Initially, the story of Trump’s call with the President of Ukraine and the entire quid pro quo impeachment argument Dems were making sounded overblown. The whistleblower, with only second and third hand accounts of the call, bolstered my opinion that the Dem allegations were totally hyped out of proportion, especially when Trump released a transcript of the call he asserted was a verbatim transcript of his “perfect call” and insisting he was being unfairly accused.
Over the past week my view has shifted and I suspect that Giuliani’s questionable actions operating as Trump’s personal sleuth in Ukraine will bring to light more damaging information that will aid the Democrats impeachment push. The way Adam Schiff has conducted these “impeachment inquiry” hearings in secret, avoiding producing the whistleblower and revelations that Schiff’s staff met with the whistleblower and likely helped in the production of the whistleblower’s complaint still work to discredit the process, but it’s also becoming increasingly clear there’s probably a good deal more damaging information that’s going to pour out in this impeachment effort.
The hearing witnesses who received the heaviest spin smear hits by Trump and his spin commandos, Bill Taylor, Trump’s chargé d’affaires for Ukraine/former ambassador to Ukraine and LTC Alexander Vindman, also seem to be the witnesses whose testimony blew massive holes in Trump’s “perfect call” assertion. The Trumper attacks on Taylor were awful, but the attacks on Vindman, accusing him of dual loyalty crossed a line for me. Trump and his minions are as vile as the worst Clinton spin monsters and Adam Schiff, one of the most dishonest characters in Congress.
Andrew McCarthy at National Review stated the obvious:
“President Trump and his defenders have insisted that there was no quid pro quo. Since there is virtually always a quid pro quo, we must assume that, generally, they mean there was no improper quid pro quo. I say “generally” because some actually do posit a legal claim that there was no quid pro quo at all. Ukraine, these Trump supporters say, was unaware that defense aid was being withheld; such awareness, they reason, is the sine qua non of a “quo,” without which there can be no corrupt “quid.” This argument is factually infirm and, in any event, misconstrues impeachment. I will come to that momentarily.
First, though, the critical point: The winning argument on behalf of the president is that what happened here is not an impeachable offense. It is untenable to insist that there was no quid pro quo — just as it is outlandish for the president to claim that his July 25 conversation with President Zelensky was “perfect,” an impossible standard to meet in human endeavors. To stake out an untenable position is a self-defeating strategy in public controversies.”
Jonah Goldberg, a conservative pundit on the Trump-pundit’s “most reviled Never Trumper human scum” list, stated a growing realization that’s becoming obvious too:
“Trump and his defenders are still pounding on outdated, unpersuasive, or irrelevant talking points. They rail about the identity and motives of the whistleblower who first aired these allegations, even though the whistleblower’s report has been largely corroborated by others. They claim that the process of the Democratic inquiry in the House is unconstitutional, which is ridiculous. They insist that hearings where Republicans can cross-examine witnesses are a “star chamber” or reminiscent of secret Soviet trials. Also ridiculous.
Republican complaints about the heavy-handed tactics of the Democrats have some merit, but they’ll be rendered moot when the Democrats move to public hearings or to a Senate trial. And when that happens, claims that the call was “perfect” and that there was no quid pro quo will evaporate in the face of the facts.
Goldberg mentioned that the apology is what helped Bill Clinton survive impeachment without being removed from office and it allowed Democrats a path to credibility convince the American people that the president regretted his misdeeds and it was time for the country to move on.
At some point the original whistleblower’s motives and credibility and Schiff’s corrupt machinations become irrelevant in the face of growing witness testimony and evidence that Trump is lying about his “perfect call” transcript, which now appears to be neither “perfect” nor “verbatim,” but is a sanitized version of the call produced by some White House staffers, not by great stenographers.
The little bit of the Vindman testimony that we know about mentions some meeting with other Trump officials like Rick Perry, Ambassador Sondland, and other prominent Trump officials, which assures there’s going to be more damaging information, beyond the Trump phone call, yet Congressional Republicans and Trump pundits want to remain stuck on spinning about the corrupt “process” and “no quid pro” in the phone call “transcript”, which isn’t even really a transcript at all, but a Trump-friendly version of the phone call. Trump lied and spun this “perfect call” nonsense and “no quid pro transcript” for a month now, but that spin antic won’t see Trump through impeachment, as more witnesses testify.
At 25:54, in Ambassador John Sullivan’s testimony yesterday, he explains the role of Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to smear and get Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovich, fired. While the president assuredly has the power to fire ambassadors, my gut instinct seems that Trump’s loss of confidence in the ambassador might have had more to do with her unwillingness to go along with Giuliani’s private dirt-digging expedition in Ukraine rather than her conduct carrying out the president’s official policies in Ukraine.
