First, Chairman Adam Schiff and the Democrats’ counsel, Daniel Goldman, have attempted to frame a dichotomy between President Trump and what they call “official” US foreign policy. It’s a false framework. Official policy is not, as they suggest, made by the so-called policy community (comprised mainly of the NSC, the State Department and government agents from the intelligence community and the armed services). The president makes American foreign policy.
The function of the policy community is to give the president its best advice and the benefit of its considerable knowledge and experience. But in our representative republic, policy is made by the only official who actually answers to the voters whose lives and interests are at stake — the president.
The Democrats’ theory is that it is misconduct for the president to depart from the policy priorities of unelected bureaucrats. That gets things backward. The president sets policy; the policy community is supposed to carry out the president’s policy. It is certainly possible that a president’s policy may be misguided or even improperly self-interested — and in that sense, it could be wrong. But cannot be regarded as wrong simply because the policy community disagrees.
Second, Democrats highlight the president’s reference, in the July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, to a conspiracy theory that Ukraine may have been complicit in the hacking of Democratic e-mail accounts. It is quite correct to contend, as they do, that there is no known support for this theory. It is also correct that US intelligence agencies and the Mueller investigation assessed that Russia was behind the hacking attacks.
From these correct premises, Democrats are drawing two false conclusions: (a) that there is no evidence of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election besides the discredited theory that Ukraine was behind the hacking; and (b) if Russia interfered in the 2016 election, Ukraine cannot have done so.
This is disingenuous.
There is significant evidence that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. Democrats want to suppress it because the interference was for the benefit of the Clinton campaign. For example, a Ukrainian court concluded in late 2018 that Ukrainian officials, including a parliamentarian and the anti-corruption police, interfered in the US election.
Ukrainian officials were responsible for leaks — in particular, a leak of a dubious ledger showing payments from the then-regime in Kyiv — that resulted in Paul Manafort’s being ousted from the Trump campaign. That incident became an important part of the Democrats’ discredited Trump-Russia collusion narrative.
Logically, moreover, there is no credible either-or understanding of Russian and Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. It is perfectly reasonable to believe both that Russia meddled by hacking Democratic e-mail accounts, and that Ukraine meddled by seeking to find and publicize information that would hurt Trump and help Hillary Clinton.
Third, the Democrats took pains to elicit from this morning’s witnesses that there was no evidence of either (a) corrupt activity in Ukraine by former Vice President Joe Biden in connection with the notoriously corrupt energy firm, Burisma, that was lavishly paying his son; or (b) Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.
They are plainly seeking to use this testimony (and similar testimony they have previously elicited) to argue that corruption allegations and claims of Ukrainian meddling have been disproved.
In point of fact, the witnesses who were asked to give this testimony later conceded they had no knowledge of the underlying facts.
In a judicial proceeding under evidentiary rules, witnesses would not be permitted to testify regarding matters as to which they have no personal knowledge and no basis in admissible evidence to render conclusions.
The fact that this testimony has been elicited in a congressional hearing that is adhering to no evidentiary rules does not make the testimony true, accurate or reliable.
To be clear, this is not to accuse the witnesses of lying. They simply should not be asked questions that they have no known basis to answer informatively.
If impeachment is all Democrats have, it won't be enough Illustration on Democrat desperation to undo Trump by Alexander Hunter Cal Thomas
If you are in need of more evidence as to why so many Americans are cynical about politics in general and Washington in particular (and isn’t current evidence sufficient?), you need look no further than the etymological shift taken by Democrats during the House impeachment hearings.
As The Washington Post first reported, the decision to replace “quid pro quo” with “bribery” when speaking of President Trump’s phone call to Ukraine’s president came from focus groups conducted in key battleground states. Among the questions asked of people was whether “quid pro quo,” “extortion” or “bribery” was the best description of the president’s alleged conduct. The groups found “bribery” to be the most descriptive and “damning.”
Armed with their talking points, Democrats at the House Intelligence Committee hearing, across the country and on TV programs, began using the word bribery. Listening to some of the montages compiled by conservative media is hilarious. It is straight out of “newspeak” in George Orwell’s novel “1984,” which the author said was “designed to diminish the range of thought.”
This represents the death rattle of a party once known for promoting big ideas. Last week, the stock market achieved another record high, the Dow Jones Industrial Average topping 28,000, fattening the savings of current and future retirees. While not everyone is invested in the market, when companies make money, they tend to hire more people. It is why unemployment is at record, or near record, lows and the number of employed at record highs. Anyone wanting a job can find one, if they are willing to accept an entry-level position and work hard to move up. Many companies offer education benefits to their employees.
Democrats are desperate to get rid of the president (though the Senate will never convict him), because one more term of prosperity, especially for minorities, who have mostly been tied to their party, could mean a shift in loyalty. If that shift in African-American voters from Democrat to Republican is even as small as 10 percent, Democrats would be doomed in 2020 and possibly beyond.
Success is a better and more motivating theme than envy, greed and entitlement, as promoted by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. The Wall Street Journal reported that under Ms. Warren’s Medicare for All scheme, some would be taxed above 100 percent and that her proposals are so grandiose her “wealth tax” would fall far short of paying for it all.
Given the poor stewardship of the federal government with the record amounts of tax dollars it already receives, why does anyone believe sending more money to Washington and placing additional tax penalties on successful people would suddenly mean politicians might become fiscally responsible?
If government is the solution, how much more money does it need to solve problems and why haven’t those problems been solved by now?
It’s all a sham and a scam. We hear the same rhetoric every four years, especially about the wealthy and successful needing to pay their “fair share.” Democrats never tell us what they mean by fair, but it appeals to the envy and class warfare their party promotes.
America is a land of opportunity, not guaranteed outcome. There are more opportunities than ever for a good education, good jobs and so many other things that make the country unique.
Republicans have the better message. What they need is a better and more courageous way of promoting it. Desperation worked for Democrats during the Great Depression, but they have been living off inertia for more than seven decades. Desperation is not a policy, especially at a time when America is better off than it has been in decades.
If impeachment is all Democrats have, it won’t be enough.
Rep. Adam Schiff’s, D-Calif., impeachment carnival enters a new week with a gaggle of hearsay witnesses offering endless speculation and opinion about an imaginary “quid pro quo” of non-corruption corruption.
Like the title of Herman Wouk’s 1965 comedic farce, “Don’t Stop the Carnival,” President Trump may hope that the impeachment idiocy continues in perpetuity. Or at least until we are well into the presidential election season next year. It will all but guarantee his continued residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Schiff, who serves as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and Grand Poobah of the impeachment circus, is strikingly reminiscent of Wouk’s fictional main character, Norman Paperman. His hapless antics are the stuff of slapstick and buffoonery. If it can go wrong, it will. No one seems to take poor Norman seriously. Except Norman.
And so it is with Schiff. He is obsessed, strident, self-righteous, and so blindingly dissolute that he cannot seem to recognize the slow-motion collapse of his dream to remove Trump from office. If Americans are paying attention to his hearings, it is for the same reason we tend to watch video of buildings imploding. Or train wrecks. There is something inexplicably compelling about disasters in the making.
There is exactly zero chance that the president will be evicted by the Senate from the Oval Office. Yet, there is near certainty that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her carnival barker, Schiff, will marshal together their partisan forces to impeach Trump. After all, impeachment was preconceived and preordained the moment Trump was elected. All that was required was some pretext. Any excuse, however spurious, would do.
For the longest time, Democrats and the complicit Trump-hating media were convinced that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would deliver them from their imagined evil. They waited eagerly for 22 months, all the while convicting the president in the court of public opinion with phony accusations and unverified stories on an almost daily basis.
Never mind that there was never any credible evidence of a criminal “collusion” conspiracy hatched by Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the bowels of the Kremlin. The Russia “witch hunt” persisted untethered to reality until the very moment Mueller’s report confirmed that it was all a hoax. Democrats and the media were apoplectic with grief and disbelief. They still are.
Since then, the seek-and-destroy Trump cabal has worked sedulously to invent some other ruse or artifice to rid themselves of their political nemesis. The Ukraine “witch hunt” is the inevitable sequel, only twice as preposterous. The allegedly incriminating evidence is no evidence at all.
The Diplomatic Coffee Klatch
Last week, the chattering class of diplomats took center stage in the carnival. Like a vacuous “coffee klatch” at Starbuck’s, they dispensed all manner of rumor and innuendo based on triple and quadruple hearsay – a guy told a guy who confided in me that the original guy “presumed” there was a "quid pro quo." That was Wednesday.
By Friday, the mind-numbing absurdity evolved into even more rank speculation as another diplomat, who admitted that she had no first-hand knowledge of the central issue, told her “boo-hoo” story of being fired as ambassador to Ukraine. If she had a serious complaint, she should have taken it to human resources, not a congressional impeachment inquisition. She readily confessed she knew nothing about bribery or “any criminal activity.”
Ranking Republican Devin Nunes, R-Calif., stated the obvious when he observed, “I’m not exactly sure what the ambassador is doing here today.” Good point.
It turns out that Marie Yovanovitch was sent back to Washington a full two months before Trump’s telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is at the center of the supposed “quid pro quo.” But that did not stop legal counsel for the Democrats from superimposing on the giant video screen the transcript of the call and asking Yovanovitch to offer her interpretation of its contents and what the president intended.
Yovanovitch is typical of the self-important people who inhabit our nation’s foreign service. For example, she testified, “The U.S. relationship with Ukraine is the single most important relationship.”
Seriously? These diplomats have convinced themselves that the universe revolves around them. They delude themselves into believing that they are the ones who dictate foreign policy, not the president.
If Trump dares to do something they don’t like, they seek to undermine him. They are the malignant force that inhabits our government.
This week there are eight more purported “witnesses” who will be riding the Schiff carnival carousel. They, too, will be spinning opinion and conjecture built on multiple hearsay. As witnesses, they are largely superfluous.
The Trump-Zelensky conversation needs no interpretation. With a transcript available for all to read, it speaks for itself. Nowhere is there a demand, threat, condition, or pressure of a “quid pro quo” linking U.S. military aid to an investigation of Joe Biden and his son. This was corroborated by statements issued from Zelensky.
One diplomat, Bill Taylor, did manage to offer something relevant and material when he told the committee that he had three meetings with the Ukrainian president following the phone call and the subject of a “quid pro quo” never came up. This constitutes strong evidence that it never existed to begin with.
Last week, Pelosi challenged Trump to testify at the carnival. Perhaps she thought it might make for a good sound bite.
On Monday, Trump tweeted a reply to “Nervous Nancy” that he might take her up on the offer to testify “about the phony Impeachment Witch Hunt.”
The media kicked into immediate overdrive and commenced salivating over the prospect. They fell for the trap. Or joke.
Trump has no intention of lending dignity to an undignified process. He was merely teasing or tweaking Pelosi, as he is wont to do.
But you can probably expect another tweet to follow in which the president will offer to testify if Schiff transforms his inquisition into a forum that respects both fundamental fairness and due process by allowing Republicans to call their own witnesses and permit full cross-examination of Democrat witnesses without being gaveled down.
Trump knows such an offer will be rejected promptly by Schiff. It would ruin the carnival. Republicans would call the faux “whistleblower” to testify, as well as Schiff himself. Their suspected “collusion” in composing the whistleblower complaint (which doesn’t actually qualify as a legitimate complaint under the law) might well implicate Schiff as the driving force who engineered the whole Ukraine hoax as a pretext to impeach Trump. The chairman would never risk being exposed with the truth.
You see, Schiff is a desperate man. It is a measure of his desperation that he read to Yovanovitch a tweet by Trump publicly criticizing her and then all but asked her if she felt intimidated. The answer was predictable.
Schiff then implied the tweet might be grounds for an article of impeachment for “witness intimidation.” Forget the fact that Schiff created the whole incident by informing the witness of the tweet, it still does not meet the “witness intimidation” requirements of a physical threat to a witness, bribing a witness, or coercing a witness to lie. But neither facts nor the law has ever prevented Schiff from inventing a good story.
As Brad Blakeman observed in a recent Fox News Opinion column, “Democrats are already looking for a way out of the impeachment” charade. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.Y., one of only two Democrats to vote against the current inquiry, lamented that “It is supposed to be bipartisan … it is supposed to be fair.” He and other members of his party know that Schiff’s machinations have demeaned the process.
However, it may be too late to reverse course and pump the breaks on the impeachment merry-go-round. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has told reporters that the Senate will never convict Trump on such flimsy non-evidence, but that a full-blown trial seems inexorable if the House votes to impeach.
Americans have a keen sense of fairness. Increasingly, they are coming to realize that Schiff’s clown show is the antithesis of an unbiased, equitable, and impartial proceeding. The longer it endures the more likely Democrats will suffer a severe political backlash that will, in the end, benefit the incumbent president.
For this reason, Trump may hope that the carnival never stops.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stands beside a chart during a newss conference following the back-to-back hearings with former special counsel Robert Mueller who testified about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) **FILE** Alex Swoyer
House Democrats are investigating whether President Trump lied to special counsel Robert Mueller, according to CNN.
The House chamber’s general counsel told a federal court Monday they are probing whether Mr. Trump was dishonest to the special counsel in his written answers that were handed over during the investigation into alleged Russian collusion during the 2016 presidential campaign and election interference.
“Did the President lie? Was the President not truthful in his responses to the Mueller investigation?” Douglas Letter, the House general counsel, reportedly said.
CNN reports the comments were made at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., in a legal fight over the House gaining access to Mr. Mueller’s grand jury material.
Last week, President Trump granted full pardons for Army First Lt. Clint Lorance and Army Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, who’d been accused of war crimes. Lorance had served six years of a 19-year sentence, and Golsteyn was facing trial for killing an alleged Taliban bombmaker. Navy SEAL Edward R. Gallagher, who was found not guilty of war crimes, but still had his rank reduced, was granted clemency and restoration of rank.
American soldiers join the military knowing they can be sent away from their families for long periods of time into unsafe conditions with the possibility they might never come back—or come back severely injured. For Trump to give various members of our military a second chance is infinitely less outrageous than acts of clemency made by his predecessor.
Barack Obama commuted the sentence of Bradley Manning (you may also know him as Chelsea), who leaked hundreds of thousands of sensitive documents to WikiLeaks. A traitor in every sense, in 2013 Manning was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison. But, Bradley Manning became a hero of the political left for declaring himself to be transgender, and Obama made his controversial commutation days before leaving office.
Obama also commuted the sentence of convicted terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera. Lopez Rivera was a leader of the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional Puertorriqueña (FALN), a Puerto Rican terrorist group responsible for 130 attacks in the United States, and at least six deaths. An unrepentant Lopez-Rivera was serving a 70-year sentence when Obama set him free.
While Obama may have granted clemency to plenty who deserved it, granting clemency to an unrepentant terrorist was nonsensical. Doing the same for a traitor responsible for the biggest national security breach in history sends the worst possible message. I think it’s clear that Trump has shown far better judgment so far than his predecessor.
No more games: How he came to be at ground zero will tell us whether this is a legitimate impeachment or political assassination. Media members gather at House Intelligence Committee impeachment hearing in the Longworth House Office Building on Wednesday November 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images) Peter Van Buren
As the latest public spectacle un-ironically displaces daytime soap operas, the picture is starting to become clearer. The people testifying aren’t there to save America. They are a group of neo-somethings inside the administration who disagreed with Trump’s Ukraine policy and decided to derail it.
It wasn’t likely that they meant for their plan to lead to impeachment when things began to move back in May, after then-ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was fired. Contrary to the president’s policy, she came with her own ideas, promoting confrontation with Russia over Ukraine and seeking more military aid. Bill Taylor was then installed as a figurehead in the embassy and Ukraine policy was taken away from hardliners at the State Department and NSC and handed over to America’s favorite knucklehead, Rudy Giuliani, and the inexperienced Trump appointee Gordon Sondland.
The bureaucracy called a Code Red. They were needed on that wall to stand against Russia. It seemed easy enough. Ukraine was off most of the public’s radar, so a few op-eds, maneuvers against Trump’s men, and a mini-coup over Ukraine policy would have worked just fine. John Bolton, who could have stepped in and told everyone to return to their seats or no snack time, was agog at the amateur efforts by Giuliani, and certainly no fan of a less robust Ukraine policy anyway.
Things got out of the group’s hands when Democrats, desperate for something to impeach on after Russiagate imploded, seized on the Ukraine controversy (the alternative was resurrecting the Stormy Daniels sleaze-fest.) An objection over policy and who would run it was transformed into a vague smatter of quid pro quo based on that July 25 phone call, using a whistleblower’s undergrad-level prank “complaint” as the trigger.
And that’s why the whistleblower is very relevant. He knows nothing first-hand (neither does anyone else, but someone had to go first). He is not anonymous; Google “who is the whistleblower” and you too can know everything official Washington and the media already knows about him. So no one needs to fret for his safety; no one needs to ask him any questions about the July 25 call.
Yet the whistleblower must be asked questions, starting with this one: how did this jump from policy disagreements among like-minded people (you, Vindman, Taylor, et al) to claims of an impeachable offense? Who engineered that jump? Was it Adam Schiff’s staffers who first met with you? (Schiff lied about that contact.) Or was it a partisan D.C. attorney who has been trolling Twitter since Trump’s election looking for someone to hand him raw material he’d lawyer into a smoking gun (an organization he is connected with had mobile billboards advertising for whistleblowers circling the White House, the Capitol, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the National Security Agency)?
The answer is very important. How the whistleblower came to be at the ground zero of electoral politics will tell us whether this is a legitimate impeachment or a political assassination. The voters will have to judge that in about a year independent of the partisan decisions taken in the House and Senate (I explained the weakness of the actual impeachment case here).
The popular impression is that men like the whistleblower, Bill Taylor, and Alex Vindman are non-partisan, and there is some truth to that. They came up through a system that strongly emphasized service to the president, whomever that is. But it would be equally wrong to claim that they are policy agnostic; in fact, they are quite the opposite. They see themselves as experts who know better. That’s why they were hired, and under Obama their advice (for better or worse, they wanted to bring us to war with Russia) was generally followed.
They knew the Orange Clown was wrong, and they talked and texted about it among themselves. That’s okay, normal even. But it appears they came to see Trump as not just wrong but dangerous. Add in some taint of self-interest on Trump’s part, and he became evil. They convinced themselves it was a matter of conscience, and wrapped their opposition in the flagged courage of a (created?) whistleblower. Certainly if one hadn’t existed, it would have been necessary to invent him.
With their televised testimony focused mostly on their disagreements with Trump’s Ukraine policy, and their own intellectual superiority, it seems such proclamations of conscience have more to do with what outcomes and policies the witnesses support and less to do with understanding that without an orderly system of government with a functioning chain of command, all is chaos.
The Trump-deranged public sector is overlooking the dark significance of serving officials undermining the elected president. They hate Trump so much that they are tolerating insubordination, even cheering it. That’ll bite America back soon enough. You don’t join government to do whatever you think is right; you serve under a chain of command. There is no Article 8 in the Constitution saying “but if you really disagree with the president it’s okay to just do what you want.”
I served 24 years in such a system, joining the State Department under Ronald Reagan and leaving during the Obama era. That splay of political ideologies had plenty in it that my colleagues and I disagreed with or even believed dangerous. Same for people in the military, who were told who to kill on America’s behalf, a more significant moral issue than a boorish phone call. But we also understood that the only way for America to function credibly was to follow the boss or resign, that we ultimately worked for those who did the electing.
So let’s hear from the whistleblower and all the witnesses about that—not their second-hand knowledge of Trump’s motivations, but their first-hand knowledge of their own.
Those who serve in government and the military are mostly decent people. Unlike in banana republics, they aren’t about to undermine the president for personal gain. But give them a crusade, tell them they are the heroes Mueller failed to be, and they will convince themselves anything is justified. Those impure motivations are what transformed the witnesses now driving impeachment from dissenters to insubordinates. Vindman gives it away, saying he twice “registered internal objections about how Mr. Trump and his inner circle were treating Ukraine” out of what he called a “sense of duty.” Duty to what? His own ideas on policy?
The not very anonymous whistleblower is only 33 years old, but of the mold. Ivy League, CIA, language guy, a Ukraine specialist who found himself and his knowledge embraced by Obama and Biden until he was cast aside by Trump. Taylor fancies himself the last honest man, shepherding U.S.-Ukrainian policy through rough waters, having been ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009. Yovanovitch was a partisan, representing her own vision, not that of the elected leadership, because she was sure she knew better after her years at State. Best and the brightest. They were professional, seasoned—look at their résumés! That uniform!
If they came to be whistleblowers honestly, then were simply side-slipped into becoming pawns, they should be quietly retired, this generation’s Colin Powells. But if they are agent provocateurs, they need to be fired. That’s why we need to talk to the whistleblower, to understand that difference.
If this was all just a hearing on bad policy planning, it would make interesting history. If this was a long-overdue review of U.S. relations with Ukraine, it would be welcome. But as an attempt to impeach the president, it is a sordid, empty, brazen political tactic hardly worthy of the term coup. It sets a terrible example of what we will tolerate from the bureaucracy. It opens the door to political opportunism, and informs real would-be plotters (and Washington is lousy with them) how to proceed more effectively. It signals chaos to our allies and opens opportunity to our enemies.
There’s a fine line between necessary dissent and wicked insubordination, between conscience and disobedience, but that line is there and it appears to have been crossed. The attack is no longer about policy, on which Taylor and Vindman may lay some claim; it is about the president, and only the voters should have that say.
Democracy, Paralyzed Government Suppression of the People’s Will Illustration by Greg Groesch
The Moody’s financial rating service has downgraded the United Kingdom’s credit outlook to “negative” because of what it calls “Brexit paralysis:” the paralytic effect Brexit has had in U.K. politics. The U.K.’s ruling elite has chosen not to do what the voters asked them to do and has been unable to do virtually anything else. Moody’s could do the same to the United States for a perfectly parallel set of reasons.
Since 2016, both nations’ systems of democratic government have been paralyzed intentionally by their ruling classes and by their broadcast, print and social media. In the U.K., those forces have chosen political paralysis over the voters’ decision to divorce their nation from the European Union. Their American counterparts have afflicted our nation to the same effect because we elected Donald Trump president.
As 2019 comes to an end and 2020 begins, it seems most likely that the results of 2016 will be repeated.
In 2016, then-U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron (who should have been embarrassed to call himself a conservative) finally set a date for a referendum on Brexit and set himself to campaign against leaving the European Union. He was supported by the other “Remainers” who populate Parliament and the British media. Despite his best efforts, Brexit was chosen by the voters. Mr. Cameron resigned and the hapless Theresa May — another “Remainer” — succeeded him.
Mrs. May negotiated a truly awful Brexit deal which would have left the U.K. under the EU’s control and without any authority to affect the EU’s policies. She tried three times to push that deal through the U.K. Parliament and lost each time. Parliament also voted down a no-deal Brexit and pretty much every other alternative. Hence, the paralysis.
Her successor, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, failed to push a slightly revised deal through Parliament and, after several setbacks, managed to get a general election set for Dec. 12.
Enter Nigel Farage, founder of the Brexit Party and probably the most interesting person in English-speaking politics. He created the Brexit Party out of thin air after an argument with the new leaders of his previous party, the pro-Brexit United Kingdom Independence Party. Suddenly, the Brexit Party’s poll numbers were about as high as the Conservatives’.
The U.K. Parliament has 650 members. On Nov. 11, Mr. Farage announced his decision that the Brexit Party would not contest the 317 seats won by the Conservatives in 2017. That means not only that Mr. Johnson will probably be re-elected, he may win by a large enough margin to form a powerful majority government that can push Brexit through quickly.
Mr. Farage’s action was shocking because he acted on principle, regardless of personal or party interests. He would rather get Brexit done, and done right, than benefit himself or his new party. He may not be Cincinnatus, but he’ll do.
In 2016, establishment politicians of both parties and prominent members of the media were comfortable with the probability that Hillary Clinton would win. The other half of the ruling class, the “deep state,” began creating an “insurance policy” in the form of an intelligence investigation, conducted in secret by the FBI and CIA, into a supposed conspiracy between Mr. Trump’s campaign and the Putin government in Russia to steal the election for Mr. Trump.
When Mrs. Clinton lost, that investigation morphed into an effort to remove Mr. Trump through the second iteration of the Russia collusion investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
But the Mueller investigation, too, failed to result in Mr. Trump’s removal, leaving the media aghast that the president might actually serve out his term. So now we have the impeachment proceedings against him which will probably result in his impeachment before Christmas.
While the Democrats and the “deep staters” drag us through round after round of attempts to oust Mr. Trump, we are as paralyzed as the U.K.
As a conservative, I usually rejoice when Congress is doing nothing because it means it’s not doing anything bad. For three years, essentially nothing other than Senate confirmation of judges and executive branch officials has happened.
In this case, the Democrats in Congress — meaning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her team — have blocked consideration of everything that could benefit Americans’ security and prosperity because it might look like Mr. Trump won a battle.
For example, think about big trade agreements, which are — second only to renaming post offices — the easiest things for Congress to approve. The U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement was signed on Nov. 30, 2018. It’s entirely uncontroversial but, for almost a year, Mrs. Pelosi has refused to call it up for a vote.
The bills that reach the House floor are those which represent the Dems’ agenda and some appropriations measures. The latter always contain “poison pills,” such as bars to funding Mr. Trump’s border wall, that have to be passed in order to avoid a government shutdown. That won’t change as long as the Dems control the House and Mr. Trump remains president.
In sum, two of the two oldest and most powerful democracies in the world have been paralyzed by their ruling elites and their media for the purpose of frustrating the will of the voters. How long that will continue will be decided on Dec. 12, 2019, and on Nov. 3, 2020.
Ratcliffe on IG report: Doesn't take 500 pages to say everything was done right
Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, said on Sunday that he believes the upcoming Inspector General report on the counterintelligence investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign is going to be damning evidence of wrongdoing by FBI and Justice Department officials and could lead to a full-fledged criminal investigation.
“It doesn’t take 500 pages to tell the inspector general that everything was done properly,” Ratcliffe said during an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.” “The IG report is going to find that there were problems.”
For more than a year and a half, Inspector General Michael Horowitz has been investigating alleged misconduct related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, warrants delivered by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). The Justice Department and FBI obtained warrants in 2016 to surveil Trump adviser Carter Page. It is unclear, at this point, if Page was the only Trump official that the DOJ obtained a FISA warrant against.
That highly anticipated report will likely spark new congressional investigations and deliver critical information to other federal reviews probing allegations of abuse by the Justice Department and the FBI.
Horowitz submitted in September a draft of his report to Attorney General Bill Barr, who was reviewing the document -- fueling the belief that the public release was coming soon.
President Trump -- who has the authority to declassify and release as much of the report as he wants -- has been hyping its forthcoming release. “The IG report is going to come out soon, and we’ll see what happens," the president told reporters last week, adding he's "waiting for the report like everybody else.”
“But I predict you will see things that you don’t even believe, the level of corruption — whether it’s [James] Comey; whether it’s [Peter] Strzok and his lover [Lisa] Page; whether it’s so many other people — [Andrew] McCabe; whether it’s President Obama himself,” Trump charged.
He added: “Let’s see whether or not it’s President Obama. Let’s see whether or not they put that in.”
Horowitz has been probing how the infamous and salacious anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele was used to secure the original FISA warrant for Page in October 2016, as well as three renewals.
Horowitz also has looked into why the FBI may have regarded Steele – funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign through law firm Perkins Coie – a credible source, and why the bureau used news reports to bolster Steele’s credibility before the FISA court.
The attorney general has also appointed U.S. Attorney from Connecticut John Durham to take on the probe to investigate possible misconduct by the intelligence community at the origins of the Russia investigation. Durham, who is known as a “hard-charging bulldog” prosecutor, was asked to help Barr “ensure that intelligence collection activities by the U.S. government related to the Trump 2016 presidential campaign were lawful and appropriate.” Durham also is probing whether Democrats were the ones who had improperly colluded with foreign actors.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.