One of the evergreen characterizations of our two major political parties is that Democrats represent the poor and Republicans represent the rich. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren lead in the demonization of people with wealth – with the rest of the Democrat presidential field serving as the “MeToo” chorus (not to be confused with the Democrat feminist #MeTooMovement).
While they castigate people with wealth, virtually all the Democrat presidential contenders ARE people of wealth. When they condemn those contemptible “millionaires and billionaires,” they fail to admit that they are among them.
The latest billionaire to throw his David Shilling hat in the presidential ring is Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He has a net worth of $52 billion dollars. He will not take any donations but rely on spending potentially billions of dollars on his own campaign. To become the 46th President of the United States, Bloomberg would actually spend more money than all the 45 previous Presidents combined!
His closest competitor – at least in money – is businessman Tom Steyer, who is worth $1.6 billion – and who has already spent tens of millions of dollars on name-recognition ads (fronting as impeachment ads) before announcing his candidacy.
But money is not everything. Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney is the third richest Democrat in the race – worth more than $200 million. Despite his wealth, he is in that “below one percent” category.
Another barely relatively unnoticed candidate – outside of Colorado, where he is the United States senator – is Michael Bennet. He is worth $15 million.
The next richest person in the race has some ‘splaining to do. It is Elizabeth Warren with a net worth of $12 million. While she chagrins the influence of money in politics, she has not been shy on using her wampum as fuel for her own political career. Interestingly, Warren’s “wealth tax” would not apply to people with her level of wealth. Surprise! Surprise!
Following Warren is former Vice President Joe Biden, with a fortune of more than $9 million dollars. That one is particularly interesting because he often talks about his humble beginnings. At the age of 29, Biden was elected to the United States Senate (turning 30 – the legal minimum age – before the swearing in.) He was never a businessman, a big-time actor – never invented anything – so how did he get so damned rich from public service? Hmmmm. I am reminded of what President Harry Truman famously said: “You can’t get rich in politics unless you’re a crook.”
Another candidate who promotes her alleged “humble beginnings” and a life of public service is California Senator Kamala Harris. She is worth $6 million. Humble beginning … life of PUBLIC service … and $6 million. What was that Harry Truman said?
Then there is the folksy home-spun Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. No one seems to hate the rich more than socialist hypocrite Sanders. Another story of the humblest of beginnings and a life in public service – and a $2.5 million nest egg. Bernie is a variation on Robin Hood since he wants to take from the billionaires and give it to millionaires, like him.
The “poor” millionaires – $2 million or less – include Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar ($2M), New Jersey Senator Cory Booker ($1.5M) and businessman Andrew Yang ($1M).
A couple of candidates fall short of membership in the Millionaires’ Club. That includes Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard ($500K) and at the bottom of the list is South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg ($100K). If the examples above are indicative, Buttigieg has a bright future in Democrat politics – which should make him one of the millionaires in the near future.
Keep in mind that all these candidates are richer than these estimates. The reporting requirement a not all that stringent, Also, does the figure include spousal wealth? Some assets may be undervalued. Regardless, they are all much richer than the people they hope to serve.
The wealth disparity between these candidates and their impoverished supporters is wide and growing. I have always maintained that any political party that depends on poor people as their power base has no incentive to make them rich. We see this in virtually every Democrat-run major city in which segregated and impoverished voters live in the economic status quo generation after generation. That does not happen by accident.
It is interesting that so many of these candidates would destroy America’s capitalistic economic system — denying we the people the same opportunities that gave them their fabulous wealth.
So, there ‘tis.
America seems to be consumed … CONSUMED … by politics. It has spilled over into every phase of American life. If you want to get away from political references and implications forget about sports. The NFL cleaves on patriotism. The NBA on foreign policy.
Forget about enjoying a few laughs. The predominant subject of jokesters is politics. Forget about the movies. More and more of them are politically based or incorporate obvious political messaging. Same for television shows. If you are interested in news around the world, forget about our so-called news industry. They broadcast in bright colors of blue and red.
