Schiff, Pelosi, Impeachment, Trump, Ukraine

Impeachment By Any Means

Unless you have been completely unaware of what’s happening in politics and the news cycle over the past three years the topic of impeachment should not be something new. Democrats and liberal media members have been making the case to impeach the President since before he was sworn into office. Now that they have control of the House of Representatives they may succeed in their attempts.

Since the Democrats do not control the Senate that potential victory would be in name only. It would have no impact on the President’s ability to continue fulfilling his elected duties. The victory would be used more as a weapon to help defeat him in the next election along with any other Republican running that supports him.

The process of impeachment is two-fold. First, the House has to have a majority vote in favor of impeachment. Think in terms of an attorney general bringing an indictment. Once that occurs it goes to the Senate for a trial. Both sides will plead their case and ultimately take a vote. Impeachment requires two-thirds of the Senate to vote in favor of removing the President. Presently, Republicans outnumber Democrats in the Senate 53-47. That would mean 20 Republican Senators would have to side with Democrats in their quest to remove Trump from office. Seeing as how 2020 is an election year and Trump is as popular as ever amongst his base, the chances of that happening are slim to none.

Trump also raised $125 million in the 3rd quarter for his parties’ reelection efforts. The cardinal rule of politics is money talks. Election campaigns are expensive. The 2016 Presidential election saw both parties spend a combined amount of over a Billion dollars. With Trump polling consistently at 49% +/- and his supporters backing up their support with small and large contributions, it’s hard to see how any Republican would vote in favor of impeachment. Doing so would upset a base that has overwhelming loyalty for the President and could mean huge losses for the Republican Party for many years to come.

The latest push to impeach the President is coming from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA 28th District). To say that he and Trump are not fans of each other would be an understatement. The two have been insulting each other with names that are fitting for elementary school. Neither is acting like an adult and both could benefit from a class on civility. For two years Schiff claimed he had indisputable evidence that he had seen first hand of Trump colluding with Russians during the 2016 election.

When the Mueller report was released earlier this year and showed no evidence that would lead to any indictments of collusion, let alone the President, Schiff remained undeterred with his desire to impeach the President. The obvious summarization was Schiff was overplaying his card and had no evidence to confirm collusion. That’s a polite way of saying he was full of it and was lying to the American people all along. Normal people would admit they were wrong and offer an apology. This is D.C. and politicians are far from normal. When a multi-year $40 million investigation doesn’t go their way it’s only a hiccup on the road to regaining power.

Time is running out and we are only 13 months away from the next election. With unemployment recently announced at a fifty-year low of 3.5%, it was crucial for the next impeachment effort to begin as soon as possible. What better way to rehash the Russian collusion theory than by using a second-hand whistleblower complaint and branding it as Ukrainian collusion against 2020 political opponent Joe Biden.

The complainant alleged they were privy to a private phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy this past July. While the media initially ran with the story and promoted it as someone having direct and first-hand knowledge it was quickly debunked and proven to be they had second or third-hand knowledge. Essentially, someone who was listening to the conversation leaked it to someone else who may or may not have been the person who ultimately filed the complaint.

At that moment Schiff and many other members of his party began demanding the White House declassify the conversation to confirm if the whistleblower’s complaint was true. Without having a transcript of the call, Schiff and Speaker Pelosi decided to begin the impeachment process. Some would say they made a calculated bet that Trump would not agree to release the transcript and could tell the American people he’s refusing to do so because he has something to hide.

The very next day, unbeknownst to Schiff or Pelosi, Trump declassified the conversation and released it to the entire world. The roughly 30-minute conversation was cordial and complimentary. The point of contention that many people claim is impeachable is whether or not Trump withheld $400 million in Ukrainian aid as a way to pressure the foreign government to investigate Biden and his son. Biden is seeking the Democratic nomination for president next year. Information that might be gained from his family ties to Ukrainian oil giant Burisma Holdings along with Biden’s self-described pressure to fire a prosecutor who was investigating that company while he was Vice President is at the center of this debate.

