When it comes to Trump and Impeachment, with apologies to Mary McCarthy, every word the Washington Post writes is a lie, including “and” and “the.”
As a lawyer, when I receive a brief that argues to the judge that my client is lying about facts central to the matter at issue, I expect the brief to contain quotations from my client’s alleged lies, along with hard evidence proving that my client’s statements were, in fact, lies. It’s obvious that the so-called journalists at the Washington Post never attended law school – or at least, that’s the only conclusion one can draw judging by the “opinion masquerading as fact” article that it took two WaPo employees (Toluse Olorunnipa and Philip Rucker) to assemble on November 6: “Trump makes falsehoods central to impeachment defense as incriminating evidence mounts.”
What makes this overtly and covertly dishonest article less funny than it ought to be is that people who vote take it seriously. I know that such is the case because my usual cadre of Leftists on Facebook was very excited about the article, with three people sharing it to the enthusiastic applause of their friends in the comments section. I therefore thought that a good fisking was in order should you come across this piece of entirely fake news.
Before I start, it’s worth noting that the WaPo brought some big guns to this faux report. Here are their bios, which the WaPo included at the bottom of the article:
II. The Fisking
A. The WaPo is wrong that known testimony contradicts the phone call transcript
The article begins with its conclusions, all presented straight-faced as facts:
Standing before a crowd of supporters this week in Lexington, Ky., President Trump repeated a false claim he has made more than 100 times in the past six weeks: that a whistleblower from the intelligence community misrepresented a presidential phone call at the center of the impeachment inquiry that threatens his presidency.
“The whistleblower said lots of things that weren’t so good, folks. You’re going to find out,” Trump said Monday at a campaign rally. “These are very dishonest people.”
Behind him were men and women in “Read the Transcript” T-shirts — echoing through their apparel Trump’s attempt to recast an incriminating summary of his July 25 call with Ukraine’s president as a piece of exonerating evidence.
It’s a form of gaslighting that has become the central defense strategy for the president as he faces his greatest political threat yet. But the approach is coming under increasing strain as congressional Democrats release transcripts and prepare to hold public hearings presenting evidence that directly undercuts Trump’s claims.
Think about the above: What the WaPo is asserting is that contemporaneous documentary evidence of a phone call, one made in the presence of multiple witnesses, is of less evidentiary value than the later recollections and opinions of people who were not present during the phone call, including the so-called “whistleblower” himself (aka, a highly partisan Democrat Party operative).
Let’s back away from the WaPo’s conclusions and look at how the transcript compares to the subsequent testimony. We know that Tim Morrison, the outgoing senior director for European and Russian affairs on the NSC, was present during the call and confirms the transcript’s accuracy. He’s considered a Trump ally, though, so the WaPo would discount what he has to say.
Of more interest is the testimony from Alex Vindman (about whom more below). Vindman said that he quibbled with two parts in the transcript, which I’ll discuss right now.
According to the transcript, when it came to Biden, Trump stated:
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….
According to Vindman, instead of the ellipses, he wanted the transcript to add that Trump had more to say about Biden’s boasts:
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified that one example of his attempts to change the transcript was to include Trump telling Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky there were tapes of Biden, which The New York Times reported occurred where there’s an ellipsis in the transcript that was released. The change was not made.
To my mind, whether Trump says “Biden went around bragging” or he said “there’s video footage that Biden went around bragging” is a distinction without a difference. I think that Vindman’s version is slightly more damaging to Biden, but whatever….
Vindman also quibbled with the way the transcript referred to Hunter’s profiting in Ukraine, because he thought the transcript should state that Burisma was the company at issue. More specifically, the transcript has Zelenksyy say this (emphasis mine):
I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor. First of all I understand and am 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.
Vindman also said that he would have edited the transcript to specifically show that Zelensky mentioned Burisma — the company that hired Hunter Biden — rather than just “the company,” according to sources.
Again, when it comes to claiming that Trump committed impeachable offenses, the Burisma reference is a distinction without a difference. The important point is that Biden was caught on video proudly boasting about using taxpayer money to call off an investigation into malfeasance by his son (and incidentally the children of other Democrat party bigwigs).
What you need to take away here is that even Vindman, the much-vaunted, quibbler-in-uniform (who seems to have great disdain for his adopted country and its president), conceded that the transcript is accurate. How, then, can the WaPo contend that testimony challenges the transcript? I would contend that it does not.
The most amusing place to begin this analysis is to look at the testimony from William Taylor, the charge d’affairs of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. I like Sean Davis’s summary, which spells out with devastating clarity Taylor’s profound ignorance about the facts on the ground:
A key Democratic witness against Trump admitted in congressional testimony last month that he was not part of the July 25 phone call between the U.S. and Ukrainian presidents, that he didn’t see a transcript or readout of it until late September when it was declassified and released, and that he has never even spoken to President Donald Trump.
Taylor also testified that his knowledge of the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymr Zelensky wasn’t first-hand knowledge.
“And this isn’t firsthand. It’s not secondhand. It’s not thirdhand,” Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., said to Taylor. “But if I understand this correctly, you’re telling us that Tim Morrison told you that Ambassador Sondland told him that the president told Ambassador Sondland that Zelensky would have to open an investigation into Biden?”
“That’s correct,” Taylor admitted.
At this point, do we have to take seriously anything Taylor says? Like the great Sergeant Schultz, he knows nothing. He’s ignorant, partisan, and vindictive, which is scarcely a recommendation to take him seriously.
Nor do things get any better when it comes to Ambassador Sondland’s “revisions” to his testimony. Although Democrats are very excited about Sondland’s three page declaration it’s a factually anodyne document that tries to elevate feelings and impressions into facts. To step back a minute and give context to Sondland’s words, keep in mind that he initially said that he sent the “no quid pro quo” text to Taylor because the president told him there was no quid pro quo. That would seem to be definitive. Put another way, in real time and in response to suspiciously on the nose texts from Taylor (whom I suspect was already in contact with Schiff), Sondland insisted that there was “no quid pro quo” because the horse’s mouth (i.e., Trump) said there was no quid pro quo.
Sondland is now frightened, though, that he’ll get Flynned, so he’s trying to change his testimony without actually lying. To that end, a couple of days ago he released a declaration updating his testimony, ostensibly based upon his review of Taylor’s and Morrison’s testimony.
The media is spinning this declaration to say that Sondland admitted there was a quid pro quo. Except that’s not at all what Sondland says. Now, instead of talking about facts (“the president said no quid pro quo”), Sondland is talking about policy concerns, feelings, and presumptions:
2. *snip* Mr. Morrison recalls that I said to him in early September that resumption of U.S. aid to Ukraine might be conditioned on a public statement reopening the Burisma investigation.
3. In my October 17, 2019 prepared testimony and in my deposition, I made clear that I had understood sometime after our May 23, 2019, White House debriefing that scheduling a White House visit for President Zelensky was conditioned upon President Zelensky’s agreement to make a public anti-corruption statement.
4. With respect to the September 1, 2019, Warsaw meeting, the conversations described in Ambassador Taylor’s and Mr. Morrison’s opening statements have refreshed my recollection about conversations involving the suspension of U.S. aid, which had become public only days earlier. I always believed that suspending aid to Ukraine was ill-advised, although I did not know (and still do not know) when, why, or by whom the aid was suspended. However, by the beginning of September 2019, and in the absence of any credible explanation for the suspension of aid, I presumed that the aid suspension had become linked to the proposed anti-corruption statement. As I said in my prepared testimony, security aid to Ukraine was in our vital national interest and should not have been delayed for any reason. And it would have been natural for me to have voiced what I had presumed to Ambassador Taylor, Senator Johnson, the Ukrainians, and Mr. Morrison.
5. Also, I now do recall a conversation on September 1, 2019, in Warsaw with Mr. Yermak. This brief pull-aside conversation followed the larger meeting involving Vice President Pence and President Zelensky, in which President Zelenksy had raised the issue of the suspension of U.S. aid to Ukraine directly with Vice President Pence. After that large meeting, I now recall speaking individually with Mr. Yermak, where I said that resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks. ***
That’s a lot of wiggle words that end up saying very little. What can we glean from it? A lot, although none of it has to do with the phone call or an illegal quid pro quo of the type Biden described so proudly regarding his son and the Ukrainian prosecutor.