As more witnesses testify, my gut instinct is Trump and Giuliani’s Ukraine escapades are going to leave Republicans humiliating themselves trying to defend Trump and once again having to sacrifice every vestige of self-respect to prop up this corrupt and dishonest man, who is just as bad as the Clintons, Schiff and the Dem spin water-carrying media.
Trump isn’t an innocent victim of the Dems trying to do him in here. Trump and Giuliani’s Ukraine escapades reek of the same sort of corrupt Clintonesque dirt-digging operations, using private, totally unaccountable investigators.
Life for Congressional Republicans defending the corrupt “GOP Insurgent” will get much more uncomfortable, but then there’s the Durham/Horowitz investigations, which might deflect some of the media glare to the corrupt Clinton/Obama private dirt-digging operations too.
America will be much better off when the Clinton and Trump corruption is long past and becomes only an object lesson on the perils of public corruption taught to schoolchildren in U.S. history classes.
7 responses to “Trump’s impeachment problems grow”
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“Over [some period] my view has shifted and I suspect questionable actions operating as [any number of] personal sleuths in Ukraine [&] will bring to light more damaging information that will aid the [..] impeachment push. The way Adam Schiff has conducted these “impeachment inquiry” hearings in secret, avoiding producing the whistleblower and revelations that Schiff’s staff met with the whistleblower and likely helped in the production of the whistleblower’s complaint still work to discredit the process, but it’s also becoming increasingly [likely] there’s probably a [flood of] more damaging information that’s going to pour out in this impeachment effort.”
At the risk of my falling victim to attribution error I’d posit come the flood about half the Nation’s voting/caring populace will be finding themselves woefully unprepared to coherently assimilate all the information – and the blame for that can be entirely laid at the feet of [in this case mostly CNN/MSNBC/NYT/WAPO type] media.
I’m reminded of a Rachel Maddow installment I’d caught fairly soon after Mueller appeared before Congress – Some Congressperson had inquired of Mueller “But what of Fusion GPS?” leaving both Mr. Mueller and Ms. Maddow (as well as, I expect, her audience) to ask themselves “Wha … What the heck is Fusion GPS?!!!”
That’s the problem inherent in spoonfeeding audiences. In denying a defendant [any defendant] recourse to counterarguing simultaneously “the narrative” on display (and that’s what it is, a display or hearkening back to Rome’s fall-times, a spectacle) half the jury having slumbered in coma through plaintiff’s presentation will be jolted awake only when the arbitrator bangs the gavel.
Deliberations in the jury room, such as those deliberations will undoubtedly be, can only deliver a verdict of; presuming a just world, “We the Jury pronounce a verdict of Farce!
Too bad once the appeals process manages to wend its way through whatever actual factual evidence has been allowed it ‘democratic process’ will be hanging in the waft that’s gently blowing beneath the scaffold.
And then we reap the wind.
Also too bad – we’ll deserve it.
Well, JK, it’s true the WaPo, CNN, MSNBC, etc. etc. have set forth the Dem spin narrative with exceptional vigor, but FOX and the Trump echo chamber haven’t been slouching either in the spin department.
Long ago, oh back in 2016, I mentioned the difference between the Clinton spin/smear operations and the Trump operation – that being the Clintons have an army of operatives, lawyers and assorted sleazy sewer rat types operating under fancy law firm headings, think tanks, media operations, etc. – thus effectively distancing themselves from the dirty work and allowing them to act like they are above the fray. Heck, it took over a year for most folks to glean that the Steele dossier operation was a Clinton/DNC funded dirty trick.
Trump to his own detriment wants to be the one-man show smear merchant, spin operative, WH spokesperson, legal expert, etc., etc. In other words he leaves his fingerprints all over everything, leaving his supporters little way to distance Trump from the misdeeds.
The Dem lawyers/Clinton operatives so successfully wove the Steele dossier into official channels that heads of the Obama intel agencies, State Dept., FBI and DOJ were incorporating Mr. Steele himself into an official role, with the FBI even adding him to the payroll. Trump on the other hand sent Giuliani, DiGenova and his wife, to Ukraine to investigate, but had in no way spun them into being part of some “official investigative process”. So, Trump’s private lawyers were butting heads with Trump’s own official State Dept peeps and policy, whereas the Steele operation carefully melded into Obama official channels.
Both types of dirt-digging seem extremely corrupt to me, but once again Trump’s insistence on being his own smear merchant in chief, his own spinmeister in chief, plus POTUS leave him nowhere to hide.
This Durham guy might cough up some indictments though, so this crapshow will only get messier.
