Monday, November 25, 2019

The huge hole in Donald Trump’s impeachment hearing

Moves to impeach Donald Trump have divided America, and one factor at the heart of the issue is set to decide what happens to the US president.

After two weeks of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump, there is a mountain of evidence that analysts say is now beyond dispute.

Trump explicitly ordered US government officials to work with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani on matters related to Ukraine, a country deeply dependent on Washington’s help to fend off Russian aggression.

The president pushed Ukraine to launch investigations into political rivals, leaning on a discredited conspiracy theory his own advisers disputed. And both American and Ukrainian officials feared Trump froze a much-needed package of military aid until Kiev announced it was launching those probes.

Those facts were confirmed by a dozen witnesses, mostly career government officials who have served both Democratic and Republican administrations. They relied on emails, text messages and contemporaneous notes to back up their recollections from the past year.

Stitched together, their hours of televised testimony paint a portrait of an American president willing to leverage his powerful office to push a foreign government for personal political help. That alone has many Democrats on the brink of voting to impeach Trump before the end of the year, potentially pushing towards a trial in the Senate.

Yet the witness accounts left one prominent hole that offered a lifeline for Trump and his Republican allies.

None of the witnesses could personally attest that Trump directly conditioned the release of $US400 million ($A589 million) in military aid on a Ukrainian announcement of investigations into former vice-president Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee.

Some Republicans suggested that even if that link could be made, it would not be enough for them to support impeaching Trump and removing him from office. And without that link, the president’s wall of support among GOP politicians seems formidable.



'Coup' Concerns Suddenly Don't Seem So Far-Fetched

For most of the last three years, Donald Trump's critics have scoffed at supposed "conspiracy theories" that claimed a "deep state" of bureaucrats were aborting the Trump presidency. We have been told the word "coup" is hyperbole that reveals the paranoid minds of Trump supporters.

Yet oddly, many people brag that they are proud members of a deep state and occasionally boast about the idea of a coup.

Recently, former acting CIA chief John McLaughlin proclaimed in a public forum, "Thank God for the deep state." Former CIA director John Brennan agreed and praised the "deep state people" for their opposition to Trump.

Far from denying the danger of an unelected careerist bureaucracy that seeks to overturn presidential policies, New York Times columnists have praised its efforts to nullify the Trump agenda.

On the first day of the impeachment inquiry, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff called his initial two witnesses, career State Department diplomats William Taylor, Jr. and George Kent. Far from providing damning evidence of criminal presidential behavior, Taylor and Kent mostly confined themselves to three topics: their own sterling resumes, their lack of any firsthand knowledge of incriminating Trump action, and their poorly hidden disgust with the manner and substance of Trump's foreign policy.

Oddly, both had little clue that their demeanor and thinly disguised self-importance were a perfect example of why Trump got elected -- to come up with new ideas antithetical to the conventional wisdom of unelected career bureaucrats.

Taylor and Kent announced that they are simply high-minded civil servants who serve the presidential administrations of both parties without bias.

But by nature, the huge federal bureaucracy counts on bigger government and more taxes to feed it. So naturally, the bureaucracy is usually more sympathetic to big-government progressives than to small-government conservatives.

Taylor and Kent cited their anguish with Trump's foreign policy toward Ukraine -- namely that it did not go through official channels and was too unsympathetic to Ukraine and too friendly to Russia. If so, one might have thought the anguished bureaucrats would have similarly gone public during the Obama administration.

After all, Vice President Joe Biden took over the Obama administration's Ukrainian policy at a time when his son Hunter was knee-deep in Ukrainian affairs. As a consultant for a Ukrainian natural gas company, Hunter Biden made a reported $80,000 a month without expertise in either the energy business in particular or Ukraine in general.

Also, Trump's policies have been more anti-Russian and pro-Ukrainian than those of the Obama administration. Trump armed the Ukrainians; Obama did not. Trump imposed new sanctions against Russia, used force against Russian mercenaries in Syria, beefed up NATO defenses, pulled the U.S. out an asymmetrical missile treaty with Russia, and pumped more oil and gas to lower world prices -- much to the chagrin of oil-exporting Russia.

In contrast, Obama was the architect of "reset" with Russia that reached its nadir in a hot mic exchange in which Obama offered a quid pro quo, vowing more flexibility on issues such as U.S.-sponsored missile defense in Eastern Europe in exchange for Russia giving Obama "space" to concentrate on his re-election.

Trump's critics have also radically changed their spin on "coups." To them, "coup" is no longer a dirty word trafficked in by right-wing conspiracists. Instead, it has been normalized as a possibly legitimate means of aborting the Trump presidency.

Mark Zaid, the attorney representing the Ukraine whistleblower, boasted in two recently discovered tweets of ongoing efforts to stage a coup to remove Trump.

"#coup has started. First of many steps. #rebellion. #impeachment will follow," Zaid tweeted in January 2017. Later the same month, he tweeted: "#coup has started. As one falls, two more will take their place."

Retired Admiral William H. McRaven recently wrote an op-ed for The New York Times all but calling for Trump's ouster -- "the sooner the better."

No sooner had Trump been elected than Rosa Brooks, a former Defense Department official during the Obama administration, wrote an essay for Foreign Policy magazine discussing theoretical ways to remove Trump before the 2020 election, among them a scenario involving a military coup.