Back in May, Zelenskyy understood that, if he wanted to go to the White House, he had to agree to take a stand against Ukrainian corruption. We also learned that in September, long after the July 25 phone call for which we have a transcript, Sondland “presumed” that the temporarily suspended aid was tied to Zelenskyy taking a public stand against corruption.
Maybe I’m being excruciatingly stupid, but there’s nothing here about a quid, a pro, a quo, or any other extortion, explicit or implicit. There is a lot here, however, covering Sondland’s many assumptions and his policy disagreements with the fact that the Trump administration wanted to make sure he wasn’t sending American taxpayer dollars to a country rife with corruption. Deep State representatives may have found Trump’s principles disturbing; it’s doubtful that ordinary people would feel the same.
Just because it irks me, I want to comment on the fact that Sondland signs himself “The Honorable Gordon D. Sondland,” an honorific attached to his status as United States Ambassador to the European Union. I can say with perfect comfort that, having read his weaseling words, there’s nothing “honorable” about him.
Moreover, if this quisling, clueless coward is representative of the upper echelon people ostensibly working on America’s behalf, we are in very deep trouble. It appears that the Deep State is made up of equal parts morons and schemers.
I think that, while the WaPo makes no argument whatsoever, a very good argument can be made that the testimony that so excites Messrs. Olorunnipa and Rucker is both pathetic and uneventful. It certainly does not call into question either the transcript or the fact that Trump claims, correctly, that his acts were entirely consistent with the president’s constitutional powers.
Let’s move on to more of the WaPo’s fact-free accusations disguised as reporting:
That the whistleblower report essentially mirrors the set of facts that have since been revealed by a stream of documented evidence and sworn testimony has not stopped Trump from repeatedly claiming otherwise. He has also pushed other specious arguments in his harried attempt to counter the growing evidence from witnesses implicating his administration in a quid pro quo scheme linking military aid to Ukrainian investigations targeting Democrats.
Here’s a bit of WaPo gaslighting for you. The statement that the report “essentially mirrors the set of facts that have since been revealed by a stream of documented evidence and sworn testimony,” ignores an important fact: Schiff has been holding secret hearings in a basement in Congress, with Schiff only now slowly trickling out some of the transcripts. For the most part, the only testimony available has come from selected partisan leaks to the media. That’s a pretty shoddy foundation on which to build this argument.
B. The WaPo confuses policy differences with wrongdoing
The most significant thing to emerge, and something that the WaPo either ignores or doesn’t understand, is that the whistleblower’s complaints and the testimony supporting those complaints have at their core, not wrongful behavior on Trump’s part, but a disagreement with Trump’s policies. Remember how I mentioned above that I’d get back to Alex Vindman? I’m getting back to him now, for Brit Hume used Vindman to nail the real issue here:
What Hume understands, Vindman fails to grasp, and the media refuses to acknowledge is that, under the Constitution, the President, not the administrative state or the opposition political party, determines U.S. foreign policy. It’s true that, thanks to its power over the purse, Congress can affect the president’s policy and even treaties. We saw this illustrated in the most tragic way when a Democrat-controlled Congress refused to release funds to support South Vietnam in 1975 when the Viet Cong broke the cease fire. The result South Vietnam’s fall, something that happened in an incredibly brutal way and that left the country backwards and impoverished for decades.
Still, power of the purse notwithstanding, it is the president who deals with foreign governments and gets to decide what positions the U.S. will take vis-à-vis those governments – and then gets to hope Congress will fund those positions. In this case, of course, Congress had already funded Ukrainian foreign aid, leaving to the President’s discretion the time and way in which to dispense that money, subject only to a drop-dead date by which to give Ukraine the money. Trump met that deadline.
C. The WaPo repeatedly calls Trump’s opinions facts — and then says they’re lies
Here’s some more of the WaPo’s certitude as it advances nothing more than its own opinions:
Without evidence, Trump has claimed that his own administration officials who have complied with congressional subpoenas are “Never Trumpers.” He has recounted conversations in which senators deemed him “innocent,” only to have the lawmakers deny making the statements. He has dismissed polls that show growing support for impeachment as “fake,” while repeatedly claiming levels of Republican support that exceed anything that exists in public polling.
As we have seen repeatedly in mainstream media writing about President Trump, the WaPo is incapable of distinguishing between fact and opinion. Trump is well within his rights as an opinion-holder to characterize as “NeverTrumpers” those administration holdovers from the Obama era who are hostile to him. Whether they’re Democrats or RINOs, their positions are the same: They believe that any means, fair or foul, are justified when it comes to overturning the will of the People and ousting Trump from the White House without benefit of the upcoming 2020 election process.
I can’t address the claim about conversations with Senators, because I haven’t followed the details that closely. (See more on this below.) Perhaps you, my readers, can address that.
However, it’s laughable for the WaPo’s two august writers to claim that Trump is gaslighting anyone when he “has dismissed polls that show growing support for impeachment as ‘fake.’” A media that assured America right up until November 8 that polls showed that Hillary was a shoo-in for the White House should have humility when it comes to the polls.
We already know that push polls can manipulate information. And we already know that polls are perfect examples of the GIGO principle – garbage in, garbage out. And we also know the polls are responding to media leaks that deliberately leave out anything that runs counter to the Democrat narrative. Moreover, today, as as of the time I write this, we now know that the polls are showing growing American disgust with the impeachment process. So, who is gaslighting whom here?
D. The WaPo drags out partisan hacks and presents them, context-free, as impartial experts
Now that the WaPo’s hacks have temporarily exhausted their “opinions disguised as facts,” it’s time to haul out the “rabid partisan disguised as an expert”:
“I don’t know whether he believes all these things or he takes pleasure in inventing false narratives, but I think the most important thing here is that no president can sustain his hold on the public for long when he loses his credibility,” said Robert Dallek, a presidential historian.
Isn’t that sweet the way the authors present Robert Dallek as a mere presidential historian? So neutral. So academic.
In fact, Dallek is an extreme partisan who worshipped Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, and loathed Nixon. His much lauded biographies amount to hagiographies of the former two and attacks on Nixon. Dinesh D’Souza has identified Dallek as one of the biggest names in Progressive history – which is certainly an opinion, but he has also adduced some interesting facts to support that opinion. Here’s one of Dallek’s crime of omission:
And here’s another, regarding LBJ worship on the Left, just to give a couple of examples (emphasis mine):
Progressives know that LBJ, in his early career, was a bigot and a segregationist. He was part of the most racist wing of the Democratic Party. Yet progressives like Rauchway and his sidekick Kevin Kruse have turned LBJ into one of their great icons. In some respects, this is understandable. The Left, in recent decades, has distanced itself from Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson, who respectively were the founder of the Democratic Party and the first progressive Democratic president. The progressives need LBJ, just as they need FDR, if they are to have any heroes at all.
And, boy, has LBJ become a progressive cult hero! Antifa and Black Lives Matter activists wouldn’t dream of yanking down LBJ statues. That’s because the progressive narrative for LBJ is even more positive than it is for FDR, at least as far as race is concerned. LBJ was the “flawed giant,” in the title of a biography by historian Robert Dallek. Marshall Frady in the New York Review of Books affectionately calls him “the big guy” and revels in his “brawling, uncontainable aliveness,” his “galumphing conviviality.”
The story that Rauchway, Kruse, Dallek and other progressives tell about LBJ is a triumphant account of how a redneck white country boy underwent a moral transformation. To paraphrase Obama, the arc of his life bent toward justice. When he got the power, he used it for good.
So how does a Klansman change his spots and become a moral idealist without telling anyone? Moreover, it seems difficult to credit moral idealism to a manifestly dishonest man. Here my exhibit is LBJ’s 1965 address at Howard University, which progressives celebrate because in it LBJ makes a bold defense of affirmative action. “You do not take a man who, for years, has been hobbled by chains, liberate him, bring him to the starting line of a race saying ‘You are free to compete with all the others’ and still believe you have been fair . . . We seek not just freedom but opportunity; not just legal equity but human ability; not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and result.”
