Opinion | Morgan Liddick: A real Schiff-storm
On your Right
“I know a guy whose friend told him that he knows someone who overheard a White House staffer complain that President Donald Trump rented the Lincoln bedroom to Satan …”
That wasn’t a statement from last Wednesday’s impeachment “hearing,” which featured none of the protections against persecution-by-prosecution Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence developed over the past millennium of experience with malign court proceedings by corrupt officials. But it may as well have been.
I watched the House Intelligence Committee hearing Wednesday until I decided that I had better things to do with my morning. Root canal work without anesthetic was on the list. Presided over by a congenital liar obsessed with reversing the 2016 election, it featured questions like Democrat Joaquin Castro’s “… it seems to me that the president of the United States either committed extortion and bribery of a foreign official or attempted extortion and bribery of a foreign official. … Isn’t that right?” I’ve removed the repetitive parts, but not the emphasis. He also insinuated that what the committee was dealing with was like murder or robbery. Except without the murder. Or the robbery. Or anything else, save perhaps multiple assaults on the English language. It was, from first to last, a catastrophe for the get-Trump, torch-and-pitchfork mob.
There was plenty of flaming from the left side of the aisle, accompanied by character assassination, tittle-tattle, rumor, gossip and innuendo. There was testimony by Democrats questioning their two “star witnesses,” much of it embellishing the witnesses’ words. The general loopiness might have been best summed up by Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley’s comment that “Hearsay can be much better than direct testimony.”
The Democrats’ two leads — Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent and Acting Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor — were wet firecrackers. When cross-questioned, they admitted no firsthand knowledge of the content of the telephone calls between Trump and Zelinsky. Rep. Jim Jordan’s queries revealed not only had they no firsthand knowledge, they had no secondhand nor thirdhand knowledge of extortion, bribery or like crimes supposedly at the heart of this process. When pressed, Taylor admitted that in a telephone conversation, the Ukrainian president said flat out that there was “no quid pro quo” and that he felt “no pressure” from the president, exactly as others with direct knowledge had said.
The best was Rep. John Ratcliffe who, after a couple of questions about the nature and substance of the putatively objectionable call, pulled the Texas card and asked Kent and Taylor the straightforward question “Can either of you name an impeachable offense in that phone call?” It was a painful moment. Both men looked at each other and … crickets. Then Chairman Adam Schiff broke in to rescue them, and a verbal kerfuffle ensued. Afterward, sensing an opening the chairman asked the ambassador to respond, and he did: “I just want to remind everybody, I’m not here for that. I don’t know.” Thus, the truth: This entire business is a cooked-up scheme. There was more cooking Thursday, when former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch testified that she was scarred by Trump’s removing her from her position but admitted under cross-questioning that she had no personal knowledge of any criminal behavior by Trump and little contact with anyone on his team.
Not that anyone running this travesty cares. Neither do they care that the entire business is doomed to failure in the U.S. Senate. They wish only to damage the president’s chances for reelection, which thinking Democrats fear he already has sewn up, given the weak and divided nature of their gaggle of candidates. The nonsense in the Intelligence Committee is only the latest of many iterations in their one-note “down with Donald Trump” samba.
In 2016, Trump’s bad character was trumped (no pun) by Hillary’s worse character and his putative lawbreaking by her actual lawbreaking. The attempted coup-by-Russian-collusion-accusation and the ensuing Mueller probe failed miserably, despite the laws broken and constitutional protections violated to push the process. Now we are seeing the repertory version of the Mueller probe, only with Ukraine at the center, not Russia. After a suitable amount of sound and fury it, too, will come to naught.
But Democrats will not stop. They can’t. They’ve raised the mob’s blood lust too high to fail, so they will continue to gnaw at the constitutional structure of the nation in their blind fury to destroy the president, until nothing remains of it.
We will all miss it when it’s gone. Starting with them.
Morgan Liddick’s column “On Your Right” publishes Tuesdays in the Summit Daily News. Liddick spent 27 years working for the U.S. Foreign Service, primarily living abroad. He also spent 12 years teaching U.S. history and Western civilization at community colleges in Colorado and Texas. He lived in Summit County as recently as 2015. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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