Opinion | Morgan Liddick: Another manufactured crisis

Morgan Liddock
On Your Right

Here we go.

On Wednesday, the White House released an unredacted telcon — bureaucratese for a memo about a telephone conversation — compiled from those present for President Donald Trump’s telephone conversation with Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. It makes interesting reading because it is entirely unlike the smoking, blood-spattered gun that utterly incriminates Trump that most of the media made it out to be. One can read it for one’s self, and one should; it will clarify things.

Trump and Zelenskyy are amateur politicians. The former is a businessman, the latter a comedian who occasionally played politicians on TV. So the conversation rambles a bit but isn’t circumlocutious. It is also a conversation between patron and client, with Trump the former and Zelenskyy the latter, being agreeable and trying to stress that Ukraine and the United States are “friends,” a word he uses often.

What there are not are the strong-arm tactics the anti-Trump crowd had been promising. The money-shot moment for Democrats was supposedly the demand for dirt on Joe Biden, but the topic came up in a response to one of Zelenskyy’s comments about surrounding himself with good people. Trump’s actual words were “I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down. … 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 whatever you can do with the attorney general would be just great. …”

This is not political dirt as we understand it. Biden himself publicly admitted committing blackmail to get the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Hunter’s $50,000-a-month sinecure fired. In a 2018 speech hosted by Foreign Affairs magazine he boasted, “I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a b—-. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

By “solid,” I suppose he meant someone not stupid enough to think the rule of law applied to Vice President Joe Biden’s kid. So what we actually have is a president saying it was OK to prosecute corruption, even that involving children of high-ranking officials. Why are the people looking for imagined Trump family crimes with micrometers and magnifying glasses howling about this while not caring about the actual wrongdoing perpetrated by Barack Obama’s vice president? Oh, yeah, because Trump!

Which is the real justification for this, and every other effort to manufacture crises that might be used to finally reverse the result of the 2016 election, the true goal.

There’s also the so-called “whistleblower report,” which is — unusually — not a recounting of things the whistleblower saw or knows firsthand. He admits that three times in the first three paragraphs. Most of the accusations are prefaced with “officials informed me,” or “I was told that,” or “it was publicly reported that …” The entire document is a Frankenstein’s monster of innuendo, salacious gossip, intelligence community tittle-tattle and snitching, with the odd sprinkling of published fact, like the Biden threat. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler and the rest of the Democratic Party’s wrecking crew grasping at any straw to “investigate” the president know this full well. But they don’t care, because Trump! 

The course congressional Democrats have now chosen will do real and lasting damage to the republic. In attacking Trump for the effrontery to win in 2016, they are attempting erasure of the separation of powers, asserting congressional power to review presidential actions and conversations regarded as off-limits since President Thomas Jefferson. Even the attempt weakens the president’s power to — for example — conduct foreign policy. What foreign leader will honestly treat with an American president, knowing that their private conversations may become public knowledge in service to political expediency?

And while we’re at it, what future president will have full confidence in his or her intelligence community, given the bias and perfidy it has exhibited over the past four years? Trump didn’t “destroy the reputation” of the intelligence community. That was a DIY project.

The Roman republic, the longest-lived in the history of the world, did not die overnight. It passed slowly and painfully, destroyed by the actions of dozens of self-serving demagogues, each of which swore they were upholding tradition, protecting the people and restoring the law. Apparently, many members of our political class have decided it’s time for America to follow in their footsteps.

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

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.