A bulldog in defense of the Trump administration thus far in impeachment proceedings brought by House Democrats regarding the Ukraine scandal, Rep. Matt Gaetz outdid himself last week.
It was during the official House Judiciary Committee markup on Thursday of the articles of impeachment being brought against President Donald Trump, according to Politico, that the Florida Republican tore into allegations the president had illegitimately leveraged U.S. aid to Ukraine to try to spur criminal investigations into potential 2020 opponent Joe Biden.
Instead, Gaetz proposed an amendment to the articles to substituted the of Hunter Biden for Joe Biden, Gaetz said, going on to argue Trump had legitimate cause to pursue international corruption investigations into the former vice president’s son with regard to his lucrative role as a board member for the Ukrainian energy firm Bursima Holdings — a role many claim Biden was unqualified for and had no business holding.
“Hunter Biden and Burisma, that’s an interesting story and I think just about every American knows there’s something up with that,” Gaetz said. “Maybe I’ll use language familiar to the former vice president: Come on, man. This looks dirty as it is.”
“Hunter Biden was making more than five times more than a board member for Exxon Mobile,” Gaetz added. “I’ve heard of that company.”
And, referencing a bombshell July report from The New Yorker on Hunter Biden’s questionable lifestyle choices prior to his role on the board at Burisma, the two-term representative — and proud antagonizer — would go on to make the case against Biden’s qualifications for a seat on the board crystal clear.
If ever there were concrete evidence to support the fact that Biden’s role at the firm was no more than that of an influence peddler, Gaetz said, it was The New Yorker’s incredibly detailed report on his inability to resolve problems with The Hertz Corp. after a days-long bender resulted in his totaling of a rental car in 2016.
“[Biden] called Hertz,” Gaetz said, then read from The New Yorker piece, written by Adam Entous: “The Hertz rental officer told me [Entous] he found a crack pipe in the car and a line of white powder residue. Hertz called the Prescott police department and officers filed a narcotics offense report, listing the items seized from the car, including a plastic baggie containing a ‘white powdery substance,’ a Secret Service business card, credit cards, and Hunter’s driver’s license.
“That is what we would call evidence,” Gaetz said.
Check it out here. The relevant Gaetz quotes start about the 53-second mark.
“It’s a little hard to believe that Burisma hired Hunter Biden to resolve their international disputes when he could not resolve his own dispute with Hertz rental car over leaving cocaine and a crack pipe in the car,” Gaetz railed.
Gaetz went on to discuss other parts of The New Yorker article detailing Hunter’s Biden’s drug use, then talked about testimony about Burisma’s known problems with corruption.
“We have the ability to show that Burisma is corrupt. We have the ability to show that Hunter Biden is corrupt,” Gaetz eventually said in closing. “That totally exculpates the president.
“Because there is no way in the United States of America that honestly pursuing actual corruption is an impeachable offense,” he added.
Now, admittedly, Gaetz may not have been the best bearer for this message considering there has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding a citation for suspicion of driving under the influence faced by Gaetz himself in 2008, according to USA Today.
And Gaetz was reprimanded for this by Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson — who was out of line himself at one point during the hearing, claiming Trump’s treatment of Ukrainian officials was similar to that of a low-life kidnapper and extortionist.
Do you think Hunter Biden was hired by Burisma to buy influence with the Obama administration?
100% (24 Votes)
0% (0 Votes)
Still, the messenger and the delivery are neither here nor there.
Gaetz raised some very valid questions.
With a record of drug problems and absolutely no related job experience, why on earth would Burisma take on Hunter Biden with such a huge salary?
Why on earth was Hunter Biden taking a job with a reputedly corrupt, little-known energy firm in a nation where his father was the lead on diplomatic relations for the United States?
Of course, in a committee overseen by anti-Trump partisan Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, those questions are irrelevant, and Gaetz’s amendment failed.
Democrats are after Trump, and they don’t care how they get to him.
Despite impeachment and unclear re-election prospects, presidential favor is as in demand as ever.
US President Donald Trump at NATO gathering in London this week, Dec. 2019. (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Ahead of his departure to London, President Donald Trump declared that the ongoing House impeachment inquiry was a “hoax” designed to vaporize his legitimacy on the world stage. Apparently, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn’t check the schedule.
“The Democrats, the radical-left Democrats, the do-nothing Democrats decided when I’m going to NATO—this was set up a year ago—that when I’m going to NATO, that was the exact time,” Trump said. “This is one of the most important journeys that we make as president.” It was a curious line of argument from a politician who has repeatedly called in question the raison d’etre of the organization he was traveling to confer with.