Impressive stuff, as far as it goes. But how far does it really go? The merits of LBJ’s argument have been debated ever since by the Left and the Right. But what typically goes unnoticed is that LBJ’s telling silence on why blacks were for so long hobbled by chains and also on who it was that hobbled them. Let’s recall that here we have a longtime Southern segregationist giving an account of the sins of segregation in the third person as if he were a mere observer, not a participant.
Even so, Dallek’s only comment about LBJ’s Howard address is that, in retrospect, it seems “excessively hopeful,” as if LBJ’s only problem is an excess of moral idealism.
In the mid-1960s, LBJ nominated African-American lawyer Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court. When an aide suggested to LBJ that there were other qualified black jurists he could have chosen, suggesting as an alternative possibility Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, LBJ responded, “The only two people who ever heard of Judge Higginbotham are you and his momma. When I appoint a nigger to the court, I want everyone to know he’s a nigger.”
This was in 1965, one year after LBJ helped secure the passage of the Civil Rights Act. The man he called a “nigger” was the nation’s most prominent African-American attorney who had argued the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case. Yet progressive historian Robert Dallek, who recounts this episode, interprets it in a way to minimize LBJ’s culpability. “Johnson’s pejorative language was partly his way of intimidating a new staff member or of showing how tough and demanding he was.”
For Dallek, Progressive presidents always get the benefit of the doubt; conservative presidents do not. In other words, Dallek’s expertise comes complete with a sharp Leftist axe to grind. That would be something useful to know in understanding what lies behind his allegedly impartial historian’s opinion about Trump and credibility.
Having introduced a partisan historian, the WaPo writers wrap up by introducing a partisan public policy “expert.” Just to give the context the WaPo writers ignore, even though the Annenberg Public Policy Center for which the next purported “expert” works was founded by a Republican, it’s now an openly Leftist institution.
Moreover, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, who is quoted, really needs to turn in her “expert” credentials, for she was one of the Russia Hoax promoters. It’s not clear whether she’s stupid or credulous, but she’s certainly partisan. No wonder the WaPo looked to her for help:
Trump’s repetitive use of false claims represents an attempt to immunize himself from impeachment by seeding favorable information in the minds of the public, even when that information is incorrect, said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center.
“We know from work in social psychology that repeated exposure to a claim increases the likelihood that you think it’s accurate,” she said. “As you hear or read something repeatedly, you are more likely to think it’s accurate even if faced with evidence that it’s not.”
Again, please keep in mind as you read the above two paragraphs that Olorunnipa and Rucker preceded them – that is, laid the predicate for Jamieson’s *ahem* “expert” opinion by inundating the reader with an endless flow of the journalists’ own opinions, without any anchoring facts.
E. The WaPo is incapable of distinguishing between opinion and puffery on the one hand (Trump’s hand) and substantive lies on the other hand (Obama’s hand)
To wrap up their proof that Trump is generally a bad man, the WaPo’s crack reporters fall back on the extraordinary statement, one that’s a repeated trope in Leftist circles, that Trump has made “13,000 false and misleading claims”:
While Trump has made more than 13,000 false and misleading claims since he became president, his attempts to distort reality have crashed headlong into a fast-moving impeachment process that has secured damaging testimony from several Trump administration officials who have contradicted him under oath.
If one takes the time to look at those allegedly false and misleading claims, one finds that they fall almost entirely into two categories: personal opinion and puffery. Here’s a little secret: One’s opinion cannot be a lie. Only facts are lies. That’s the difference between subjective and objective.
Additionally, puffery is a recognized brand of speech that assumes an audience capable of distinguishing the puff from the truth. When a manufacturer advertises that “we make the best toilet paper ever,” consumers know that this is not an objective metric but is instead a glamorized opinion. Consumers are smarter than Leftists.
And yes, I’m sure that among those 13,000 claims are some genuine lies. But what I’ve seen is that Trump doesn’t lie about the big things and he doesn’t lie to the American people. The media’s ferocity regarding his fibs and puffery stands in stark contrast to its loving ignorance about the really big lies.
We all remember Bill Clinton’s finger-wagging “I did not have sex with that woman.”
And then, of course, there’s Obama: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” “If you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under this plan is the amount of money you will spend on premiums. That will be less.” “More young black men languish in prison than attend colleges and universities across America.” “The day after Benghazi happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism.” “I didn’t call the Islamic State a ‘JV’ team.” “I didn’t set a red line.”