No wonder it is so difficult to find a topic of discussion as we sit around the Thanksgiving table with family members of differing viewpoints. So firm are our staked positions that we cannot even engage in civil intelligent conversation.
Well, at least we can play games. Or can we?
Uno has just released the latest version of their game that has no red or blue backed cards. They have been replaced with a purple card. The Uno company proudly notes that this change is to take politics OUT of the game. In fact, they put politics into the game.
Who ever played Uno and thought that the red and blue represented political affiliation? Uno’s decision is like the bikini bathing suit. It draws attention to that which it alleges to conceal. To change something that was never viewed as political by making it political – even in the name of avoidance, it brings politics into the game. Who will ever play with that sans red and blue deck and not consciously or subconsciously think of our political divisions?
Now, if we were to take up Uno’s thinking, I can already hear Senator Bernie Sanders demanding the replacement of that iconic cute little millionaire representing Monopoly. Hell, Sanders would probably want to ban the entire game as being a promoter of capitalism.
Perhaps Sanders would enjoy a game in which Big Brother owns everything – and if you do not pay up you are sent to prison to be tortured and brainwashed — and have no way to get out, free or otherwise.
My favorite holiday is Christmas. In my more than seven decades of celebrating, I have never thought of that red-garbed Santa Claus as a Republican. Franky, in the way he gives away goodies to keep we kiddies happy, there is a better argument that he is a Democrat. Still, I cannot see a blue Santa.
Are colors really always about politics? if our tradition is dressing newborn babies light red (pink) if they are girls and blue if they are boys, why are proportionately more women Democrats and more men Republicans?
The point is that every time we see the colors red or blue, we DO NOT think of politics – and hopefully we will continue in that tradition. The makers of Uno have now taken away a bit of our ability to do that. Whenever I see the new purple Uno game, I will be reminded of politics and the current divisions that make that reminder unpleasant. Thanks Uno.
So, there ‘tis.
While I have often wondered why so many black voters maintain allegiance to the Democratic Party in view of their long history – to this day – of oppression of black citizens. First it was slavery, then segregation and now the remnants of de facto racism in our major Democrat-run cities today.
The race card is still being dishonestly played against Republicans by the hypocritical Democrats, but that is not the focus of this commentary. It appears that the race card does NOT play well in Democrats intramural presidential politics.
I am referring to the efforts by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and California Senator Kamala Harris to play the race card to win over black voters. In recent debates and speeches, Booker and Harris have argued that THEY – more than any other candidate – can unite the party by keeping black voters in line.
To fight President Trump in the 2020 General Election, black candidates will have the best chance to bring out the black vote. They refer to it as the “Obama coalition.” That has a certain superficial – albeit it specious – logic.
The assumption is that black voters will always set aside all other issues to vote for a black candidate. They will always vote race over issues – such as gun control, abortion, women’s’ rights, gay rights, employment, education, foreign policy, criminal justice, etc.
The strategy of Booker and Harris is a call to vote race … period. That race-baiting does not seem to be working in this election cycle. There are a lot of black voters in the Democrat coalition. That is for sure. But they seem to have more interests than skin color when it comes to politics – maybe more than ever.
That old white guy name Biden seems to be getting a lot of black votes – so far more than any other candidate in the field. He is getting more black votes than Booker and Harris. So is Bernie Sanders. Even Elizabeth Warren is starting to pull in a significant number of black voters.
The two most prominent black candidates – Booker and Harris – are not getting a lot of support from the brothers and sisters. No matter how many times Booker calls for black unity behind his campaign, he still languishes between 2 and 3 percent in the polls. And Harris’ call for black unity in her campaign has not prevented her being Whack-A-Moled into single digits.
There are even some indications that – despite Democrat state of denial — Trump may exceed his 2016 eight percent black vote. Too early to know, but there are signs of disenchantment with Democrat leadership in our segregated inner cities. As one black community leader said in Chicago. “it would be a mistake to think that Trump would be unwelcomed in the ‘hood.”
This may come as a shock to the Booker/Harris types, but those folks in the inner cities are not monolithic political drones. Skin color is not the number one political issue – not even number two … three … four … or …
So, There ‘tis.
Democrats, who were expecting the other shoe to drop during U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland’s testimony today, may have heard it fall, but it never really hit the floor.
While it is true that Sondland did provide stunning testimony to Congress affirming a “quid pro quo” for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to secure a meeting and phone call with President Trump, he denied having any direct evidence that those conditions were directly tied to holding back critical security aid, nor that they came directly from the president.
Referring to what he labeled a “potential quid pro quo” involving U.S. military aid to Ukraine and investigations desired by President Trump, Sondland testified that he had never heard that link from the president himself.
One of the key witnesses in the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry against Trump, Sondland claimed he kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo aware of what was going on and said he specifically told Vice President Pence he “had concerns” the military aid to Ukraine “had become tied” to investigations — though a Pence aide denied it. And he repeatedly lambasted Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s leading role in the administration’s Ukraine dealings.
“Everyone was in the loop,” Sondland testified in opening remarks. “It was no secret.”
Taken in their entirety, Sondland’s statements Wednesday are likely to fuel the narratives of both parties. He was seen as a wild card going into the hearing, given he has offered testimony that conflicted with others’ and recently amended his statements to acknowledge he did talk to Ukraine about investigations after initially indicating otherwise.
Sondland made clear that he merely presumed the aid was linked to investigations, at one point referring to this as a “guess,” while repeatedly stating that, “I never heard from President Trump that aid was conditioned on an announcement” of investigations.
He said he never personally heard Trump discuss any kind of preconditions. Instead, he clearly pinned the effort to extract the conditions from Ukraine on Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
“Mr. Giuliani conveyed to Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker, and others that President Trump wanted a public statement from President Zelensky committing to investigations of Burisma and the 2016 election,” Sondland said in his written opening testimony, referring to Energy Secretary Rick Perry and U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker.
Burisma, the second-largest energy company in Ukraine, had hired Hunter Biden, the then-vice president’s son, for a $50,000 per month position on its board.
“Mr. Giuliani expressed those requests directly to the Ukrainians. Mr. Giuliani also expressed those requests directly to us. We all understood that these pre-requisites for the White House call and White House meeting reflected President Trump’s desires and requirements,” said Sondland.
He tried to now distance himself from the former New York mayor, saying, “If I had known of all of Mr. Giuliani’s dealings or of his associations with individuals now under criminal indictment, I would not have acquiesced to his participation,” Sondland said. “Still, given what we knew at the time, what we were asked to do did not appear to be wrong.”
After waiting and planning for the better part of three years, Democrats are now in a bit of a hurry to get President Trump impeached. They had hoped to get it accomplished before Thanksgiving, but that deadline is no longer an option.
They now hope to have it out of the six “inquiry committees” and into the Judiciary Committee – where it should have been in the first place. And yes, there are technically six committees serving as impeachment inquiry committees – although the House Intelligence Committee, with California Congressman Adam Schiff chairing, seems to have all the action. If the others are doing anything, it is the best kept secret in Washington.
Democrats had hoped to have the whole damn impeachment thing – Articles of Impeachment and trial in the Senate – done before we get into the 2020 election year. They well understand that if the process drags on into 2020, it will consume media and public attention to the detriment of all those presidential campaigns.
Just a few weeks ago, all those east coast establishment media outlets were giving Democrat presidential candidates enormous airtime. Candidates with less than 5 percent support were being interviewed as if they were contenders. Debate coverage was characterized by pre-debate presentations by Democrat leaders and post-debate butt-kissing analysis. A seemingly endless series of so-called “town hall meetings” were essentially infomercials.
Now that the impeachment process has gone public, the Democrat presidential candidates have disappeared from the news. Impeachment specials have replaced those town hall meetings.
Democrats are committed to a rush-to-judgement — largely because they have already arrived at their judgment. They are so concerned about accelerating the process that they will forego hearing from the most critical witnesses to their case – folks like former White House Intelligence Advisor John Bolton.
If subpoenaed, Bolton will rely on the federal courts to decide if he must testify or if he comes under presidential executive privilege. That could take a few months, and it is not at all certain that Democrats could win that case. So, Schiff has decided to ignore hearing from key witnesses. And why not? They have already reached their verdict.
If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is politically savvy – and he seems to be – he will not pick-up on the Democrats need to speed the process along. Instead, he will proloooong the process into January … February … March.
Just as we already know the outcome of the impeachment process in the House, we can be pretty sure that Trump will be found not guilty by the Senate. But while the Senate trial is going on, EVERY senator is obligated to sit silently as jurors. No questions from them. No speeches. They would even be admonished not to make any prejudicial public statements.
For politicians running for President of the United States, that would have the same effect of tying them up, gagging them and tossing them into the back of a pick-up truck.
Of course, it would only involve the senator-candidates. That would include Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar. Imagine … all the while Biden and Buttigieg are out there campaigning, the quintet would be sitting silently in the Senate chamber day after day … after day.
Of course, it is only a qualified benefit for the other candidates since they will be denied significant media coverage as the trial dominates the news. In a sense, they will also be silenced by the trial as those all-important state primaries come and go.
One way to prolong the trial – and provide Trump with a real defense – would be to allow both sides to call new witnesses – such as Hunter Biden and the whistleblower. During the Clinton trial, both sides agreed to NOT call additional witnesses, but to base their verdict on the Articles of Impeachment as presented by the House.
There is no reason that McConnell would follow that practice. It might have made sense back then because the House conducted the Clinton impeachment much more fairly. The Pelosi-Schiff rules are creating a very one-sided case. The House has blocked crucial witnesses. The other side needs to be heard and the Senate trial is the only option.
This will also be a way to put the House process on trial. The prospective Senate trial is something that should never have happened – and Senate Republicans should make sure that the American people understand that.
So, there ‘tis.
The Impeachment circus of President Trump rolled onto Capital Hill yesterday, with ringmaster Adam Schiff ready to preside over the “made-for-TV-performance.
Everything had been meticulously planned in advance, the Biden operative secretly working somewhere within INTEL, perhaps at the urging of the former vice president decides to step forward using the protective status as a whistleblower, citing second and third hand information regarding the infamous July 26th phone call.
Setting into monition the investigation by ringmaster Schiff, however, the whistleblower will not testify, perhaps revealing the dubious relationships between Biden and Schiff.
Meanwhile, Schiff holds a series of secret interviews of potential witnesses, somewhere in a “safe-room” located in the capitol basement. After many weeks of secret testimony by a number of government workers and career diplomats, Schiff is ready to go public and present his case against the President.
At around 10 a.m. ringmaster Schiff makes his opening statement, accusing the President, of bribery and extortion, which is no doubt a serious and impeachable infraction, if it were true, and that’s when the impeachable balloon finally burst, with a resounding “POP,” thanks to Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, who stole the carefully crafted impeachment inquiry, revealing it as nothing more than an ill-conceived sideshow, in short, a HOAX.
Jordan, not one to mince words, used his 5-minutes of allowed time, brilliantly, cutting quickly to the chase by taking the tedious speaking Ukraine Ambassador William Taylor to the task.
Challenging his claims of hearsay, and having no direct knowledge of what actually transpired between President Trump and the Ukrainian President on July 26th.
Ambassador Taylor had previously testified he had a “clear” understanding that the release of aid to Ukraine was linked to a request for investigations of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, and Burisma Holdings.
When it finally came Jordan’s turn to question the career diplomat, he quickly cited the 3-meetings Taylor had with President Zelensky, between the time the aid was delayed and eventually released.
Furthermore, Taylor confirmed to Jordan that “there was no discussion of linkage” during any of those meetings.
“Now, with all due respect, Ambassador, your clear understanding was obviously wrong,” Jordan said, noting that Zelensky also never made any announcement of an investigation prior to Trump releasing the aid on Sept. 11, 2019.
The bemused diplomat, who only moments ago seemed extremely self-assured, began to suddenly fumfer regarding his “clear” understanding testimony.
“As I testified, Mr. Jordan, this came from Ambassador Gordon Sondland,” Taylor said, recalling that Sondland told him that he said to Zelensky, “that while this was not a quid pro quo if Mr. Zelensky did not clear things up in public, we would be at a stalemate.”
Jordan then pointed to an addendum to Sondland’s closed-door testimony, in which he discussed how Taylor recalled that he mentioned a linkage between the investigation and the release of aid to Ukraine.
The 55-year old Ohio congressman mockingly reads aloud the edited testimony, by Sondland back to Taylor.
“Ambassador Taylor recalls that Mr. Morrison told Ambassador Taylor that I told Mr. Morrison that I had conveyed this message to Mr. Yermak on September 1, 2019, in connection with Vice President Pence’s visit to Warsaw and a meeting with President Zelensky.”
Adding incredulously, “We got six people having four conversations in one sentence, and you just told me this is where you got your clear understanding,” Jordan said. “And you’re their star witness.”
At which point a meek Taylor smiled, almost agreeing in kind with Jordan.
No doubt House Intelligence Committee Chairman Schiff, will attempt to regroup. That’s why Rep Jordan along with Rep. Devin Nunes should be the only two Republicans tasked with asking questions, the other Republicans on the committee should relinquish their time.
Famed civil libertarian Alan Dershowitz has said that he believes that the Democratic leaders in the House are trying to create crimes out of thin air.
Speaking recently on John Catsimatidis’ radio show, the often controversial Dershowitz said, that all Americans should be “frightened” of the House’s impeachment investigation, accusing Democrats of trying to “create crimes out of nothing.”
Dershowitz issued this dire warning to Catsimatidis’ audience, “Whether you’re from New York or the middle of the country, you should be frightened by efforts to try to create crimes out of nothing.”
He went on to say, “…I spent the afternoon yesterday searching the federal criminal statutes from beginning to end. I couldn’t find the crime.”
The House’s impeachment inquiry was launched in September amid Democratic concerns that Trump leveraged $400 million in military aid to pressure Zelensky to publicly open an investigation on unfounded corruption allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden, a top political rival. The White House has repeatedly blasted the House investigation as a “witch hunt” and decrying Democrats’ efforts as “unhinged” last week after they voted to formalize the inquiry.
“First they made up collusion… I searched the statute books. There’s no crime of collusion… with a foreign country. After that, they said obstruction of Congress,” Dershowitz said. “In a desperate effort to try to find crimes [committed by] President Trump, they’re just making it up. And that means we are all in danger.”
Democrats have countered Republicans claims, saying the president abused his oath of office by seeking to involve foreign nations in U.S. domestic politics after publicizing testimony from several witnesses saying there was a quid pro quo surrounding Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
As the greatest reality show on TV since the first season of “The Apprentice” continues to unfold, yesterday’s live broadcast for the open hearings in the impeachment inquiry were cacophonies of lies, bribery, and sexism.
As to the “lies” and “bribery,” House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy blasted Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as a “serial liar,” while at the same time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused President Trump of bribery.
In back-to-back press conferences, Pelosi and McCarthy delivered starkly contrasting accounts of the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry, with both claiming their respective parties were fighting to protect the U.S. Constitution – and both claiming a kind of victory.
“Democrats are showing great patriotism,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said after the day’s hearings, praising Schiff, D-Calif., for his dignity and statesmanship. “This isn’t about politics or anything political, it’s about patriotism, it’s about honoring our oath of office, and upholding the Constitution.” Adding, “This is something we do with a heavy heart. This is very prayerful, because impeachment is a divisive thing in our country.”
Pelosi went on to accuse the president of “bribery,” citing witness testimony from State Department official George Kent and U.S. top diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor.
“Bribery—and that is in the Constitution and attached to impeachment proceedings,” Pelosi said. “The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the election—that’s bribery.”
When asked whether bribery would be included as an article of impeachment, Pelosi replied, “We haven’t even made a decision to impeach. That’s what the inquiry is about. What I’m saying is, [what] the president has admitted to as ‘perfect,’ is bribery.”
Minutes later, McCarthy, R-Calif., took the podium on the other side of the House, claiming it’s Republicans who are “standing up” for the Constitution.
“Are they doing this for political purposes or are they standing for the Constitution?” McCarthy said. “They came to Congress to impeach the president.”
McCarthy went on to blast Schiff, claiming he “has continued to lie to the American public.”
McCarthy outlined several instances where he believed Schiff had lied—including during the congressional Russia probe and when he “on purpose” delivered a parody reading last month of the transcript of Trump’s now-infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which is at the center of the impeachment inquiry.
Meanwhile, ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd faced heavy backlash for what critics described as a “sexist” attack aimed at Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y. Stefanik was one of several Republicans who spoke out against the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Trump during its first public hearing Wednesday, but Dowd singled her out on Twitter.
“Elise Stefanik is a perfect example of why just electing someone because they are a woman or a millennial doesn’t necessarily get you the leaders we need,” the self-proclaimed “proud independent” commentator wrote in the now-deleted tweet.
However, that didn’t stop the avalanche of criticism that Dowd received — including from Stefanik’s colleague, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.
“Elise did a great job laying out the facts. And, not least of all, this comment is reprehensible,” Meadows wrote.
Other critics piled on Dowd for the tweet, many of them labeling the tweet “sexist.”
Dowd later claimed people were “misunderstanding” his tweet and stressed the country needs “more leaders with integrity.”
He eventually offered an apology to the congresswoman.
“Hey @EliseStefanik, I just want to apologize for a tweet that is being misinterpreted,” Dowd wrote. “I didn’t mean to suggest you were elected only because you were a woman or a millennial. I deleted the tweet.”
The drama continues with another day of public testimony, stay tuned!
The Republicans have produced their list of the witnesses that they would like call during the soon to be public hearings of the impeachment inquiry. While there may have been some surprising names on the list – including Joe and Hunter Biden, what should come as no surprise, is that Adam “Shifty” Schiff is rejecting most of the names on the list.
The GOP witness list, obtained by Fox News included Hunter Biden, the son of former vice president Joe Biden, and the anonymous intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint about a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky triggered the impeachment inquiry.
Schiff immediately rejected the idea of the whistleblower testifying during the public impeachment inquiry hearings, saying that his or her testimony was “redundant and unnecessary.”
In a letter to Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., Schiff said, “The committee … will not facilitate efforts by President Trump and his allies in Congress to threaten, intimidate and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm,” ” … The whistleblower has a right under laws championed by this committee to remain anonymous and to be protected from harm.”
The letter continued, “The impeachment inquiry, moreover, has gathered an ever-growing body of evidence — from witnesses and documents, including the president’s own words in his July 25 call record — that not only confirms but far exceeds the initial information in the whistleblower’s complaint … ”
Schiff concluded his letter, “In light of the president’s threats, the individual’s appearance before us would only place their personal safety at grave risk.”
Earlier in his letter, Schiff had warned Nunes that the impeachment inquiry and the House Intelligence Committee “will not serve as vehicles” for what he called “sham investigations into the Bidens or debunked conspiracies about 2016 U.S. election interference that President Trump pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit.”
Republicans also planned to call the younger Biden’s former long-time business partner, Devon Archer, who also sat on the board of Burisma. Republicans claim Archer can help the public to understand “the nature and extent of Ukraine’s pervasive corruption information that bears directly on President Trump’s longstanding and deeply-held skepticism of the country.”
Archer and the Bidens will likely also be rejected as witnesses by Schiff.
The list of witnesses also includes Nellie Ohr, a researcher at the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the now-infamous anti-Trump dossier; Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American consultant for the Democratic National Committee who allegedly met with officials at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C. to discuss incriminating information about Trump campaign officials; ex-National Security Council official Tim Morrison; former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker; and high-ranking State Department official David Hale.
One of the reasons that this current phase of impeachment folly is called an “inquiry” is that it is the normal responsibility of the House Judiciary Committee to hold a REAL impeachment hearing – one that will lead to Articles of Impeachment, or not.
What is going on in the House today is nothing more than a long public relations stunt with Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as the current ringmaster. There was no reason that Democrats could not have simply voted to launch an impeachment HEARING – as has been the normal course in the past. They could have had all the same witnesses – even some behind closed doors. The only difference is that the rights of the accused – in this case the President of the United States – would have been preserved.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chose to bypass the normal impeachment process in order to gin up a political lynching. (Yes, I called it that in the colloquial sense of the word.) She assigned six committees to “inquire” as to whether Trump committed any offenses worthy of an impeachment HEARING.
You will notice I did not say “crime.” That is because impeachment – as currently defined — does not require a crime even though the Constitution says that impeachment must be founded on “treason, bribery HIGH CRIMES and misdemeanors.” That sounds like serious stuff.
Pelosi and Co. understand that the Constitution be damned, the only requirement for impeachment is getting a majority of one political party to pass Articles of Impeachment. Consequently, she has undertaken the most political and unnecessary impeachment process in the history of the nation. She has weaponized impeachment.
Of course, such Articles must be filled with language suggesting abuse of power, obstruction of justice and other dubious accusations that can be made to sound like crimes. In fact, the Democrats have all those talking heads on television saying flat-out that Trump is guilty of this crime or that crime. Of course, that is only their opinion – or at least their politically-based claim.
Once the Democrats finish their repetitious “inquiry” – rolling it into a quasi-public phase — they will transfer the impeachment business over to the Judiciary Committee to conduct the “hearing” that will most likely lead to a highly partisan vote on Articles of Impeachment.
In the meantime, we will have the impeachment ball lateraled to Jerry Nadler, the diminutive chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a stridently partisan New York Democrat, who makes Schiff look like the champion of bipartisanship.
Nadler craves the center stage over impeachment. He was among the earliest voices demanding impeachment – a full-fledged member of the #NeverTrump Resistance Movement. We got a preview of Nadler when he was undertaking his own investigation of the Trump administration – saying that HIS investigation was essentially an impeachment hearing.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi squelched that idea as being a bit premature. Instead, she concocted the impeachment “inquiry” concept as a precursor to a legitimate hearing. It was only a temporary setback for Nadler since the impeachment process would eventually have to come to his Committee.
Anyone who holds any hope that Nadler will conduct a fair and nonpartisan hearing does not know the guy. He has already accused Trump of every crime in the book. He even claims that Trump criminally colluded with Russian even though Special Counsel Robert Mueller made it VERY clear that he had not – nor had anyone associated with the Trump campaign.
Nadler insists that the Mueller Report accused Trump of at least 10 counts of obstruction of justice – even though he left that decision to the higher-ups at the Department of Justice – and they declared that NONE of the examples of POSSIBLE obstruction rose to the level of a crime. End of subject.
Some Democrats – apparently including Pelosi – want to limit the charges in any Articles of Impeachment to abuse of power associated with the allegations that Trump attempted to enter into an inappropriate quid pro quo with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Others – including Nadler – want to include every conceivable charge – even those discredited in the Mueller Report.
If we were dealing with a court-of-law, all the charges leveled against Trump would not likely survive the first Motion to Dismiss. But this is not a court-of-law. Impeachment is a political process, and Nadler is the consummate political creature. His only interest is to create enough cover for the Democrat majority to impeach Trump.
If you think the Schiff inquiry was marred by political acrimony and shenanigans, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
So, there ‘tis.