Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that questioned acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire on Thursday, used parody, by his own admission, to begin the hearing. He imagined what President Donald Trump might have said during his July 25 telephone conversation with incoming Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Schiff made up all sorts of things for which there was no evidence.
He acknowledged that his disgraceful display was indeed parody, but he has yet to acknowledge that his closing Q&A with the DNI was actually an admission of what many of us have been arguing for years: the Obama administration, including Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, were involved in actions that were unethical, unpatriotic and in certain cases a violation of law.
What were those questions that Schiff asked of Maguire, the DNI, at the end of the hearing? Here are a couple of examples:
“I believe Mueller described such efforts to seek foreign assistance (in a U.S. presidential election) as unethical, unpatriotic and very possibly criminal. Would you agree with Director Mueller that to seek foreign assistance that way would be unethical, unpatriotic and very possibly a violation of law?”
“As a military man, if this military aid was withheld from an ally that is fighting off Putin’s Russia, and it was done so to be used as leverage to get dirt in a U.S. political campaign, don’t you think that should be investigated?”
Of course, Schiff was referring to Trump, and not to Biden and Hillary, which is proof of his double standard, hypocrisy and obvious partisanship. It has been shown repeatedly that the “favor” that Trump asked Zelensky for had to do with information regarding CrowdStrike, the company hired by the Democratic National Committee to do a forensic analysis of their server in 2016, rather than handing it over to the FBI. The favor Trump referred to was not for Zelensky to investigate Biden. And when Trump did bring up Biden, there was nothing about “manufacturing dirt” or the 2020 election, but rather to help in a possible investigation based on facts and evidence. Manufacturing dirt is what Hillary and the Democrats did in the form of the Steele Dossier.
Andy McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor writing for National Review, argues that “There is nothing wrong with our government’s requesting the assistance of foreign governments that have access to witnesses and evidence relevant to an ongoing Justice Department investigation.” The investigation he is referring to in this case is into the origins of Russiagate.
The added irony of the second question above is that the Obama/Biden administration refused to provide lethal military aid that Ukraine sought in order to defend itself against Russia, while the Trump administration has provided such aid, including rocket launchers, sniper rifles and anti-tank missiles. And now the left is outraged that Trump withheld some of that aid for a few months, though Zelensky wasn’t even aware that it was being held up until a month after the July 25th call, according to The New York Times.
Certain things are very clear and on the record, in fact, undisputed. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee paid approximately $12 million to the law firm of Perkins Coie, which hired Glenn Simpson’s opposition research firm, Fusion GPS, which in turn hired former British spy Christopher Steele to “manufacture dirt” based on unverified reports from Russians tied to the Putin regime for the purpose of affecting the outcome of a U.S. presidential election in 2016.
That manufactured dirt, known as the aforementioned Steele Dossier, characterized by then-FBI director James Comey as containing salacious and unverified charges, was circulated to hand-picked journalists and members of the Obama administration’s Intelligence Community, FBI, and Department of Justice. It was then used to obtain FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, without disclosing that the information in the dossier was unverified opposition research. The purpose was to create an allegation that candidate Trump conspired with Russia, to meddle in the election process to help him defeat Hillary Clinton. So far, no one has been charged for misrepresentations made to the FISA court.
Also clear and on the record: then-Vice President Biden bragged at a Council on Foreign Relations event that he had threatened to withhold a billion dollars in aid to Ukraine unless they fired their chief prosecutor. At that time the prosecutor was looking into corruption on the part of a state-owned natural gas company, Burisma, on which Biden’s son Hunter sat on the board of directors and was being handsomely paid. The fact that Biden claims there was no connection is not credible, whether one wants to look at the appearance of conflict of interest, or the reality of it. And either Biden or his son lied when referring to their having spoken about it. Hunter Biden said they had talked about it, and when Biden was asked this week, he said no, they had not. Hunter also benefitted through a business arrangement with China, while traveling with his dad, which even liberal publications such as The New Yorker found unseemly and disturbing, at a minimum.
The mantra in the media and among most Democrats is that the Biden story is a conspiracy theory that has been widely debunked or discredited, which is completely false, and that Trump’s words on the July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine were treasonous and must be answered with impeachment.
My view is that after flogging the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory for nearly three years, and coming up empty, the Democrats didn’t want another investigation to blow up on them, so they decided to roll out an impeachment inquiry before they saw the bulk of the evidence. They knew they could count on a corrupt establishment media to support them all the way. It was a matter of tossing out red meat to their increasingly frustrated far-left base. While Mueller concluded that Russia had meddled in our election, he “did not find that that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple efforts from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.” Democrats don’t want to hear that again, so they are ready to skip the investigation and move straight to impeachment.
Why couldn’t Pelosi wait another day to see the memorandum of Trump’s conversation with Zelensky and the so-called Whistleblower’s report? As the story advanced, it became clear that the individual was a leaker, with no first-hand knowledge of the conversation, who used the whistleblower process to produce his error-filled report, which many analysts believe was actually written by lawyers. The leaker was reported to be a CIA employee who was detailed to the White House and who specialized in Ukraine. It shouldn’t be hard to identify him or her. It so happens that the whistleblower’s law firm is one with past ties to Hillary Clinton, and which has been trolling for dirt on Trump.
No one truly knows where this will all end up. Impeachment? According to The New York Times, as of September 28, there are already 224 members of Congress, including 223 Democrats, who support an impeachment inquiry. A vote appears inevitable in the coming months. If they do successfully impeach, which is the equivalent of an indictment, is there any chance Trump will be convicted and removed by the Senate? Not likely. Will all of this inure to the benefit of Trump in next November’s election? Many of his supporters seem to think so. Will he even be the Republican nominee?
How will this affect the Democratic primaries? Does billionaire Tom Steyer become a factor? And who will win the House and Senate? And if Trump wins, can a president be impeached twice? If the race is close, and Trump wins, will there be a move to shame electors into voting against the winner in the election from their state? And what would happen if the result of the election depends on a recount over a few hundred vote margin in Florida, just like in 2000? The answers are unknowable at this point. There is a lot hanging on what happens over the next few months, and even more on what happens on November 3, 2020. Brace yourself.
The views expressed in CCNS member articles are not necessarily the views or positions of the entire CCNS. They are the views of the authors, who are members of the CCNS.