Not only was each of the above statements a lie, each was a substantive lie meant to mislead the public about profound issues and, moreover, a lie that invariably came with serious political ramifications. When Trump says his rally is the biggest ever or that America is the greatest nation in the history of the world, those are sales pitches, not policy lies.
As I said above, so far as I know, Trump has not told any substantive lies with serious political ramifications. He’s boasted and blustered to the American people and given his opinion or spin as to facts that can yield to multiple interpretations, but only Leftists take his bluster seriously. Salena Zito nailed it when she said, “When he makes claims like this, the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”
F. The WaPo strains to identify a quid pro quo where none exists
But wait, as the old ads said. There’s more!
Since Democrats began their impeachment inquiry in September, Trump’s most consistent defense has been the false assertion that the whistleblower complaint “bears no resemblance” to his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. Trump has referred to the whistleblower’s allegations as “false,” “fraudulent,” “wrong,” “incorrect,” “so bad,” “very inaccurate,” and “phony.”
But the whistleblower’s account — which documented how Trump pressed Zelensky to work with Attorney General William P. Barr and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter — has been corroborated by the reconstructed transcript released by the White House. Witness testimony has also backed up most of the whistleblower report’s main conclusions, including that White House lawyers sought to “lock down” records of the call by moving them into a highly classified system.
Once again, the WaPo’s top team of reporters – two of whom were required to work on this piece of recycled opinions masquerading as news – confuse their opinion with facts. If one reads the actual transcript, it’s manifest that (a) Trump never explicitly says “if you want U.S. money you must investigate Biden Sr. or Jr.” or anything else of that nature and (b) to the extent Trump has a favor to ask it’s conditioned on Ukraine’s knowledge, not America’s money: “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.”
The favor he asks is for the new Ukraine government to look into the origin of the Russia collusion hoax. That’s not a prospective investigation into the 2020 election but is, instead, a retrospective investigation about something that roiled American politics for three years. It’s a perfectly reasonable request, especially given Mueller’s reluctant admission that Trump did not collude with Russia.
Trump’s mention of the Bidens happens several hundred words later when, almost as a throwaway statement about prosecutorial problems, Trump says essentially says, “By the way, in connection with the prosecutor, you may as well check out the thing with Trump’s son.” Ironically, had Vindman had his way and the transcript had included references to Biden’s boastful video, it would have been more apparent that the investigation started with Biden’s boasting, rather than Trump’s animus.
It also needs to be said again and again that there’s nothing wrong with checking whether Biden committed a crime. After all, Biden sang about his actions in a high soprano that the people in the rafters could hear.
Moreover, running for the presidency cannot be a barrier to investigating past criminal behavior. If that were so, every criminal in America could foreclose investigation by announcing a presidential run. We’ll have tens of thousands of Pat Paulsens, all of them perennial presidential candidates.
G. The WaPo mendaciously hides Schiff’s role in all this
As one continues to read down the article, one does get to an actual quotation from Trump, one that the WaPo authors assure us is a lie:
In his repeated claims disputing the accuracy of the whistleblower’s account, Trump has only rarely gone into detail to say what he considered inaccurate. Trump has misquoted the report each time he has attempted to provide evidence of the whistleblower’s alleged errors.
“The whistleblower said ‘quid pro quo’ eight times,” Trump said last month. “It was a little off — no times.”
The whistleblower report did not make any references to “quid pro quo,” let alone eight.
Technically, it’s true that the whistleblower report didn’t make eight references to “quid pro quos.” Someone else’s report did though (emphasis mine):
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.
Trump fully understands that the whistleblower is a Schiff stooge – especially because it’s clear now that the whistleblower (probably Eric Ciaramella) worked with Schiff’s office before filing his hearsay accusations — accusations, moreover, that substantively do nothing more than accuse Trump of engaging in a Ukraine policy with which Ciaramella did not agree. As he no doubt intended, Schiff’s interpretation is the one that has stuck in the public mind, in part because Schiff probably wrote the whistleblower complaint and in part because the whole fake impeachment inquiry is Schiff’s baby, so he’s pushing the narrative.