I’m out of any sympathy for Trump being the victim of the Clinton/Dem smear operatives though, because Trump and his minions don’t hesitate to smear anyone, whom even speaks out against Trump or questions Trump’s actions and if he had an iota more self-discipline, Trump would be using every power of the executive branch to destroy his political enemies, just like the Clintons. The Clintons have decades of experience on Trump, in that department.
“But FOX and the Trump echo chamber haven’t been slouching either in the spin department.”
Agreed. But …
Very generally my experience advises ‘folks’ who limit their perceiving solely from a ‘liberal’ view dispositionally “seem to be” mostly accepting of what an ‘authority’ states is the accepted wisdom while those of ‘conservative disposition’ are more apt to question.
Co-opting your “both types of dirt-digging” phrasing and coupling that to another manifestation of our current state of narration – Twitter – it seems to me, emphasis on seems to, liberal tweeterers are far more adept at getting their version of whatever spread further and faster (and thereby “snagged in the brain/mind”) than are the conservative tweeterers.
Of course my experience of Twitter limited as it is to being that of an “observer” as opposed to a “participator” school, it could well be as I’ve put it in my very first sentence above, that, rather than my being at risk of attribution bias I’m already fallen into that trap.
But I’m reminded of a long ago mentor’s caution to me, “It’s easier and faster to accept what you’re seeing on the top but conserving your judgement until you’ve thoroughly sifted for the gold bits, very small though they be, is necessarily slower. In the end though, however you conclude, you’ll find yourself satisfied with your product. And only you will know the difference. The value in other words.”
Then again I am one to find more value in an old rusty pickup than I am a shiny new Ferrari – your mileage may vary.
Good points you raise, JK, but as this spin war intensifies and deepens, by the time those gold bits are finally uncovered, we will have been buried so deep under ever-growing piles of spin rubbish, that I suspect we will be way past the point of anyone (on either side) much caring or even being able to remember details of the original matter.
Trump has a jump start on his spin opponents on the Left in this regard – he just creates more spin diversions and baits them with comments sure to incite reflexive outrage from the mainstream media chorus. It’s hard to remember what the “OMG” Trump outrage was yesterday, let alone a month ago and that works to Trump’s favor in this rather boring “impeachment inquiry,” lacking any titilating sex scandal or even mildly interesting events – just bickering about a phone call, so far. Most people will grow bored with this quickly, especially if the “impeachment inquiry” gets upstaged by Durham coughing up actual indictments.
The Schiff effort to control the spin narrative can not possibly work very long. He’s got to start releasing some transcripts and holding some public hearings, which will totally expose his alleged corrupt antics in the private hearings.
The Pelosi-mandated tight timeline for this impeachment effort also works to Trump’s advantage, because the Dems primary has become a hot mess, Hillary will be chomping at the bit to prance in and offer to save the day, and drawn out impeachment drama hamstrings any Dem candidate from getting the media oxygen necessary to counter Trump.
Plus the impeachment provides Trump a useful spin topic to play the victim card and rake in loads of campaign cash, while Dems are still in disarray.
The Dems would have been better off trying to get their 2020 effort in order, rather than trying to takedown Trump quickly with this impeachment effort. Any protracted Dem anti-Trump spin effort begins to fray as it drags on – like the months of Stormy, Stormy, Stormy – no one even cared about any of that and Avenatti, their designated hero in that spin debacle, turned out to be way more corrupt than Trump, lol
When both sides in a battle are thoroughly corrupt, I keep hoping they destroy each other – that’s just me. And if 2020 turns out to be a Trump/Hillary rematch, America is surely doomed.
I should probably add that for me where our Republic is concerned, and that’s really where any and all of my concerns and fealties reside, my regards toward any of the fleeting personalities are of far lesser concern. Or put another way, of lesser value.
Personalities are dust where the Rock of the Republic may endure.
Well, looking at the health of Republic from a standpoint of the health of our political and civic institutions, the civic institutions were toppled by the Left’s culture war long ago. Our schools are a shambles of PC indoctrination and that’s polluted other civic institutions and even many churches supplanted their religious tenets with PC dogma.
Our political institutions have been crumbling for years too and we now have the so-called “apolitical” parts of our government subsumed into the rabid partisan factional fighting. 2016 saw the FBI and our intelligence agencies corrupted at the highest levels. Approaching 2020, the US military lurched even further into splitting into partisan factions, especially with the retired generals. McRaven openly attacked the POTUS in an op-ed.
This “impeachment inquiry” has created more partisan officer spin drama too and Trump, the CINC, leading attacks on officers bodes poorly for good order and discipline holding in the military, down the ranks.
The military was the last bastion in our political system that I believed could hold the line on preserving some sanity in our Republic. Now I worry about that last bastion being overrun.