But the statement belies the reality: President Trump has no such legitimacy crisis, not any more than he’s ever had anyway. Like “Rex,” his former secretary of state, Donald Trump is here. And as his vanquished foe Hillary Clinton conceded in 2016: “Donald Trump is going to be our president.” And, indeed, he is.
Trump’s approval rating stands where it has traditionally stood—in the low 40s—despite the various contortions of his harrowing first term in office. Trump, heading into his fourth year as president, has become a political switchblade—just when he looks as if his standing contracts, he manages to vault violently and successfully forward yet again. His re-election prospects are a challenge, but hardly an insurmountable one.
Trump did the impossible once, what then-House Speaker Paul Ryan described in 2016 as the most impressive political feat of his lifetime. And absent new evidence, Pelosi’s impeachment looks more nuisance than killing stroke—and a potentially, ultimately counterproductive gambit by his domestic foes.
A senior administration official explained the rationale for why the White House is not complying with the impeachment inquiry: What’s the point? Such a concession “shifts the burden,” this official said on Monday, on proceedings Americans are increasingly tuning out.
Players in Tehran, in Berlin, in Beijing, may still be waiting this president out, but there are elements that are clearly not: panicky, establishment Democrats that are fielding wildcard, late entries into the presidential race, as well as the rowdy gang of inside baseball players that have made hay in the Trump years.
One needed to have only tune into the proceedings last month at the Republican Winter Palace, Trump’s compound at Mar-A-Lago, Florida, to see a show of tepid confidence—but confidence, nonetheless—about the coming year. The Center for Security Policy, the ideas shop of archconservative knife-fighter and hawk Frank Gaffney and pugnacious former National Security Council chief of staff Fred Fleitz, put on a lavish fundraiser in essentially full public view last week.
The propriety of the affair at a resort owned by the president’s family was maligned by the mainstream press, most notably Gaffney’s chief tormenter, The Washington Post. But credit where credit is due: it’s not like Fleitz and Gaffney tried to hide their angle. CSP put the whole thing on YouTube. Private audiences that Gaffney and his set, including Virginia Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of the Supreme Court justice, have enjoyed with Trump, are a matter of public record.
Also on-hand at Mar-A-Lago: Andy Biggs, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Trump’s rump in Congress. Biggs has been considered an ally of foreign policy restraint, but his presence at a CSP gathering is emblematic of the continued fight in the Trump era, seen almost nightly on the increasingly contradictory Fox News, over what “realism” or “principled realism” really means.
Rounding out the speakers’ list was Christopher Ruddy, Trump pal, Newsmax CEO and all-around impresario of the center-right circuit. Gaffney and company may be toxic in a Democratic Washington, but they’re right at home as long the Grand Old Party controls the Oval. Ruddy himself, I’m told, is on a hiring spree, looking to beef up his Newsmax TV ahead of the election—the last conservative challenge to Fox’s primacy under Lachlan Murdoch, seen as more moderate than his legendary father.
Ruddy has also purchased the new radio show, the impeachment “War Room,” of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, former Breitbart editor and Nigel Farage aide Raheem Kassam, and former chief Trump spokesman Jason Miller. Bannon remains central to all of this, spearheading, along with the political architecture of CSP, the resurrection of the Committee on the Present Danger, now an anti-China watchdog that seeks to quietly pressure the president not to cave to Xi Jinping ahead of the next election. The group is helmed by Brian Kennedy, former president of the Claremont Institute, dubbed by The New York Review of Books as “Trump’s Brains” and a recent White House recipient of the National Humanities Medal.
Finally, perhaps no outside group has been more effective in the Trump years than the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a ruthless, some might say unscrupulous, foe of the Iranian regime and power player in Washington. FDD recently crossed a rubicon other organizations in the capital assiduously avoid: they registered to lobby, to what end remains not fully clear.
Come next autumn, the music may, finally, stop on the Trump show. But Washington is teeming with savvy operators that are quietly betting otherwise.
Curt Mills is senior writer for The American Conservative.
Much as he gleefully signaled in the days leading up to the election that the Trump campaign had “something up their sleeves” to derail Hillary Clinton, Rudolph Giuliani once again teased the press last week that the Trump team was preparing to “make a fuss” on the one-year anniversary of Robert Mueller’s assignment as special counsel for the Russia investigation. Yesterday was the day, and the Trump defense brigade unveiled its extravaganza. The Washington Post reported:
President Trump’s allies are waging an increasingly aggressive campaign to undercut the Russia investigation by exposing the role of a top-secret FBI source. The effort reached new heights Thursday as Trump alleged that an informant had improperly spied on his 2016 campaign and predicted that the ensuing scandal would be “bigger than Watergate!”
As usual Trump’s ignorance of facts and history is monumental. Perhaps it was the first scandal that came to mind since everyone’s always comparing him to Richard Nixon.
This is the latest smokescreen cooked up by House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes and the House Freedom Caucus, who are working overtime to find ways to take the heat off of their beloved leader. You may recall that Nunes has threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt of Congress for failing to reveal the name of this secret informant. A New York Times report that it’s possible this same informant may have spoken to former Trump campaign officials Carter Page and George Papadopoulos seems to have ratcheted up the frenzy.
As is his wont, Giuliani took this and ran with it, telling the hosts of “Fox & Friends” on Thursday morning, “I’m shocked to hear that they put a spy in the campaign of a major party candidate, or maybe two spies. That would be the biggest scandal in the history of this town, at least involving law enforcement.” He further claimed that this proves there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government because “that spy should have been enough to tell them, ‘These people were not talking to the Russians.’ If they had incriminating evidence, they’d be able to wrap this investigation up. I wouldn’t be sitting here.”
Actually, we know for a fact that the Trump campaign was crawling with Russians and that people at the highest levels were talking to them. There are a handful of former Trump officials either under indictment or cooperating after pleading guilty to various crimes, so Giuliani probably shouldn’t count his Chicken Kievs quite yet.
But this “fuss” about the so-called spy in the Trump campaign is just one part of the new Nunes-Freedom Caucus-Giuliani-Trump strategy to deal with the Mueller investigation. The congressional hitmen will continue to harass the Department of Justice and the FBI, assisted by Donald Trump’s mighty Twitter feed. It may lead to Sessions and others being fired, including of course Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. But more likely Team Trump’s job is just to lay down covering fire and keep Fox News amply provided with bizarro-world storylines like these:
These fantasy stories are having an effect, by the way. MSNBC ran a focus group of Trump voters in Wisconsin, hosted by Emory University and pollster Peter Hart, earlier this week.Here’s a sampling of how they view the Mueller probe:
Unidentified male: They call it a farce by – created by the deep state.
Unidentified female: I believe it was a witch hunt to overturn an election. He actually is there finding stuff that should be investigated on the Democratic Party’s side and all of this stuff that they say that Trump did they’re finding out that the Democrats did.
Unidentified male: It’s been going on for a year and a half. They’ve found nothing. They told, “Oh, there’s something, there’s something. We’ll find it, we’ll find it.” There`s nothing. When Hillary was secretary of state, she made a deal with uranium enrichment selling it to the Russians. That’s known. But they’re still looking for stuff.
They characterized Mueller as a “desperate,” “unethical,” “partisan” and a “liar.” So the president’s base is firmly in his camp, although they all agreed it would be unwise for him to fire Mueller because it would “look suspicious.” That suggests they are sadly uniformed about the mountain of roiling suspicion that grows larger every single day of this presidency.
Giuliani made the rounds over the last couple of days making another point that may be more salient. First, he said that Mueller’s office had told the Trump team that it would follow the Department of Justice guidelines that say a sitting president cannot be indicted or prosecuted. On one show he even relayed a colorful story about how Mueller himself refused to say that and one of his minions piped up, reminding Giuliani of the scene in “The Godfather” when Don Corleone admonishes Sonny, saying, “Never tell anyone what you’re thinking outside the family again.”
We only have Giuliani’s word for this, so who knows whether it’s true. But the upshot is interesting: Giuliani said numerous times in different venues that the only remedy for presidential misconduct is impeachment. Normally one might think a president’s lawyer would not be on television talking up impeachment as the proper way to deal with his client’s scandal. This makes more sense, however, when you realize that Giuliani is also saying that even if Trump did conspire with the Russian government to sabotage Clinton’s campaign in return for future favors, there was nothing wrong with that:
And of course, if Trump’s team had received “dirt” as promised they would have used it like the patriots they are. So no harm, no foul.
This might sound like just another Rudy-ism but he’s not the only one making this argument. According to CNN, Michael Carvin, a GOP campaign law expert who is representing the Trump campaign in the lawsuit brought by the Democratic National Committee against Trump and several Russian and campaign affiliates, has floated a similar theory. Carvin apparently argued that even if there had been discussion between Russia and the Trump campaign to change the party’s platform and influence voters to oppose Hillary Clinton, “That conspiracy is not about an unlawful act. That’s all quite legal. It’s called democracy.”
Trump’s defenders are prepared to argue that if a presidential candidate conspires with a foreign adversary to sabotage a rival’s campaign — and secretly offer favors for the benefit of that adversary — it’s not a crime. That’s the way the game is played.
Richard Nixon famously said, “If the president does it, it’s not illegal.” It appears that Trump is taking that concept to a whole other level, especially when you consider he wasn’t president when this stuff was happening: “If the right presidential candidate does it, it is positively virtuous.”
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., who has opposed the impeachment of President Trump for months, is planning to jump to the Republican Party.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., who has opposed the impeachment of President Trump for months, is planning to jump to the Republican Party.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag
A conservative-leaning Democrat from New Jersey who defied his party in opposing the impeachment of President Trump is expected to switch parties and become a Republican.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a first-term Blue Dog Democrat who represents a swing district in southern New Jersey, intends to change parties after some of Van Drew’s internal polling showed that he was becoming increasingly unpopular in his purple district, according to a senior Democratic aide.
As reports of Van Drew jumping to the GOP began to surface, President Trump thanked him on Twitter, calling Van Drew “very smart.”
Van Drew was one of two Democrats who defected from their party in October in voting against formalizing the impeachment inquiry into Trump.
The district he represents, New Jersey’s second congressional district, is a battleground section of the state that in 2016 voted for Trump by a slim margin.
Van Drew’s decision to join the Republican ranks illustrates the challenging political calculus facing moderate Democrats who represent counties with significant numbers of Trump supporters ahead of next week’s House vote to impeach the president. Some Democrats in these swing counties worry that a near party-line vote to impeach Trump could backfire for Democrats in the November election.
The House on Wednesday is expected to vote on two articles of impeachment against Trump for allegedly attempting to enlist Ukraine to help with his 2020 re-election bid. Democrats say they have the votes to approve the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over the Ukraine pressure campaign. After passing in the House, the proceedings will move to the Republican-controlled Senate for a trial, where lawmakers are expected to acquit the president of any wrongdoing.
According to a poll conducted by his campaign, only about 24% of likely voters in Van Drew’s district said he should be re-elected, with nearly 60% saying they wanted another Democrat in the seat. Those figures raised fears that he was especially vulnerable to a Democratic primary challenger, the senior Democratic aide said.
Support from top Democrats in the state was also collapsing. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday accused Van Drew of choosing “his political career over our Constitution.”
Murphy added: “Despite knowing full well that the President has abused the powers of his office, he’s now willing to enable Donald Trump just to try to salvage his own election.”
But Republican National Committee spokeswoman Mandi Merritt said Van Drew flipping parties shows the political risk of backing impeachment.
“Even Democrats know this entire impeachment witch hunt is a sham,” Merritt tweeted. “It is clear that in today’s rabid Democrat Party, moderates need not apply.”
Multiple attempts to reach Van Drew and his spokeswoman for comment were not returned.
Republicans and Democrats in New Jersey have responded critically after reports that Democratic Representative Jeff Van Drew plans to switch political parties, with one GOP challenger calling him “desperate” and another calling him a “weasel.”
Van Drew, who is a moderate Democrat, reportedly told his aides on Saturday that he planned to officially switch parties and become a Republican, according toThe New York Times. The representative has been a staunch critic of his Democratic colleagues impeachment inquiry against the Donald Trump, and reportedly asked the president directly on Friday for his support as he made the decision.
But it’s unclear that the decision would actually benefit the New Jersey congressman politically, as Republicans in the state’s 2nd district have responded negatively.
“How stupid does Desperate Jeff Van Drew think South Jersey Republicans are? Desperate Jeff knew exactly what Washington Democrats were about when he ran for Congress two years ago,” Republican congressional candidate Brian Fitzherbert, who would be running against Van Drew, said in a Saturday statement, Politicoreported.
David Richter, another GOP candidate for the party’s nomination in the district, called Van Drew an “absolute weasel,” according toThe Press of Atlantic City. He asserted that he’d be amazed if Republicans who have long voted against the congressman would now back him if he switched political parties.
Fitzherbert and Richter are two of three Republicans already vying for their party’s 2020 nomination in the district. The other is Bob Patterson of Ocean City. Newsweek has reached out to the campaign’s of all three for additional comment on Van Drew’s reported decision.
Republican chairman of Atlantic County Keith Davis told Politico that his party’s nomination process would move forward like normal, whether or not Van Drew is involved. “We have a process, and we’ll see how it goes,” he said. “We’ve got three candidates in the race right now, we have a convention in the spring and I’m sure it will be an interesting one.”
