House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., talks to reporters about the release by the White House of a transcript of a call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelenskiy, in which Trump is said to have pushed for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his family, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
This seems noteworthy.
If the entire premise is that Trump “bribed” (new hot word from Democrats) the Ukrainians and must be impeached, wouldn’t there need to actually be a bribe that took place? Yet, here we see the Ukrainian Foreign Minister say that Gordon Sondland never tied military aid to investigations, including those of Burisma, at all.
Ukraine did not hear from U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland about a link between the delay in military assistance to Ukraine and the investigation into the case of Burisma Holdings, where son of former Vice President Joe Biden Hunter worked.
“Ambassador Sondland did not tell us, and did not tell me exactly, about the relation between the [military] assistance and the investigations. You should ask him. I do not recall any conversation with me as with foreign minister. It was not we, the Ukrainian officials (who were told this),” Prystaiko told the journalists in Kyiv on Thursday.
“I have never seen a direct link between investigations and security assistance. Yes, investigations were mentioned, you know, in a presidential conversation. But there was no clear connection between these events,” Prystaiko added.
This is essentially what we have on the phone call itself. Trump mentions investigations, including Biden and Burisma. Zelensky also talks about buying more Javelins. But at no point is there any threat made by the President tying those two things together. There’s not even a wink and nod attempt at “bribery” in the call. Military aid being withheld is simply not mentioned at all.
In fact, going back to yesterday’s testimony by Bill Taylor, he once again reiterated that Ukraine had no knowledge of aid being held up until August 29th. If Trump was trying to bribe the Ukrainians, he really sucked at it.
So how did we get where we are, with impeachment going full-bore and all these spittle educing proclamations being made? It’s really not that complicated when you look at the players involved and what they’ve said.
Several bureaucrats disagreed with Trump’s stance toward Ukraine, even though they readily admit he did far more than Obama did in terms of helping the country. In the case of Alexander Vindman, he sought to directly undermine the President’s requests. People like Taylor and Kent seemed to be concerned that Ukraine would not receive the aid, something they saw as a grave change in policy (even though they aren’t the ones who get to make the policy). Mixed in with those concerns were the White House’s desire to see Ukraine take the allegations against Burisma, and yes, Hunter Biden, seriously. Rudy Giuliani was likely the source of many of the allegations forming the basis of the investigative requests. Gordon Sondland, trying to be the go-between, made assumptions about the matter and those assumptions were shared with Taylor and Kent at different points.
How do I know that’s the most likely scenario? Because Sondland said under oath that he never actually knew why the aid was on hold. That means everything he said or insinuated to those now repeating 3rd and 4th hand hearsay in these hearings was pure presumption on his part. Sondland’s ignorance of any edict is evidence that no direct order to “bribe” the Ukrainians was made and, given Foreign Minister Prystaiko’s comments, it doesn’t appear there’s any evidence any such deal was proposed by anyone to those who would be making such decisions on the other end.
This is all an incredibly tortured and contrived basis for impeachment.
Now, some will say that any seeking of investigations into Burisma and Biden were inappropriate, but even George Kent (in his testimony yesterday) admitted that Burisma acted corruptly and should be investigated. We have documented proof via emails that Burisma used Hunter Biden to try to influence the State Department’s suspicions toward the company. Why should Hunter Biden be shielded simply because his father is running for president? And why shouldn’t the potential conflicts of interest involving Joe Biden’s decisions be looked into? If it were Trump and one of his son’s, there’s no doubt in my mind it’d be a major scandal.
Regardless, even if you think it was inappropriate to ask for the investigations, that is nowhere close to an impeachable offense.
I realize the beltway is eating this up and half the country think Trump has committed the most devastating abuse of power to ever happen in U.S. history, but I just don’t see it. I see disgruntled bureaucrats (who are certainly free to have their own views) making assumptions based on hearsay while providing no evidence any actual wrongdoing took place. Meanwhile, Ukraine is also saying no wrongdoing took place. Given Trump could be voted out in a year, they have very little reason to protect him.
None of this adds up to even 1/10th of the current hysteria being perpetrated. In the end, this is going to die a gory death in the Senate and it may end up pulling Joe Biden into a fight he doesn’t want. What’s clear is that the Democrats and Adam Schiff have way overplayed their hand here. This house of cards is going to crumble.
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