The rabidly partisan, completely corrupt political moment America is at didn’t begin with Donald J. Trump, even though he looms large in the American psyche since he rode down that golden escalator to enter the 2016 race. The public impeachment hearings will begin later this morning,so I’ve jotted down a few thoughts.
Yes, the Democrats and some of their intel friends orchestrated this case against Trump and yes, President Obama did plenty of way more corrupt things than this bribe in this phone call with the president of Ukraine. In fact, we are awaiting the release of the IG report Michael Horowitz has completed and the DOJ still has John Durham investigating 2016 corruption within the Obama administration.
Still from the information I’ve read, I do believe Trump’s call with the president of Ukraine was a quid pro quo and yes, as Andrew McCarthy has made the point repeatedly, often in foreign policy deals involve a quid pro quo. Where I part company with McCarthy’s view is I do believe Trump’s quid pro quo went way beyond trying to make a deal for the benefit of America. When Trump mentioned the Bidens he wanted dirt on the Bidens to help him politically, just like he and the Clinton campaign were searching for Russian dirt on each other in 2016. The other part of the call that bothered me was the president of Ukraine mentioned Giuliani believing he was the point man for the investigation Trump was demanding. This speaks to how Trump had Giuliani running around Ukraine as his personal attorney, yet Giuliani was perceived by the Ukrainians as an American government official.
American presidents can’t cut personal deals with foreign leaders while using the Office of the President. There is no way Trump, who lies more than he tells the truth and whose first idea for action as president invariably veers into the extremely corrupt range, was concerned about fighting corruption in Ukraine. Trump is the man whose “great” strategy for dealing with ISIS was to send the U.S. military to murder ISIS family members, believing that would scare ISIS fighters into surrender. Trump sending his personal attorney to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens is over the line, in my book.
Since impeachment is a political process, not a criminal trial, I’d like to see what unfolds in these hearings, what crazy spin antics both Dems and Republicans engage in before deciding 100%, but from what I’ve read so far, yes, I would probably vote to impeach and I never expected to write those words. I will also support criminal prosecutions if Horowitz and Durham find criminal wrongdoing among Obama administration officials.
I’ve been disgusted and extremely disappointed in so many Republicans jumping on board with stupid spin antics, that sink to the level of the typical Dem spin sleaze. It started with Congressman Gaetz and the angry Republican mob storming the hearing room in the basement and it’s progressed to a pathetic display of spewing, vicious smear campaigns against the witnesses and nauseating groveling to Trump.
Lindsey Graham declared the hearing is all a sham and announced he wasn’t reading any of the transcripts the House Intelligence Committee released. This came after two weeks ago Republicans were ranting about Schiff was hiding the transcripts and demands that Dems release the transcripts. Last night Graham went one step further and announced he isn’t going to watch any of the sham hearings. Graham heads the Senate Judiciary Committee and will play a key role, if there is a Senate impeachment trial, but he’s announcing upfront he’s not going to take it seriously. Assuredly, many Dems in 1998 felt the Clinton impeachment was a sham too and they behaved in this same sort of spin theatrics that Republicans are staging… except in 1998, Graham was demanding that impeachment was a serious process.
Several of the FOX Trump spin team were pushing this mantra urging people not to watch the hearings. In what kind of world do you engage in a massive spin effort, telling Americans, “Don’t even listen to anything the other side says!’ The correct American form of civil political debate is to put your best case forward, not to spread smears and tell other citizens not to listen to the other side of an argument. Sickening!!!
Despite good intentions, I haven’t read through all of the House Intelligence Committee transcripts of the impeachment inquiry hearings. Tomorrow Ambassador William Taylor will testify in an open hearing, so I’ll be able to form a better opinion of his veracity.
What I’ve read so far of his testimony, he comes across as a straight-shooter type person – very much a by-the-rules guy. It’s understandable that Trump’s making things up as he goes style and total disregard for rules, ethical conduct or even following the law, would be alien to someone like Taylor.
In his opening statement (page 28, lines 7-8) Taylor states:
“The irregular policy channel was running contrary to goals of longstanding U.S. policy.”
On page 30, lines 2-3) he states:
“I began to sense that the two decisionmaking channels, regular and irregular, were separate and at odds.”
This problem of Trump working against his own administration official policy has been a consistent feature of how Trump governs, creating endless turmoil, undercutting his own team at every turn, then blaming them for the chaos his erratic behavior causes. No matter what chaos he causes, in the end, his administration officials, try to save him from disaster, often ending up being fired or publicly humiliated as their thanks.
This impeachment will likely end up with Trump being impeached in the House, acquitted in the Senate and more erratic and emboldened at the end of this process. The real problem I see from this Ukraine mess is one that at some point Trump may create a national security crisis that should have been avoided.
Taylor hits on this problem. Trump plays his own team members against each other and is more concerned about cutting secret deals with despots than he is about building a strong functioning White House team. In Trump’s world, the only player on the team that matters is Trump. He’s a one-man show and everyone else on his team is just an expendable stage prop.
In this Ukraine situation, Trump assuredly had the right to send his personal attorney to investigate and report back to him. The problem was his attorney was undercutting Trump’s official foreign policy team in Ukraine and engaged in foreign policy matters, which the U.S. embassy had no knowledge of. Even that might get a pass, although it’s best that in foreign countries America’s foreign policy team speaks with one voice, but the totally unforgivable part was Giuliani smearing the ambassador to Ukraine on TV and Twitter, undermining her credibility and damaging her reputation. She had no means to defend herself. If Trump wanted to fire her, he should have done that through State Department channels, so the State Department could assure the functioning and safety of the embassy were not negatively impacted. That Giuliani media smear campaign is despicable.
Trump engaged in this same sort of erratic decisionmaking many times in the past two and half years, where the Pentagon or other agencies found out about a complete policy change via a Trump tweet or comment on TV. He doesn’t even have the courtesy or common sense to talk to his top officials privately. He makes an erratic decision, then just tweets it out, often at odd hours of the late night or early morning. When Trump decided to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria, after a phone call with Erdogan, he did not discuss this with top Pentagon officials before announcing the decision publicly.
Taylor saw the problem with Trump’s “irregular channel operating at odds with the regular channel, ” because that behavior is thoroughly corrupt and will lead to mission failure, but it can also cost lives when that sort of playing your own team members against each other occurs in a military operation. It could also have jeopardize the safety and security of the ambassador and the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, which is a very dangerous, corrupt country.
Americans, especially many who should know better in the government, pundits, former government officials, all see that Trump doesn’t bother to study any of the issues he’s making consequential decisions about, they know his erratic decisionmaking leads to constant chaos, they also know it’s reckless and usually gets in the way of the policies Trump’s administration state are the policy objectives, but they refuse to ever speak up and most keep making excuses for Trump, usually blaming the Democrats who hate Trump for all the problems or reminding that Trump is a businessman, not a politician. Well, he’s been on the job for almost 3 years and one wonders at what point Trump can be judged, based on his performance as President of the United States.
When Democrats turned a blind-eye to the Clinton corruption and the Obama corruption, Republicans railed about how amoral they were for never condemning corrupt behavior. Now that the shoes’ on the other foot, Republicans who make endless excuses for Trump, demonstrate that they are just as amoral as those Democrats whom they berated for years.
All I know now is that watching this pathetic display, on both sides, I have no use for any of these spineless swamp dwellers in Washington. What a bunch of sickening political hacks all around.