Excuse the following cynicism, please.
Finally, Trump went too far. The media is calling him out for massive abuse of power. The Democrats have never been this angry before. The smoking gun has finally arrived, and Nancy Pelosi has given the ok to Jerry Nadler to go ahead with impeachment proceedings.
I’m sorry. I could not resist a cynical take, because as I predicted the other day when talking to myself during a morning jog, the latest Trump fiasco is going nowhere. I’m going to make another prediction, and if the morning news is any indication, I will be proven correct on this one as well.
Let me explain. I’m referring of course, to the recent revelations that a whistleblower has come forward with allegations of wrongdoing by President Trump during a phone call, or phone calls, to a foreign leader sometime in the last few months. The initial reports are that the complaint involves the president-elect of Ukraine. Additionally, reports say that the allegation centers on Trump pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice-President Joe Biden. If true, in any other administration, impeachment proceedings would undoubtedly follow. But, this isn’t just any administration.
And on cue, as expected, Trump has already changed the narrative from one where he’s the focal point of wrongdoing, to one where Joe Biden is the guy who needs investigating. Of course, the right-wing media will pounce on this particular narrative, because it’s what they do. But when the mainstream media follows the same path, the story begins to achieve a dose of credibility.
Sure enough, within a few hours of Trump’s pronouncement that Biden needs investigated, Ken Vogel of The New York Times chimed in that the relationship between Ukraine, Joe Biden, and his son Hunter certainly poses a ‘political problem’ for Biden and that The Times would be looking into the matter. Politico has also weighed in with ‘concerns’ over Biden’s Ukrainian dealings.
So, my prediction has already been proven correct. Trump has framed the issue with the same kind of false equivalence that proved detrimental to Hillary Clinton and her emails in 2016. The Times, in particular, hammered Mrs. Clinton over her emails throughout the campaign, all the while Trump was dodging sexual assault allegations and increasingly troublesome connections to Russia. Here we go again.
What makes this new issue with Biden even more frustrating is that multiple outlets have already looked into the matter, and there’s no evidence suggesting any wrongdoing, although to be fair, the appearance of Hunter Biden working for a Ukrainian company while his father was Vice-President, wasn’t a good one. He was appointed to the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company, despite lacking experience in the energy sector. At that time, Russia had annexed the Crimean Peninsula in Eastern Ukraine, which had set off an international crisis. Joe Biden was the point-man for Obama on Ukraine and had led the U.S response.
Vice-President Biden successfully pressured the Ukrainian government to remove its prosecutor general who had opened probes into some of the business dealings of Burisma, which is what Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani have questioned in their calls for an investigation. Again though, nothing has come out that would implicate the former Vice-President that he intervened on behalf of his son. In fact, it’s already been debunked by The Washington Post and Bloomberg. It’s not going to stop Trump or his minions, however, from muddying the waters and deflecting from his growing list of corruption and abuse of power allegations.
So what, in my view, will the Democrats do with this latest allegation of Trump’s actions in the whistleblower matter? Not a damn thing, unfortunately. The timidity and lack of coherence from Congressional Democrats concerning Trump’s behavior have done nothing but encourage him to keep pushing the envelope.
Democratic leadership told us that once the recess was over, they would begin an impeachment inquiry to determine whether there was enough evidence to advance actual articles of impeachment against Trump. We were told over and over that current and former Trump campaign and administration individuals would be called to testify in open hearings. The American people, we were told, needed to hear from these people because hardly anyone had read the Mueller Report. Once we see it all play out on television, the tide for favoring impeachment would begin to turn.
So the first person called to testify was none other than Trump’s former campaign advisor Cory Lewandowski. How did that turn out? For hours, under questioning from members of the Judiciary Committee, Lewandowski huffed, puffed, and thumbed his nose at Congressional Democrats. A total lack of cooperation and pledge to honor Trump’s declaration of executive privilege made the hearing a near-total waste of time. Only when private lawyer Barry Berke questioned Lewandowski in the last half-hour, did we get anything of substance.
And then came the threats from Chairman Jerry Nadler that he was ‘considering’ a contempt of Congress citation against Lewandowski. A day later came word that Democrats were ‘preparing’ to take action against him. Considering and preparing isn’t going to cut it. Nearly a week has passed. Is this the best Democrats can do? There’s a jail that sits in the basement of the U.S. Capitol. Isn’t it past time that we clear out that space and start putting some of these obstructors of justice in there? Just a thought.
Let’s face it. Until Democrats are prepared to go all out against what is nothing but an assault on our Democracy and contempt of Congress we haven’t seen since the days of Richard Nixon, I’m not holding my breath that the current president of the United States will ever face any consequences.
To be clear, I have the utmost respect for Speaker Pelosi, Jerry Nadler, and Adam Schiff. These are good people and have served our country honorably for a long time. But damn it, it’s time to stop being nice. Trump has changed the rules. I’m not advocating doing anything outside what the law allows. We don’t need to stoop to his level of criminality and obstruction. Democrats are seemingly afraid of what others might think. How is that strategy working out?
If the latest allegations about Trump are true, how can the Democrats not begin articles of impeachment? It’s an abuse of power if proven correct. What the hell is it going to take?
A few days ago, Chris Hayes of MSNBC posted a simple tweet that explains the situation we’re now faced with.
We have a con man of the like that we’ve never seen in U.S. politics. It’s time to treat him as such. Otherwise, he’ll continue his devious and autocratic ways. You can only beat a bully with resilience and strength. When equivocation becomes the governing strategy, the bully-in-chief will do nothing but keep his foot on the chest of the bullied. Can we count on Pelosi to stop him?
Once again, excuse my cynicism.