Welcome to the new playbook, same as the old playbook. We are about to relive the Mueller investigation all over again, where facts and provable evidence take a back seat to mindless, continuous supposition.
As I wrote last week, the latest “scandal” being pushed against Trump is that he withheld $250 million in military aid from Ukraine in order to force them to investigate Joe Biden, who is on tape admitting to extorting the Ukrainians while he was vice president. As it stands, we have no evidence Trump offered a quid pro quo, nor threatened anyone. In fact, the aid was not even brought up on the phone call.
With the main thrust of the story up in flames, the media are now scrambling to save what they can. Enter The Washington Post, who’s original anonymous claims have already been proven wrong, bandying about a new “bombshell” that supposedly proves…well, I’m not sure what they think it proves.
NEW: About a week before he urged Ukraine’s president to investigate Hunter Biden, Trump told Mulvaney and others to halt aid. Eventually some feared decision could be illegal, and he was convinced to reverse. Latest w/@karoun, @nakashimae & @CarolLeonnig: https://t.co/EiogWIcKBu
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) September 24, 2019
Wait, so Trump withheld the aid temporarily, but then reversed course and did not use it as leverage over Ukraine to investigate Biden? That’s the bombshell? Notice the sub-heading saying it “raises further questions.” They actually have nothing here, but the narrative must advance.
This is so remincisent of the nonsense we had to deal with the last two years in regards to the Mueller investigation. Because Trump opined on firing Muller with his counsel, Democrats and some Republicans ran with that as proof he obstructed justice. That’s not how any of this works. You either do something or you don’t. Presidents don’t get impeached for thinking about doing things, even if those things are dumb.
Take this media angle that the Post is pushing now.
Ukrainian president “directly” expressed concerns
at meeting w US lawmaker that “the aid that was being cut off to Ukraine by the president was a consequence” of his unwillingness to launch an investigation into the Bidens. https://t.co/lcXVX98sxD
— Carol Leonnig (@CarolLeonnig) September 24, 2019
Let me make this simple – Did Trump threaten him or not?
If the answer is no, and it looks to be no based on everything we’ve seen, then what exactly is the issue here? Having concerns is not a standard. It’s meaningless supposition and the President, whether you believe him or not, has already offered alternate reasons for why the aid was held temporarily.
Thankfully, Republicans have allies like MSNBC’s resident conservative, Noah Rothman.
Condolences if you were an R who climbed out on the limb that there was no quid pro quo. Trump sawed it off today.
"Trump confirms he withheld military aid from Ukraine" https://t.co/vcEBCXJzyw
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) September 24, 2019
He didn't do it.
Okay, he did do it, but there was no quid pro quo.
Okay, there was quid pro quo, but it was the good kind. https://t.co/2zyE91yRFn
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) September 24, 2019
This is apparently what passes for intellectual thought in certain parts of the conservative sphere. We’ve already known for months that the aid to Ukraine was held up. In fact, Republican Senators commented on the matter weeks ago before any of this latest craziness blew up, citing the need for Europe to get more involved. The question has never been if Trump put a hold on the aid. It’s why he did so and if he used that hold improperly. To this point, Rothman and others have yet to provide one ounce of evidence that Trump brought up the aid to Ukraine to try to extort them. Instead, we are left arguing feelings and supposition, as per usual.
As to his last statement, there are actually good kinds of quid pro quos when it comes to doling out foreign aid. Most Americans realize that. If Trump held the aid back because he wanted Europe to do more to provide for their neighbor’s defense, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. That’d actually be a good thing. Further, if that wasn’t the reason as the media and others suppose, then why did Trump not even bring up the aid in the call to the Ukrainian president? If he wanted to use it as leverage improperly, why didn’t he do so? Why was the aid released without an investigation?
Those are pretty important questions to grapple with, don’t you think? At some point, all these conspiracy theorists who are sure Trump did something wrong need to provide some actual evidence for their latest claims.
Here’s a good summarization of what we are actually doing here.
The Left and NeverTrump now want to impeach Trump on the word of an unknown whistleblower based on a conversation they haven’t heard and US aid that was briefly withheld for legit reasons then released. All in service of protecting Joe Biden and his grifter son. Solid plan
— Julie Kelly (@julie_kelly2) September 24, 2019
Keep in mind as well, that every one of these people who are currently freaking out over this are the same people who told you the Mueller report was going to be catastrophic, that Trump colluded with the Russians, and that it would be the downfall of his presidency.
Forgive all of us for not trusting their judgement at this point.
Here’s the bottom line. Voters are sick of this garbage. If any Democrat, media member, or anti-Trump Republican has evidence of Trump illegally extorting Ukraine, let’s see it. Show your work. The rest of us are not going to play this game again.
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