Tuesday, Adam Schiff made his 100-page opus on Ukraine available to his House Intelligence Committee. Schiff’s report finds President Trump “guilty of playing domestic politics with foreign policy,” reports the WSJ.
Schiff’s Pretensions to Nonpartisan Statesmanship
“The decision to move forward with an impeachment inquiry is not one we took lightly. Under the best of circumstances, impeachment is a wrenching process for the nation. I resisted calls to undertake an impeachment investigation for many months on that basis, notwithstanding the existence of presidential misconduct that I believed to be deeply unethical and damaging to our democracy,” writes Schiff.
But, as the WSJ derisively notes, Schiff heard the call of duty.
“In making the decision to move forward, we were struck by the fact that the President’s misconduct was not an isolated occurrence, nor was it the product of a naïve president. Instead, the efforts to involve Ukraine in our 2020 presidential election were undertaken by a President who himself was elected in 2016 with the benefit of an unprecedented and sweeping campaign of election interference undertaken by Russia in his favor, and which the President welcomed and utilized,” continues Schiff.
The Real Impeachment Motivation
According to Schiff, Trump would not have won in 2016 without Vladimir Putin’s help, the WSJ points out. Unfortunately for Democrats, Robert Mueller failed to prove that.
So Democrats are settling for the lesser melodrama of Ukraine, an unchained Rudy Giuliani, and Joe and Hunter Biden. The details may not add up to much more than Mr. Trump obsessing about what he thinks Ukraine did in 2016, but it’s all the Democrats have.
The report’s summary sentence reveals the weakness of its case with overstatement: “The president placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security.”
Yet every President seeks some political advantage in pursuing foreign policy. That includes Barack Obama when he asked Dmitry Medvedev to tell Mr. Putin to go easy on missile defense until after the 2012 election.
Undermining Election Integrity?
Think back to 1996, when Bill Clinton gathered foreign campaign contributions from the Riadys and other foreigners. Or to Hillary Clinton, when her presidential campaign financed Christopher Steele to spread Russian disinformation on Donald Trump to the media, as well as to the FBI.
Why This Impeachment Will Remain Partisan
Unlike Bill Clinton, who lied to a grand jury, or Richard Nixon, whose tapes proved he obstructed justice, Trump has committed no specific crime. Schiff’s many inferences and overbroad assertions do not provide a convincing impeachment case, argues the WSJ.
None of this undermined elections or “endangered” U.S. national security because there was no investigation and the aid was never withheld. Even if aid had been withheld, that would merely have put U.S. policy back to where it was when Mr. Obama denied Ukraine lethal military aid for several years until Mr. Trump provided it.
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