Trump claims he wants Ukraine to find out what happened in the past surrounding the 2016 election. Democrats claim he’s only doing that because he wants to ‘dig up dirt’ on a political opponent with the help of a foreign government. Depending on how you feel you can see both sides of this issue and concede both have some merit. When Schiff and fellow Democrats put pressure on foreign governments to assist in the Mueller investigation it was never promoted as digging up dirt. Seeing as how Trump’s request was for an investigation to be conducted for events that occurred during the same period, it seems like the standards have changed.

On July 22, 1998, in Kyiv, Ukraine, the United States, and Ukraine enacted the Treaty with Ukraine on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. This broad-ranging agreement assures cooperation from both countries with help in investigating any potential illegal activities. Seeing as how Ukraine assisted the U.S. to see if there was collusion during the 2016 election it makes sense that if asked they would agree to assist in the President’s request. For those who are unaware, Democrats sent a letter in 2018 to the Ukrainian government loosely threatening to cut off foreign aid to that country if they didn’t assist with the investigation against President Trump. For Schiff and members of his party to now claim the President’s temporary withholding of foreign aid unless they assist in his investigation against Biden’s activity in 2016 is impeachable is hypocritical and disingenuous at best.

Someone with direct and firsthand knowledge of the $400 million foreign aid disbursement delay to Ukraine is Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI). In a recent interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Johnson admitted Trump blocked his efforts to tell the Ukrainian president that foreign aid was on its way. 

“What happened in 2016? What happened in 2016? What was the truth about that?” Johnson said about Trump’s concerns.

Johnson said the call lasted 10 to 15 minutes and Trump said he was holding the money back because of corruption concerns.

“He was very consistent in why he hadn’t made that decision (to release the aid) yet,” Johnson said. “He said, ‘Ron, do you know how fricking corrupt that place is?’”

Trump said he hadn’t made a final decision, but he thought Johnson would like it when he reached it, Johnson said.

When Johnson met with Zelensky days later, the Ukrainian president asked about the U.S. aid, Johnson said.

“At no point in time did Zelensky ever mention or indicate that he was feeling pressure,” he said. “He was just concerned, he said, and by the way — far more important than the funding is just to show support.”

Johnson said he told Zelensky not to worry about the funding because there was unanimous support for it in Congress and lawmakers would make sure his country got it.

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut was also at the meeting. Johnson said Murphy told Zelensky not to work with Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney who has sought to dig up dirt on Biden in Ukraine. Murphy has given a similar account of his comments to Zelensky.

Johnson also felt there’s nothing wrong with a president asking foreign governments to provide information for U.S. investigations. 

The road to impeachment is highly divisive. The Constitution lists “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” as justification for the proceedings. The legal definition of treason is the offense of attempting to overthrow the government of one’s country or of assisting its enemies in war specifically. Trump is not guilty of that. When used as a noun, bribery is defined as the giving or offering of a bribe. Democrats are placing their impeachment hopes on the foreign aid delay and will frame it as a payoff to receive ‘dirt on a political opponent’. High crimes and misdemeanors can be vague. The only three Presidents to have been impeached in history are Johnson, Nixon, and Clinton. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives but acquitted by the Senate. Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached. With the balance of power split between the two parties, it’s highly probable that we will see history repeat itself. While the impeachment process is in itself highly political the attempts to remove this president are unprecedented. Never before have we seen such open hatred and disdain shown in a concerted effort by a political party and a fourth estate that overwhelmingly sides with them. With estimates of 90% negative coverage of Trump since he secured his party’s nomination, you would be hard-pressed to find any positive reports of the President’s accomplishments unless you followed a handful of media outlets. This obvious bias has promoted the narrative that Trump is the worst president in our countries history although any economic report would show the opposite. When impeachment by any means is the goal, news organizations that typically hid their liberal leanings for an image of impartiality have thrown that long-standing history by the wayside in favor of opinion first coverage. If honest and fair reporting is no longer the gold standard for ethical journalists, what does that say about our country as a whole? Texas Rep. Al Green (D) said in an interview that Trump had to be impeached, otherwise he would win again. If this latest impeachment push is to go forward it will be everything many on the left are hoping for and nothing the country needs.

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