I think most people who write about American politics, professionally, or as amateur bloggers, like myself, have devoted way more hours to President Donald J. Trump than he deserves, but even more importantly than is healthy for ourselves or the body politic.
When Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, began releasing transcripts of the private hearings, I started reading them. I did not get through all of them, but I did watch all of this past week’s open hearings. With this Trump impeachment push, Trump’s call to the Ukraine president, using his own call record, sounded totally inappropriate to me. I started out leaning toward supporting impeachment. After this past week’s open hearings, I went from thinking he should be impeached and removed, to less inclined to think that will do a single thing to uphold our democratic institutions or get America one step closer to bolstering our constitutional system
Watching these hearings led me to be more convinced this was another orchestrated Dem smear/spin operation more than a serious process run out of concern about preserving our democracy or upholding The Constitution. Funny thing, about watching the Dem political/spin machinations play out in public hearings and with the media pushed me further away from supporting impeachment than supporting it. I was also sick to death of much of the Republican spin antics, especially Jim Jordan’s fast-talking questioning, where I couldn’t even make logical sense out of his questioning, his summations of the answers and most certainly not his hyped up Trump cheerleading in media appearances. His pro-Trump spin was as exhausting as Swalwell and Schiff’s anti-Trump spin.
Trump’s spin attacks, trying to disrupt and hijack the hearings, should have been anticipated by Schiff and Dems, but instead of ignoring him, Schiff played right into Trump’s hands by reading Trump’s live-tweets right into the hearing process and allowing Trump to participate, only when it fed the Dem spin narrative. Schiff should have allowed Trump to have lawyers present and Republicans to call witnesses, but he refused that. Instead, Schiff decided to play the spin angel by feeding Trump’s live tweets into the hearing. Watching the amount of tweeting and fixation on fighting the spin war by House Intelligence Committee members, even during these hearings, drove home the point that this was a political spin production more than a serious, grave constitutional undertaking.
As to the witnesses, I wrote a blog post on Kent, Taylor and Yovanovitch, so here are the other ones who stuck out – Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the EU, LTC Alexander Vindman, David Holmes and the latest mainstream media feminist icon, Dr. Fiona Hill, The Non-Partisan.
LTC Vindman did not answer who the intelligence person was he told about the Trump-Zelensky phone call. Schiff interrupted Republicans questions and asserted the “whistleblower” must be protected, even though Schiff stated on national TV during these hearings that he doesn’t know who the “whistleblower” is. Vindman also testified under oath that he doesn’t know who the “whistleblower” is, even though the accounts the “whistlebower” wrote about in his-her complaint are these very witnesses’ stories. These witnesses stories make up the “whistleblower complaint.” Dems kept pointing out how detailed and accurate the “whistleblower’s” accounts are and how closely these witnesses stories match those accounts. Dems say that the witnesses corroborate the “whistleblower’s account”… NO the witnesses, who directly talked to the “whistleblower” aren’t corroborating, they are the SOURCES of the complaint. Each witness who talked to the “whistleblower” was a SOURCE of the complaint – not corroborating anything. Without these witnesses’ stories there is nothing to corroborate with the “whistleblower”. It’s a logical fallacy the Dems have carefully packaged and sold here. To corroborate something implies there are separate bits of information or evidence that are bolstering a statement. These witnesses very accounts make up the sum total of the “whistleblower complaint”. Minus the witnesses’ stories, there is nothing to bolster.
Gordon Sondland is a wealthy businessman, big Trump donor, who secured an ambassadorship for his support. In his opening statement he turned on Trump and gave Dems what appeared to be a slam dunk win. However, in the afternoon, when Republicans started questioning him aggressively, he walked back most of that opening statement. Dems and Republicans latched onto the parts of Gordon Sondland’s testimony that fed their spin, but it seemed to me that Sondland was a incredible dissembler and wanted to escape this hearing with the least amount of damage to himself. He was not a credible witness and in many ways like Trump – a person who will say anything to benefit himself.
David Holmes was the aide of Bill Taylor, whom Taylor testified told him about a phone call he overheard between Gordon Sondland and President Trump. Holmes claimed Trump talked loud and Sondland held the phone away from his ear, so Holmes clearly heard Trump talking. I did not find Holmes story very credible as to being the exact conversation, but then again often recounting only parts of an overheard conversation can lead to large distortions about what the conversation was really all about.
The mainstream media has gone into raptures about Dr. Fiona Hill, The Non-Partisan, Russia expert, foreign policy guru, latest feminist icon of the Left. Hill began her testimony with an opening statement berating “GOP conspiracy theories” that are promoting “Russian conspiracy theories” by asserting Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. This spin that the GOP is promoting Russian conspiracy theories spin line is straight Dem spin that’s being massively spun-up in the mainstream media. Trump does promote some odd Crowdstrike/server conspiracy theory (which might be a Russian conspiracy theory), for which I’ve seen no open source reporting that bolsters, but there were numerous reports in mainstream media about Ukraine interference in our 2016 election. The Ukraine meddling was nothing close to the vast scale of the Russian disinformation efforts, but the Ukraine effort did lead to Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, resigning and later to his prosecution for money-related crimes – connected to his dealing in… Ukraine:
Of course, now that Ukraine interference and Russian interference have been conflated to binary choices, the Dem spin tsunami insists only Russian interference occurred and to assert Ukraine also interfered is promoting Russian disinformation. The truth is many countries interfered in our 2016 election, just like the U.S. interferes in other countries’ elections.
Once Hill dumped that Dem spin bomb in her opening statement, the Fiona Hill, The Non-Partisan aura evaporated for me. Another amazing Hill revelation was when she related how she read the Steele dossier the day before Buzzfeed published it, when Strobe Talbott showed it to her. Talbott is a long-time Clinton crony. He was president of the Brookings Institution, a left-leaning think tank, where Hill was working at the time. Talbott also is the brother-in-law of Cody Shearer, the author of the second “dossier” about Trump-Russian collusion in 2016. Hill is very smart and seemed very politically astute, so I kept wondering why on earth she volunteered this information about Strobe Talbott showing her the Steele dossier the day before it was leaked by Buzzfeed. I wondered if she volunteered that as a CYA move to protect her “credibility as The Non-Partisan”, with nothing to hide. Talbott’s name was mentioned in a defamation lawsuit against Steele filed by Alfa Bank, where Steele disclosed reporters and people to whom he gave copies of the dossier. Hill blithely dismissed Steele’s dossier as likely Russian disinformation in her testimony. Hill struck me as trying to play this elaborate charade in her testimony, throwing out bits to bolster her “non-partisan” bona fides, while lobbing the Dem spin hits and seeming to struggle to mask her contempt for the Republicans on the committee. It was an odd performance, but the Dems and mainstream media consider her performance mesmerizing.
Hill was also asked about Kenneth Vogel, who wrote the Politico article on Ukraine interference in 2016, referenced above, and Hill had nothing but glowing accolades for Kenneth Vogel’s journalistic credentials…
Trump definitely was offering a quid pro quo in the phone call with President Zelensky. It certainly was totally inappropriate, but I want more information on Biden’s dealings in Ukraine and his son’s dealings with Burisma. Biden bragged about his effort to pressure Ukraine to fire a prosecutor, who had opened an investigation into Burisma corruption, Media accounts offer up conflicting accounts and conflicting timelines, so more facts need to be ironed out here. For me, watching Joe Biden’s recounting of how he pressured Ukraine to fire that prosecutor sounds worse than what Trump did in the “strong-arming a foreign country desperately in need of American aid” department. Of course, the mainstream media and many of these non-partisan career professionals, who testified this week, assert that prosecutor was a corrupt prosecutor. The other interesting disparity is with the aid Biden was threatening to withhold, none of these “non-partisan” witnesses are upset about that and they dutifully repeated that Ukrainian prosecutor was corrupt, but Trump’s short hold on aid to Ukraine, well, that resulted in “Ukrainians dying” while that aid was withheld… With Biden and the Obama foreign aid, it didn’t even include military aid, so assuredly Ukrainians were dying then too – probably lots of them, but Biden’s threat to withhold aid didn’t even raise a murmur or moment of angst among these “non-partisan” career professionals. Here’s a link to a video of Biden explaining his Ukraine aid dealings: