“There is no distinctly American criminal class – except Congress.”
A Seinfeld Impeachment (It’s About Nothing)
Remember the running gag on Seinfeld that the whole show was about “nothing”? This is going to be a “Seinfeld impeachment”: it, too, is about nothing.
Rush Limbaugh was precise last week in describing the desperation and hysteria now besetting the Dems because no matter how hard they try, they’ve been unable to reverse the results of the 2016 election.
…Even people who should know better — such as Peggy Noonan and Chris Wallace — are saying that the transcript and the complaint are a sufficient basis to conclude that Trump’s conversation with Zelensky constituted impeachable conduct. It’s unfashionable to do so, but let’s stick to the facts and the law.
In the conversation, Trump asked Zelensky to commence (or recommence) two investigations. The first is in aid of the ongoing Barr-Durham investigation into the abuses of power by the CIA and FBI in conducting the spy-op against Trump and his 2016 campaign:
“I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people … The server, they say, Ukraine has it.” (Ellipses in original. According to the release, ellipses indicate inaudible content.)
CrowdStrike is a cloud-based internet security firm that the DNC hired to investigate how hackers — later identified as Russian security agents — had stolen DNC and Clinton emails. Some of the computer servers from which the Russians operated to intercept the emails were (are?) believed to be located in Ukraine.
Trump went on, but before he did he indicated that he was switching subjects:
“The other thing. There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”
In 2018, Joe Biden bragged publicly that he told the Ukrainian government that unless a prosecutor who was investigating, among other things, the gas company Burisma, was fired, he would have withheld $1 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine. At the time, Biden’s son, Hunter, was a member of the board of directors of Burisma. Hunter Biden was hired without any expertise in Burisma’s business.
In the first instance, Trump was asking for Ukrainian help in investigating the background of the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation — the spy-op that the CIA and FBI mounted against his campaign. That investigation is being conducted here by Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John Durham. Trump’s request is for Ukrainian help in that investigation.
That request is not only unimpeachable conduct, but it’s also specifically permitted by a U.S.-Ukraine treaty signed during the Clinton administration.
In the second instance, Trump asked Zelensky to look into Biden’s action in demanding the prosecutor’s firing in exchange for receiving $1 billion in aid. That, too, is a crime for which Biden could still be liable to prosecution. Here again, there’s nothing wrong or inappropriate under the treaty about Trump’s request. Just because someone is your political opponent doesn’t mean he’s exempt from prosecution (at least unless the opponent’s name is Clinton).
Trump’s request regarding Biden’s admitted misconduct does seem politically aimed. But there’s nothing in the treaty that excludes evidence of a crime because it may be of political benefit to anyone.
The problem, if there is one, is Trump’s using the names of Barr and Rudy Giuliani, one of his personal lawyers, interchangeably. Then again, there’s no requirement that the president pick a diplomat to perform a diplomatic mission, and there’s no ban on him using his own lawyer to do so.
…When you read the complaint — please do — you will see that it reads like a carefully prepared legal brief. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that the “whistleblower” (who may have been a CIA employee stationed at the White House) had a lot of help crafting it.
…We don’t know if Schiff and his staff helped the whistleblower prepare his (her? their?) complaint, but it’s entirely likely.
…The allegations in the whistleblower complaint and the facts shown by the transcript are nothing. There’s nothing in either document to indicate Trump committed the “high crimes and misdemeanors” that the Constitution sets as the criteria for impeachment.
When this impeachment attempt fails — as it will — the Dems will try something else before the 2020 election. From a few reports in the Washington Post we can infer that they’re preparing to say Trump is complicit in any interference in the 2020 election by Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, or the Gambino crime family.
Mark these words: if Trump is reelected next year, the Dems — and their partisans in the intelligence community and the media — will maintain a steady drumbeat of these sorts of charges against him. Their political hysteria won’t allow them to stop.