Sunday, September 22, 2019

MULTIPLE UPDATES: My Prediction: Ukraine Damage Will Go Deep

Yes, my prediction is that the damage from the Biden-Ukraine scandal--and that's what it is, despite the efforts of NeverTrump bloggers to cast a shadow on Trump--will not be confined to Biden. It will be used by Trump to play up issues that will resonate with and expand his base.

Democrat corruption is one of those issues, of course. Every Blue State voter knows all about that, and this Hunter Biden story is crasser than most, because Hunter is such a despicable person and his father is such an enabler.

Democrat corruption also plays right into the issue of "privilege". What could be more privileged than getting to fire prosecutors who are looking at your ne'er do well kids? Only white Dems get to do that. But, come to think of it, who but white Dems get to lie about their ethnicity to get great paying jobs at elite places like Harvard--with no consequences? They even get to run for president without being challenged on that. But Trump's gonna change that once the campaign starts in earnest. Every middle class person who's paying through the nose for college tuition will hear about that, and about the liberal elites who cheat their kids into those colleges the middle class can't get into.

In a less direct way, this will also play into the immigration and tariffs issues. The nation will likely sense the connection between liberal preference for foreigners over the American middle class--and the Dem tendency to enrich themselves through foreign dealings. Yes, Hillary will be a topic (cf. link, above), and none of this will help the hoity toity Warren.

Finally, if Biden is eliminated before the primaries even start--and I'm betting on that--the Dem race will be a cut throat contest of extremists. Both Warren and Sanders will be competing for the biggest share of the same pool of liberal extremists--because that's who votes in Dem primaries now. Warren is a shrill, hectoring, extremist on virtually any issue you can name, and the country will be treated to her trying to outdo the unrepentant socialist Sanders.

UPDATE 1: Nunes to Maria Bartiromo:

Rep. Devin Nunes: These stories first originated, first originated back when Hillary Clinton was trying to make sure Biden didn’t get in the race. So now that these have been ressurected, I don’t know who came up with the scheme, maybe there really is this whistleblower is not a partisan. We want to hear from that whistle-blower but it sure looks like the scheme has backfired. And like I said it looks like this is the end of Biden’s campaign. I really do.

Interesting. Warren is said to be close to Hillary. Getting advice from her. Yeah, go figure.

UPDATE 2: Uh-Oh! More Hillary, via GP, Former Ukrainian Secret Service Official Leaks Info on How Ukraine Funded Clinton Campaign with Stolen IMF Money. The Prozorov blog is in Ukrainian, but you can get lots more details beyond the excerpt below by following the link:

Vasily Prozorov is a former employee of the Ukrainian security service SBU. On his blog Ukraine Leaks, he reveals how former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and Oligarch Victor Pinchuk may have helped divert IMF funds to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. 
By Collin McMahon 
Vasily Prozorov was an Ukrainian security service (SBU) staffer from 1999 to 2018. Since 2014, he was an expert consultant in the SBU’s main anti-terror unit. In 2018, he fled to Russia. The Ukrainians now call him a traitor. Writing on his blog Ukraine Leaks, he says that in 2016, the Ukrainian government openly supported Hillary Clinton and tried to help her defeat Donald Trump. 
“Former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko was terribly afraid of a Republican victory, believing Donald Trump would change Russia policy and lift sanctions, reducing support for Ukraine and robbing Poroshenko of his Western power base,” Prozorov writes. “Ukrainegate is a criminal conspiracy of representatives of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the leadership of Ukraine in the person of Poroshenko, aimed at preventing Donald Trump from winning.” 
“At that time, I worked at SBU HQ in Kiev,“ says Prozorov. “I remember the panic that gripped the power structures in Ukraine after Donald Trump’s victory. They expected immediate retaliation from Washington for Ukraine’s participation in the attacks on Trump. Many politicians deleted their social media posts criticizing Trump.” However, as it turned out, the phony Russiagate witch hunt kept the Trump campaign from doing anything that could look like “collusion” or “obstruction” abroad. Now, however, the Ukrainegate conspiracy is starting to unravel.

The IMF as a giant Establshment slush fund? I guess that makes sense, right?

UPDATE 3: Lindsey Graham tells Maria Bartiromo that he wants "DOJ"--I think he means, Bill Barr--to investigate "all things Ukraine." Including Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election and Biden involvement in Ukraine. Just like we looked at all things Russia. Ouch! Whose idea was it to bring up the whole Ukraine angle?

UPDATE 4: Oh, this from The National Interest is good. Americans don't give this much thought, but imagine how this looks to the rest of the world that actually follows world news. Imagine how it looks to Putin, and Russians generally. Imagine how it looks to Iranians, and Middle Easterners generally.