H. The WaPo pretends that NeverTrumpers are impartial witnesses
After delicately pushing out there something that reflects badly on Schiff, not Trump, the WaPo writers retreat back to recounting other people’s insults against Trump:
Trump’s willingness to repeatedly mislead the public represents an attempt to protect himself by creating doubt about the fundamental nature of truth, said Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee.
“One thing we’ve all noticed with Trump is he knows how to strategically create confusion,” he said. “To go on the record with a baldfaced lie, it doesn’t matter whether you fact-check him in real time, it doesn’t matter if there’s a hue and cry afterwards, his calculation is that there’s enough confusion that you don’t know what’s true and what isn’t.”
Yes, Steele once was a Republican Party leader. However, he seamlessly transitioned from a RINO to a NeverTrumper.
What the WaPo won’t acknowledge, but we all know is true, is that there is no gap whatsoever in the animus NeverTrumpers have for Trump and the animus that Democrats have for him. Indeed, looking NeverTrumpers such as Jennifer Rubin, Jonah Goldberg, Bill Kristol, and Max Boot, it’s questionable whether they were ever conservative at all.
The RINO NeverTrump’s hatred for the President is so pathological that these people have overturned every ostensibly conservative position they ever held. In retrospect, it’s become clear that they were carpetbaggers who saw career opportunities on the right, as opposed to being principled conservatives. When someone came to power willing to put into action the conservative principles they once espoused, they jumped the cruise ship so fast they created explosions in the water that looked like geysers going off.
I. The WaPo does assert some things that I know nothing about, one way or another
We now come to the only part of the article that may be true. As I mentioned above, I haven’t paid any attention whatsoever to Trump’s back and forth with Senators in his own party (many of whom are RINO-esque and resent Trump’s uncouth manners storming into the GOP’s genteel surroundings):
Trump has also sought to draw other Republicans into his truth-defying defenses, drawing rare pushback from lawmakers who disputed his accounts of their conversations.
Last month, Trump quoted conversations with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), claiming that both lawmakers deemed his conduct with Ukraine “innocent.”
“I read Mitch McConnell’s statement yesterday, and he read my phone call. And, as you know, he put out a statement that said that was the most innocent phone call he’s read,” Trump told reporters last month. “And I spoke to him about it, too. He read my phone call with the President of Ukraine. Mitch McConnell — he said, ‘That was the most innocent phone call that I’ve read.’ ”
McConnell never released such a statement, and when asked about Trump’s claim, said, “We’ve not had any conversations on that subject.” Asked if the president was lying, McConnell responded, “You’d have to ask him.”
Trump also claimed that Scott made a statement saying that “the president is innocent. Forget about due process. He’s innocent.”
Scott, when asked if he had said what Trump claimed he had, said “yeah, no,” disputing the claim that he did not care about due process. He did say, for the first time publicly, that he considered Trump “innocent of an impeachable offense.”
Let me repeat: I have no idea about the truth of the above. Trump either confused McConnell and Scott with others Senators to whom he spoke; let his hopes exceed the moment; or was telling the truth, with McConnell and Scott lying as they waited to see which way the wind was blowing. Again, if you guys have more information, let me know.
J. A small and refreshing break for a view from the other side
Finally, buried deep into the article, we get a word from someone who has something positive to offer about Trump’s presidency:
Trump’s defenders say his unorthodox style is what allowed him to connect with voters and win the presidency three years ago. Many dismiss hand-wringing over the accuracy of Trump’s statements as a sign of Washington’s disconnectedness from average voters.
“This is another case in American politics of those on each side taking the same written words and reaching their own conclusions,” said Ed Brookover, a Republican strategist and former Trump campaign adviser. “Just as with the so-called Russian collusion case, you’re going to find a whole lot of nothing here again. . . . When the president says, ‘Here we go again,’ it’s a very believable message.”
Brookover is correct. Trump and his supporters have complete and absolute disdain for the disgusting politics of the Republicrat Deep State.
K. The WaPo inserts a big lie in a small throwaway sentence
Truth can be scary, so the WaPo retreats again to lies:
Public polling has shown steadily increasing support for the Democratic-led impeachment probe into whether Trump abused his power for personal and political gain. Officials from the State Department and White House have provided sworn testimony describing the Trump administration’s attempt to secure political investigations by the government in Ukraine while the president withheld almost $400 million in congressionally approved military aid and the chance for a visit with Zelensky.
Uh . . . wrong! As mentioned in my fisking above, the public is increasingly disgusted with the Democrat-led kangaroo court. Also, and more importantly, there’s a terrible lie by implication in that last quoted sentence about the funds being withheld.
The original accusation against Trump, the one that jump-started this Ukraine hoax, was that Trump told Zelenskyy during the phone call to “investigate Biden or you get no money.”
We now know that (a) to the extent those around Trump were talking about delaying releasing the money the issue was generally about cracking down on corruption in Ukraine and (b) that Zelenskyy had no idea on July 25 that Trump had any intention of withholding money from his country. The sentence as written, however, makes it appear that people who talked to people who talked to people are now stating with certainty that Trump said directly to Zelenskyy that, unless he investigated Biden, he would never see either the money or the inside of the White House – and that’s a bold-faced lie.
L. And then there’s just the mean-spirited stupidity
Lewis Carroll would have recognized this toxic blend of ambition, distraction, uglification, and derision in the next couple of paragraphs:
Trump has dismissed the unfavorable poll numbers as “fake,” claiming on Saturday that he had “the real polls.” Trump has tweeted several times that he has 95 percent support within the Republican Party, an inflated number that far exceeds the 74 percent figure in the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. No other public polling has shown Trump’s GOP support at 95 percent.
But the president’s varying assertions have had trouble gaining a foothold amid mounting incriminating information from the impeachment probe, which has begun to enter a more public-facing phase.
Trump is correct that the public does not support this Democrat farce. And as noted above, there is no incriminating information. The transcript is what it is, and the ugly people swirling around have been forced to concede that the transcript is fundamentally accurate, that Trump never mentioned a quid pro quo, and that to the extent they made contrary claims, they have no first hand or even second hand knowledge (something true for whistleblower Ciaramella too).
When it comes to the following three paragraphs, I’ve already discussed what Sondland said. Neither his testimony nor his declaration reveal a quid pro quo. Instead, he was engaged in a weaselly attempt to ingratiate himself with the Democrats, without going so far as to tell a lie. It means nothing, and any spin the WaPo reporters put on it to the contrary is a lie:
On Tuesday, Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, acknowledged telling one of Zelensky’s advisers that resumption of U.S. aid was tied to anti-corruption investigations that would target Democrats.
The acknowledgment in a deposition released Tuesday was a reversal from his earlier testimony, which Trump had previously cited in an attempt defend himself from charges of a quid pro quo.
The testimony from Sondland, a Trump donor and political appointee, could be more difficult for the president to dismiss than the allegations of several other Trump administration officials who have also described a political quid pro quo.
The following paragraphs are profoundly stupid:
Trump has claimed without evidence that those officials were “Never Trumpers” peddling false accusations.
It’s part of a strategy to paint all incriminating information as emanating from biased sources, Jamieson said.
“If you can construct the world that anybody who says anything negative about the president is a venal partisan, you never have to get into any of the evidence because you distort the evidence and discredit the source of it,” she said. “That’s what Donald Trump does.”
Think about it for a minute: What evidence do you need to prove someone is a NeverTrumper other than the fact that they clearly hate your guts, and are willing to lie and prevaricate to force you out of office through undemocratic means against the will of the voters.
The entire WaPo article is a farce – but again, not a funny one, because it’s intended to use unfounded accusations, slick lies through omission and prevarication, and malicious opinion to destroy a president over a completely constitutional use of his power in foreign policy matters.
As you probably know by now, Eric Ciaramella’s attorney, Mark Zaid, tweeted shortly after Trump’s inauguration that the “#coup has started.” He was right. This is a coup, it had started, and we are still seeing it play out in real time.
If the Democrat Borg, which includes politicians and media figures, can effectuate this coup, America as a democratic republic is over. The great and wonderful experiment will end with America as a failed state, going the way of Mexico or any other disastrous regime around the world, both past and present.
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