Meanwhile, Democrats in New Jersey have also voiced their criticism.
Van Drew “has chosen his political career over our Constitution. Despite knowing full well that the President has abused the powers of his office, he’s now willing to enable Donald Trump just to try to salvage his own election,” the state’s Democratic Governor Phil Murphy said in a Saturday tweet. Murphy suggested that the move would inevitably cost Van Drew his seat, adding: “I am confident that a Democrat who shares the values and priorities of our Democratic Party will hold this seat.”
Newsweek has reached out to Van Drew’s press secretary for comment.
The congressman already voted against the rules governing the impeachment inquiry, expressing his opposition to the Democratic-led investigation. He suggested last week that he planned to vote against the president’s impeachment as well.
“As I said before, my position never changed unless there was something new and unusual — and there is nothing new and unusual,” CNN’s Manu Raju reported Van Drew as saying.
Trump publicly thanked Van Drew for his opposition to the impeachment push in a Saturday tweet.
“Thank you for your honesty Jeff. All of the Democrats know you are right, but unlike you, they don’t have the ‘guts’ to say so!” he wrote. The president later re-tweeted the news that Van Drew was reportedly planning to switch his party affiliation. “Wow, that would be big. Always heard Jeff is very smart!” Trump tweeted.
If the congressman actually announces the change as has been reported, it will go directly counter to his previous statements to the press. In November, Van Drew told reporters that he was “absolutely not changing” his political party.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already knows how this whole impeachment thing is going to go down ― it’ll end exactly how President Donald Trump wants it to end.
Speaking on Fox News to host Sean Hannity, the Kentucky senator straight-up said on Thursday that he’d take his cues from Trump’s lawyers if and when the Senate has an impeachment trial.
“Everything I do during [the impeachment process], I’m coordinating with White House counsel,” McConnell said on Fox. “There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position, as to how to handle this.”
The House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach Trump on Friday morning, which means it will soon go to a vote before the entire House. Once the articles of impeachment get through the house, it’ll go before the Senate, which much have a trial. But that doesn’t necessarily mean McConnell has to take the trial seriously.
McConnell lamented that he even had to deal with impeachment, but said he was looking to get it over with soon.
“We have no choice but to take it up,” he told Hannity. “But we’ll be working through this process, hopefully in a fairly short period of time in total coordination with the White House counsel’s office.”
And in case he hadn’t really driven the point home, McConnell later confirmed to Hannity ― a news host who campaigned with Trump at one of his rallies ― that there was zero shot Trump would be removed from office so long as he was leading the Senate. He said the evidence ― such as Trump’s EU ambassador flatly admitting under oath that he helped the president initiate a quid-pro-quo with Ukraine ― just wasn’t any good.
“The case is so darn weak coming over from the House. We all know how it’s going to end,” McConnell said on Fox News. “There is no chance the president is going to be removed from office.”
Cover: US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks during a press conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, December 10, 2019. (Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
The divisive state of American politics as seen through holiday dinner table conversation at three typical but disparate households got the “Saturday Night Live” treatment with the help of a hacked Google Nest indoor video cameras.
At the dinner table of a conservative home, a woman played by cast member Heidi Gardner laments the impeachment process unfolding against President Donald Trump.
He’s guilty of “the crime of being an alpha male who actually gets things done,” she says.
Meantime, the patriarch of an African American family, portrayed by Kenan Thompson, addresses a topic foremost in his mind: “Do y’all think ‘Bad Boys III’ is going to be good or not?”
Thompson says there’s no need to talk politics because a second term for the president inevitable.
“Trump is definitely getting impeached and then definitely getting reelected,” he says. “I’m good.”
Back at the conservative family table, a father played by Beck Bennett leads a prayer: “Thank you for no more kneeling in the NFL. That was very hard for me.”
A liberal family prays at its dinner table, but instead of ending with “amen,” its members say “a-women” in unison.
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Time magazine’s Person of the Year, teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg, appeared in the sketch to offer wide-angle commentary about the state of politics and family. She was played by Kate McKinnon.
“I can’t believe I’m saying this to a 70-year-old man,” McKinnon’s Thunberg said, “but grow up.”
Another sketch presented “SNL’s” take on Netflix’s “A Marriage Story,” but instead of Scarlett Johansson, this week’s host, and Adam Driver as the stars, this one featured Washington power couple Kellyanne Conway and barbed Trump critic George Conway.
Seated at a restaurant, Kellyanne, played by McKinnon, reads a tweet from George: “Anyone who works for Trump is a demon.”
“George Conway,” Kellyanne says, “do not sub-tweet me at the dinner table, please.”
Later the pair expresses mutual affinity, with George saying, “I love that when Ann Coulter set us up she thought we were perfect for each other.”
On news segment “Weekend Update,” co-host Colin Jost laments that Trump could be poised to survive impeachment and win reelection in 2020.
“Only Democrats could figure out a way to lose twice in the same year,” he says.
Colleague Michael Che agreed, arguing the U.S. Senate is too white to vote in favor of removing the president.
“It’d be like if Obama got voted out of office by the Wu-Tang Clan,” he says.
The House Judiciary Committee, led by Chairman Jerrold Nadler, passed the two articles of impeachment Friday against President Donald Trump: abuse of power and obstructing Congress.
After more than 14 hours of rancorous deliberation the committee voted to approve the articles of impeachment against Trump by a 23 to 17 margin, along party lines. It will now go to the full House for a vote, where it is expected that some Democrats in swing states may vote against impeachment.
On Thursday, there were five separate votes regarding the impeachment article. One of the votes was to eliminate the first article on abuse of power and the second was to take out a reference to former Vice President Joe Biden, whose son Hunter Biden, became a central figure in the Republican deliberations. The controversy surrounds Hunter Biden’s previous position as a paid board member of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. His firm Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, “received regular transfers into one of its accounts — usually more than $166,000 a month — from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia,” according to an investigation by John Solomon at The Hill.
Democrats began pushing for impeachment (again) after an unnamed whistleblower accused President Trump of a ‘quid pro quo’ with Ukraine. The whistleblower, who did not have any direct knowledge of the president’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, reported to the Intelligence Community inspector general that Trump had warned Ukraine that if it did not investigate the Biden’s the U.S. would not release the aid.
Guess the anti-Trump whistleblower didn’t believe Trump would actually publicly release his transcripts of the call with the foreign leader but that’s exactly what happened. The transcripts showed no ‘quid pro quo,’ bribery, or extortion as claimed by the Democrats.
However, that didn’t seem to matter to House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, D-CA, or Nadler, D-NY, who continued their impeachment proceedings against Trump.
The Democrats couldn’t charge Trump with bribery or extortion, so they charged him instead with obstruction and the very general term abuse of power. Republicans fought hard on Capitol Hill Thursday night but they are outnumbered by Democrats and could not stop the partisan vote.
On Thursday, there was also a third vote to note that the aid withheld for a short time period from Ukraine was eventually released and the final fourth vote was to strike the entire second amendment on obstruction of Congress. There was also a fifth vote to strike the entire proceeding.
For weeks now, Democratic members of Congress, career State Department and National Security Council experts and their allies in the media suggest questions about Joe Biden and a Ukrainian gas company and Ukraine meddling in the 2016 election were nothing more than debunked conspiracy theories.
In reality, the facts on both these issues are clearly substantiated. And as I pointed out last week, many of the witnesses that House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff called during the impeachment proceedings confirmed concerns about both.
Here is a detailed timeline of key events in the Ukraine scandal, complete with the corroborating evidence. You make your own judgement as to what happened.
Vice President Joe Biden named by
President Obama to be U.S. point man on Ukrainian crisis after Euromaidan
Revolution of Dignity leads to ouster of Viktor Yanukovych as Ukrainian president.
February 21, 2014
George Soros’ Open Society
Foundation publishes anticorruption strategy for Ukraine identifying the Anti-Corruption
Action Centre, a nonprofit that Soros’ foundation and the U.S. State Department
jointly fund, as the leading edge of the foundation’s strategy for Ukraine.
New Ukrainian elections set for
May 2014 and Petro Poroshenko emerges as top Western-friendly candidate for
April 13, 2014:
Devon Archer, the business
partner of Hunter Biden, son of the VP, and Christopher Heinz, stepson of
Secretary of State John Kerry, is named an independent director of the
Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings.
Holdings makes two payments to the Morgan Stanley account of Devon Archer’s and
Hunter Biden’s firm Rosemont Seneca Bohai in the amounts of $83,333.33 and $29,424.82,
according to financial records obtained by Ukrainian authorities and the FBI.
Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s partner in Rosemont Seneca Bohai and Burisma Holdings, checks into White House for meeting with Vice President Joe Biden, according to the Secret Service’s official WAVES entry logs for the Obama White House.
April 22, 2014:
VP Joe Biden meets with Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy
Yatsenyuk and urges Ukraine to ramp up energy production to free itself from
its Russian natural gas dependence. Biden boasts that “an American team is currently in the region working with Ukraine
and its neighbors to increase Ukraine’s short-term energy supply.” Yatsenyuk
welcomes help from American “investors” in modernizing natural gas supply lines
Britain’s Serious Fraud Office
freezes $23 million in assets kept in London by Burisma Holdings and its
founder, Mykola Zlochevsky, on grounds it was fraudulently transferred from
Ukraine. Zlochevsky and Burisma deny wrongdoing.
Hunter Biden announced as a board
member for Ukraine’s largest natural gas company Burisma Holdings, which is run
by Mykola Zlochevsky, a former Cabinet official for
ousted president Victor Yanukovych.
Christopher Heinz, business
partner to Devon Archer and Hunter Biden and stepson to John Kerry, sends
email to Secretary of State’s top aides distancing himself from Archer, Biden
appointments to Burisma Holdings board, according to FOIA released to Citizens
Burisma Holdings makes two equal
$83,333.33 payments totaling $166,666.66 to the Morgan Stanley account of
Hunter Biden’s and Devon Archer’s firm Rosemont Seneca Bohai, according to the
company’s official ledger and Rosemont Seneca Bohais bank records obtained by the
FBI. Similar payments are made every month for more than a year.
Ukraine Prosecutor General Viktor
Shokin’s office opens criminal investigation of Burisma Holdings and Mykola
Zlochevsky for alleged corrupt award of gas exploration permits and eventual
looting of company, according to Ukrainian prosecutor general’s case file.
Sept. 16, 2014
Burisma Holdings makes $33,039.77 payment to Boies Schiller law firm,
according to company records.
VP Joe Biden speaks in Ukraine,
praising the decision to appoint a new head of the NABU, the new Ukrainian law
enforcement investigative arm set up by United States.
March 22, 2015:
Hunter Biden emails his father’s
longtime trusted aide, Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, with the
following message: “Have a few minutes next week to grab a cup of coffee? I
know you are impossibly busy, but would like to get your advice on a couple of
things, Best, Hunter.”
Blinken responds the same day
with an “absolutely” and added, “Look forward to seeing you.”
The records indicate the two men
were scheduled to meet the afternoon of May 27, 2015.
Burisma Holdings makes $20,000
donation to the Delaware Community Foundation in the name of Beau Biden, the
vice president’s oldest son who died of cancer, according to the company’s financial
records released by Ukraine prosecutor general’s office.
The New York Times publishes article
stating Prosecutor General Shokin’s office is investigating Burisma Holdings and
its founder Zlochecvsky, and that Hunter Biden’s participation on Burisma board
is undercutting Joe Biden’s anticorruption message in Ukraine. VP Biden office
quoted in story.
Obama White House invites leaders
of Ukraine’s general prosecutor office to Washington for a hastily arranged set
of meetings to discuss anticorruption cases, including Burisma and Party of
Regions case involving Paul Manafort..
Ukraine general prosecutor’s
office under the direction of Viktor Shokin announces the seizure of assets
from Burisma Holdings founder Mykola Zlochevsky under a continuing criminal
investigation. The seizure occurred on Feb. 2, 2016, according to the announcement.
An American representative for
Burisma Holdings, Karen Tramontano of Blue Star Strategies, seeks meeting with Undersecretary
of State Catherine A. Novelli to discuss ending the corruption allegations
against the Ukrainian gas firm. Hunter
Biden’s name was specifically invoked by the Burisma representative as a reason
the State Department should help. “Per our conversation, Karen Tramontano of
Blue Star Strategies requested a meeting to discuss with U/S Novelli USG
remarks alleging Burisma (Ukrainian energy company) of corruption.”
Secretary of State Victoria Nuland demands Ukraine “appoint
and confirm a new, clean Prosecutor General, who is committed to rebuilding the
integrity of the PGO, and investigate, indict and successfully prosecute
corruption and asset recovery cases – including locking up dirty personnel in
the PGO itself.”
VP Joe Biden engages in phone
call from Washington DC with Ukrainian president Poroshenko about U.S. loan
guarantees. It is believed in this call that Biden renews his demands that the
president fire Prosecutor General Shokin, who is overseeing the Burisma
prosecution, or risk losing the next $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees.
John Buretta, an American lawyer
hired by Burisma Holdings, seeks to contact the Acting Prosecutor General
Sevruk seeking a meeting about the Burisma investigation just hours after his
boss, Prosecutor General Shokin, was fired under pressure from VP Joe Biden,
according to email Buretta’s legal team sent the Ukraine embassy in Washington.
Burisma Holdings’ U.S. legal team
seeks help of Ukrainian embassy official Andrii Telizhenko in Washington seeking
urgent meeting with new Acting Prosecutor General of Ukraine, according to
legal team’s email to embassy.
George Kent, a senior US official
at the American embassy in Ukraine, writes a letter asking Ukrainian general
prosecutor’s office to stand down their investigation of the Soros-funded group
the Anti-Corruption Action Centre.
Burisma Holdings’ U.S. legal team
of John Buretta, Sally Painter and Karen Tramontano meets with Ukraine’s Acting
Prosecutor General Sevruk to seek resolution of Burisma criminal investigation.
American lawyers apologize for “false information” spread by U.S. government to
force the firing of Shokin and offer Prosecutor General’s office an olive
branch of arranging a meeting in Washington to clear the air.
Yurii Lutsenko named the new
Prosecutor General of Ukraine, taking over investigations that include Burisma
Holdings. VP Joe Biden later praises Lutsenko as a “solid guy” during 2018
speech at Atlantic Counsel.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Washington,
Valeriy Chaly, takes extraordinary step of writing an OpEd in The Hill intervening
in the US presidential election, slamming Trump’s policies and comments on
John Buretta, the American lawyer
for Burisma Holdings, gives interview in Kiev confirming there were criminal
cases open in 2016 in Ukraine but all have been settled, the last with a
penalty for tax violations.
Former VP Biden boasts at Council
of Foreign Relations events in Washington that he strong-armed Ukrainian
president Petro Poroshenko into firing Prosecutor General Shokin, using loan
guarantees as leverage. He also calls Shokin’s replacement, Yuriy Lutsenko,
court rules that the efforts by Ukrainian parliamentary member Sergey Leschenko
and NABU chief Artem Sytnyk to publicize the Manafort black ledger documents in
2016 were an improper foreign intervention in the American presidential
embassy in Washington issues statement confirming that in spring 2016 the DNC
contractor Alexandra Chalupa sought the embassy’s help seeking dirt on Donald
Trump and Paul Manafort and asking for Ukraine’s president to meet with an
investigative reporter working on the issue.
Food for thought: “Unless Saudi Arabia has a conversion moment that credibly repudiates the extreme wing of Islam it has practiced and taught for decades, one has a right, even a duty, to question its sincerity in the matter of the Pensacola killer.” —Cal Thomas
Political futures: “Trump’s many enemies fear he will be re-elected in 2020, given a booming economy and peace abroad. They know that they cannot remove him from office. And yet they fear that the more they try to stain him with impeachment, the more frustrated and unpopular they will become. Yet, like end-stage addicts, they simply cannot stop the behavior that is consuming them.” —Victor Davis Hanson
For the record: “If ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ now includes factoring domestic politics into dubious foreign-policy decisions (see, e.g., Obama’s withdrawal of troops from Iraq), maybe, to save time, we should start impeaching presidents before they take office — because every one of them will surely be impeachable.” —Andrew McCarthy
Belly laugh of the week: “Has there ever been a less consequential person picked to be [Time magazine’s] Person of the Year? I doubt it. I mean, Wallis Simpson, 1936’s Person of the Year, got King Edward VIII to abdicate the throne. [Greta] Thunberg can’t even get you to abdicate your air-conditioning.” —David Harsanyi
Dezinformatsiya: “I believe that President Trump is engaged in the most direct sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history. He has done everything he can to undercut the media, to try and delegitimize us, and I think his purpose is clear: to raise doubts when we report critically about him and his administration that we can be trusted.” —Fox News’s Chris Wallace, who seems to have missed the fact that the mainstream media largely cannot be trusted, particularly in its reporting on Trump
Braying jackass: “This is heartbreaking. White supremacy kills!” —Jew-hating Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) on the Jersey City murders … except the assailants were actually black supremacists
The BIG Lie: “Reagan had it wrong: Our problem isn’t big government; our problem is a government that’s been captured by the rich and the powerful.” —Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Tone deaf: “If we did not [impeach Trump], he would continue to undermine our elections. Nothing less is at stake than the central point of our democracy, of a free and fair election not to be disrupted by foreign powers.” —Nancy Pelosi, whose impeachment charade is all about “undermining our elections”
And last… “It’s encouraging to see that the Brits still understand that electing a communist anti-Semite to the PM would be a bad idea.” —Ben Shapiro