenskyy: Yes you are·absolutely right. Not only 100%, but actually 1000% and I can tell you the following; I did talk to Angela Merkel and I did meet with her. I also met and talked with Macron and I told them that they are not doing quite as much as they need to be doing on the issues with the sanctions. They are not enforcing the sanctions. They are not working as much as they should work for Ukraine. It turns out that even though logically, the European Union should be our biggest· partner but technically the United States is a much bigger partner than.the European Union and I’m very grateful to you for that because the United States is doing quite a lot for Ukraine. Much more than the European Union especially when we are talking about sanctions against the Russian Federation. I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United· States for defense purposes
The· President:I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it There are a lot. of things that went on, the whole situation .. I think you’re _surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.
President Zelenskyy: Yes it is. very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a President,-· it is very important and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to· open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United· States and Ukraine. For that purpose, I just recalled our ambassador from United States and he will be replaced by a very competent and very experienced ambassador who will work hard on making sure that our two nations are getting closer. I would also like and hope to see him having your trust and your confidence and have personal relations with you so we can cooperate even more so. I will. personally tell you that one· of my assistants· spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine. I just wanted to assure you once again that you have nobody but friends around us. I will make sure that I surround myself with the best and most experienced people. I also· wanted to tell you that we are friends. We are great friends and you Mr. President have friends in our country so we can continue our strategic partnership. I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition to that investigation, I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly .. That I can assure you ..
The President:Good because I· heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor bf New York Ci:ty, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States,· the woman was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.
President Zelenskyy: I wanted to tell ·you about the prosecutor. First of all I understand and I’m knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament; the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved, by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case. On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make· sure that we administer justice in our country with regard to the Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine as far as I recall her name was Ivanovich. It was great that you were the first one. who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree·with you 100%. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new President well enough.
The President: Well, she’ s going to go through some things. I will. have Mr. Giuliani.give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to· the bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it out. I heard the prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fair prosecutor so good luck with everything. Your economy is going to get better and better I predict. You have a lot· of assets. It’s a great country. I have many Ukrainian friends, their incredible ·people.
President Zelenskyy: I would like to tell you that I also have quite a few Ukrainian friends that live in the United States. Actually last time I traveled to the United States, I stayed in New York near Central Park and I stayed at the Trump Tower. I will talk to them and I hope to see them again in the future. I also wanted to thank you for your invitation to visit the United States, specifically Washington DC. On the other hand, I also wanted to ensure you that we will be very serious about the case and will work on the investigation. As to the economy, there is much potential for our two countries and one of the issues that is very important for Ukraine is energy independence. I believe we can be very successful and cooperating on energy independence with United States. We are already working on cooperation. We are buying American oil but I am very hopeful for a future meeting. We will have more time and more opportunities to discuss these opportunities· and get to know each other better. I would like to thank you very much for your support
The President: Good. Well, thank you very much and I appreciate that. I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to call. Thank you. Whenever you would like to come to the White House, feel free to call. Give us a date and we’ll work that out. I look forward to seeing you.
President Zelenskyy: Thank ·you very much. I would be very happy to come and would be happy to meet with you personally and I . . . get to know. you better. I am looking forward to our meeting arid I also would like to invite you to visit Ukraine and come to the city bf Kyiv which is a beautiful city. We have a beautiful country Which would welcome you. On the other hand, I believe that on September_l we will be in Poland and we can meet in Poland hopefully. After that, it might be a very good idea for you to travel to Ukraine. We can either take my plane and go to Ukraine or we can take your plane, which is probably much better than mine.
The President: Okay, we can work that out. I look forward to seeing you in Washington and maybe in· Poland because I think we are going to be there at that time.
President Zelenskyy: Thank you very much Mr. President.
The President: Congratulations on a fantastic job you’ve done. The whole world was watching. I’m not sure it was so much of an upset but congratulations.
President Zelenskyy: Thank you Mr. President bye-bye.