In September 2018, The New York Times published an op-ed from an anonymous White House official who boasted of supposedly widescale efforts inside the Trump administration to nullify its operations and subvert presidential directives.

Such efforts to oppose Trump are often self-described as "The Resistance," a reference to the underground French fighters resisting the Nazis in World War II.

Trump's opponents often have praised the deep state precisely because unelected career officials are seen as the most effective way to sabotage and stymie his agenda.

A "coup" is no longer proof of right-wing paranoia, but increasingly a part of the general progressive discourse of resistance to Trump.

In these upside-down times, patriotism is being redefined as removing a president before a constitutionally-mandated election.



Billionaires fund left-wing ‘resisters’ and schemers to abolish the electoral college, same-day registration and oppose voter ID

For years, Democrats have argued that they will soon have a permanent majority due to the country’s demographic changes. However, liberal billionaires, like George Soros and John and Laura Arnold, are not content to wait. To speed things along, they support left-wing organizations that constantly scheme to find ways to undermine the integrity of our elections and boost Democrats’ chances of winning.

To begin with, Soros and the Arnolds support the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Brennan Center for Justice. The ACLU has a long and sordid history of proudly defending the indefensible. These days, it brags that it has sued the Trump Administration more than 100 times. The Brennan Center was founded by former clerks for liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan; the Center is now run by a senior official in the Clinton Administration. In the early days of the Trump Administration, the Center was recognized as part of the “Resistance Network.”

Both the ACLU and the Brennan Center oppose voter ID laws. While these left-wing organizations do everything they can to make it easier to commit voter fraud, a 2016 Gallup poll shows just how out-of-touch they are on voter ID laws. Gallup found that 80% of voters support ID laws, including 95% of Republicans, 63% of Democrats, 83% of independents, 81% of whites, and 77% of nonwhites. Furthermore, although the ACLU and the Brennan Center claim that voter ID laws disenfranchise minority voters, they disregard evidence that shows that these laws do not suppress minority voter turnout.

Of course, there is much more to these group’s agendas than just blocking voter ID laws. For example, the ACLU opposes efforts to clean up voter rolls that would reduce chances of voter fraud. Not to be outdone, the Brennan Center supports having at least two full weeks of early voting (including nights and weekends), allowing people to register and vote on the same day, and having the government automatically register voters.

Why is it that the ACLU is so desperate to ensure that voter rolls are filled with dead people and those registered in multiple states? Good government? Doubtful. What the ACLU refuses to recognize is that, while some efforts to maintain the integrity of our elections might inconvenience some voters from time to time, the broader voting public has a right to expect that the government is taking reasonable steps to ensure that only those eligible to vote are allowed to do so. After all, no in their right mind wants their vote cancelled out by a non-citizen or someone who votes twice.

Despite the Brennan Center’s claims, there is very little justification for weeks of early voting. If a voter cannot find any time to vote on Election Day during the 12 or so hours that polls are open and cannot submit an absentee ballot, many would reasonably conclude that that voter is not sufficiently motivated to vote. In addition, despite liberal groups’ advocacy for early voting, the evidence suggests early voting does not increase turnout – and could even result in lower turnout. Early voting does, however, increase work for county workers, increase costs for taxpayers, and increase work for volunteers handing out sample ballots to voters.

Soros and the Arnolds, along with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, support FairVote. FairVote is run by Rob Richie, a former campaign staffer for a liberal Democrat Congresswoman. FairVote supports same-day registration and voting, automatic voter registration, and even allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote.

All three of these organizations, the ACLU, the Brennan Center, and FairVote, support the National Popular Vote interstate compact. Under this scheme, states with 270 electoral votes would agree to cast their electoral votes for whichever candidate wins the popular vote regardless of whether that candidate actually won the states giving that candidate their votes. Although a number of states have signed on, this end-run around the Constitution may well be unconstitutional and could even spark a constitutional crisis.

When Soros and the Arnolds are not funding the abortion industry, trying to impose a carbon tax, or trying to erode your Second Amendment rights, they are trying to rig our elections. This is why we need more conservative donors and activists – as well as more cooperation between right-leaning organizations – to push back on these fronts.




NOTHING TO SEE HERE... Ukraine widens criminal investigation into Biden-connected Burisma (The Daily Wire)

SPEAKING OF CORRUPTION: DNA test of love child confirms Hunter Biden cheated on his dead brother's widow (PJ Media)

FEDS TOO SLOW TO RESPOND: Senate report: U.S. taxpayers have unwittingly funded China's economy and military for decades (The Daily Wire)

TIP OF THE ICEBERG: DOJ inspector general finds "numerous issues" with FBI management of secret sources (Washington Examiner)

RAINBOW MAFIA: Illinois school district gives transgender students unrestricted access to bathrooms (The Daily Signal)

MIND-BOGGLING: Children are being locked away, alone and terrified, in schools across Illinois. Often, it's against the law. (Chicago Tribune)

GOOD LUCK WITH THAT: Jussie Smollett files suit against Chicago for "malicious prosecution" (National Review)

POLICY: A pro-growth alternative to the Left's tax-hike agenda (The Daily Signal)

POLICY: Setting the record straight on the value of U.S. military aid to Ukraine (The Daily Signal)


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


No comments: