The idea of impeaching President Donald Trump was always based on the animosity that certain congressional Democrats have for a president who won an election they believed belonged to them and their anointed one, Hillary Clinton. On Sept. 24, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that the House of Representatives will move forward with a formal impeachment inquiry.
In doing so, Pelosi, who until now had a well-deserved reputation for being a very shrewd politician, may have committed the greatest political blunder in American history. The blatantly partisan nature of her announcement is so obvious that one could be forgiven for thinking the whole thing is some kind of elaborate prank gone wrong.
What Happened to Collusion?
The first thing to note about this enormously consequential decision is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the debunked Russian collusion story that dominated the headlines for more than two years. Almost from the moment that Trump walked into the White House for the first time as president of the United States, a few Democrats have been demanding his impeachment. The Russia collusion hoax, however, added some substance to their otherwise entirely baseless accusations.
As the special counsel investigation into the president’s alleged collusion with Russia ground on, several leading Democrats continuously assured the nation that the final report from that investigation would seal the deal, so to speak, on impeachment. It did not. The report provided no justification for impeachment on the grounds either of conspiracy with the Russians or obstruction of justice.
Suddenly, a story emerged about the president’s allegedly inappropriate overture to a foreign leader during a phone call. It has now been confirmed that the foreign leader in question was Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The problem for Democrats is that the current front-runner for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination, Joe Biden, had – while he was vice president – coerced the Ukrainian government to fire its nation’s top prosecutor, who happened to be investigating a Ukrainian energy company. Biden’s son Hunter was on the board of directors of that company, and how Hunter secured that position in the first place is still unclear.
Panic Over Biden’s Ukraine Scandal?
Pelosi has for many months been resisting the rush to impeachment, so why is she now suddenly behind the idea? The answer, almost certainly, is Joe Biden’s sudden exposure to a lot of questions about his dealings with Ukraine, his son’s improbable ascension to a directorship with a Ukrainian energy company, and the former VP’s threat to withhold a billion dollars in financial aid to the Ukrainian government unless it got rid of the prosecutor investigating the company for which Biden’s son worked.
Biden’s Ukraine scandal is almost certainly going to derail whatever chance he had of securing the Democratic Party nomination. Thus, his party pushes through a major announcement on impeachment in order to shift focus away from Uncle Joe.
As for the phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president, certain recent developments indicate how flimsy and politically motivated the impeachment talk really is. Of greatest importance is that the so-called whistleblower who originally filed a complaint about Trump’s alleged bribing of the Ukrainian president has only secondhand knowledge of the call. This as-yet-unidentified individual did not personally listen to the call. That, in itself, could be a major problem for the president’s opponents.
Do Facts Matter?
Mere hours before Speaker Pelosi made her announcement about impeachment, President Trump authorized the release of an unredacted transcript of his call to Zelensky. That decision triggered a reaction from Democrats that was at once hilarious and deeply troubling. The narrative immediately promoted by Democrats is that this transcript is irrelevant.
Facts do not matter, apparently. The unedited transcript of this telephone conversation – which could be made public on Sept. 25 – is, according to Democrats, immaterial to finding out what Trump said to Zelensky. “[S]imply releasing the transcript does not come close to ending the need of the American public and the Congress to see what actually happened,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Apparently – and inexplicably – all that matters to Democrats is the whistleblower’s interpretation of what Trump said to Zelensky, while the written record of what the president said is of no concern.
It is a dangerous enough precedent that the White House is authorizing the release of a transcript of a telephone conversation between a US president and a foreign leader. That the president authorized the release against the advice of the Attorney General and other senior administration officials perhaps indicates that Trump is confident that his decision is worth it politically. If he is right, Pelosi and her party may have just stepped into the abyss.