“You need to know that the New York Times and the Washington Post seem to be solidly behind Joe Biden as the establishment candidate. So, I see this as a sort of preemptive move just in case it turns out that Biden and his son are guilty of corruption. Now let’s be clear: if they are innocent, they should have nothing to fear about this,” explained Ray McGovern, a former CIA official of twenty-seven years who has previously chaired the National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President’s Daily Brief. “The New York Times and the Washington Post have a record of blowing up stories to discredit him or to prevent more damage to the Democrats and that’s what I see here.” 
Regarding the inspector general contradicting the DNI Chair, McGovern commented that it was the first instance of it he’d seen in his career. “Usually the IG will defer to the acting head of the CIA or head of the DNI apparatus. This time this fellow went forward. Now the essence of the complaint is really kind of strange. To be a legitimate intelligence complaint it has to involve an intelligence matter. And if it’s Trump talking to Zelensky, what intelligence matter would they be talking about? Unless it’s that, the Inspector General himself overreached and that can be brought back by lawyers in the Department of Justice,” he told the National Interest. 
The Biden family’s connections to Ukraine that were allegedly discussed go back to the ouster of incumbent President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. In a leaked phone call weeks prior to the coup, then-Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nulaand discussed with then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt toppling the government. They also discussed who might lead it. “We want to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing,” said Pyatt. Nuland responded, Biden is “willing.”

“It was in February when Yanukovych was overthrown, and just a few months later (in May), Joe Biden’s son and a close friend of John Kerry’s stepson, they both join the board of this Ukrainian gas company. And the name of that was Burisma Holdings,” said Joe Lauria, editor of Consortium News and a former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. “So just after an American-backed coup, you have Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and this John Kerry family friend joining the board of probably the largest private gas producer in Ukraine.”
“[T]hey installed the new government, and as the bounty of this coup, Joe Biden’s son personally profited. He would not have gotten that job if Yanukovych was still in power,” Lauria told the National Interest.

UPDATE 4: Don Surber gets some good licks in, as well as some shrewd observations:

Who launched the Ukraine scandal? It was a brilliant piece of passive-aggressiveness that while appearing to be another attack on President Donald John Trump, ultimately is the latest attempt to bring Joe Biden down. 
The narrative is that President Trump asked Ukraine's president-elect to investigate Hunter Biden's crooked wheeling and dealing. 
The press was outraged that a president would interfere like this. 
But readers said, hey, wait a minute. Didn't Joe Biden do something worse as vice president? 
To protect his son from going to prison for corruption, Biden withheld a billion bucks in aid. 
Obama approved this. Why do you think he sent Biden instead of going there himself? 
Biden is problematic for Democrats. He is about as presidential as a rock and almost as smart, but he appeals to two important voting blocs in the Democrat Party: black voters and moderates -- and by moderates, I mean old white people. 
The Squad may be happy to dump the latter but elections are simple addition and subtraction. Democrats still need white votes. Hillary got 37% of the white vote in 2016 and lost. 
Democrats need to replace Biden with someone you can present in public without wincing.


  1. In an earlier comment I put forward the opinion that Joe Biden is in fact a rather traditional, and altogether pedestrian, grifter that my grandparents would have recognized as a typical "run for office or work for a living" politician. Hillary on the other hand is completely different megalomaniacal animal.
    If any proof was ever needed that there is a God, and he wants America to succeed, it is in the miraculous delivery of the Republic from her Global Imperium claws through the use of such an unlikely vessel as Donald Trump.
    Tom S.

    1. Pedestrian grifter? I dunno. How about globe trotting grifter?

    2. Yes, but his goals/price was unimaginative small town cronyism compared to Hillary's big city "Chicago" grasp of possibilities. Tapping directly into the IMF takes more gall than a gov't mule; oh, wait, she was a donkey in gov't so maybe close enough.
      Did those people over there really not understand what kind of monster they were getting into bed with, or just not care. Wonder if we're going to see our Arkacide epidemic go international. Maybe the WHO can develop a vaccine or something.
      Tom S.

  2. Thanks for your insights on Ukraine (and Iran). I like the way you present the issues in a way that is easy for me to understand.

    Foreign policy isn't an area of expertise for me. When I read your piece on Iran, I thought of Teddy Roosevelt and "Speak softly and carry a big stick."

  3. Can Ray McGovern be that naïve? Are experienced (former) CIA agents regularly that naïve?

    -->if they [Bidens] are innocent, they should have nothing to fear about this<--

    Was McGovern asleep these past three years? Maybe McGovern is too young to remember Reagan's Secretary of Labor Ray Donovan, who quipped when he was acquitted at trial, "Where do I go to get my reputation back?"

    There's a reason appearances matter in legal ethics regarding conflicts of interest--because the appearance of an interest or the appearance of a conflict, is presumptively a conflict of interest.

    Innocence of that conflict requires no involvement or participation in the matter. The Bidens fail on that account. Anyone with an ounce of integrity would've forbidden the Hunter Biden relationship from going forward.

    Contrarily, Hunter Biden was purposefully inserted into the arrangement.

    1. McGovern is far from naive. I assume he wrote with tongue in cheek.

  4. I am little troubled by the narrative that Biden inteceded to keep his son out of prison. I don't think there was ever any danger of Hunter Biden going to prison- Biden was hired by Burisma to use as an "in" with his father who then used his position and the promise of US aid to get the Ukranian government to fire the prosecutor and shut down the investigation of Burisma.

    Yes, both Bidens could definitely be in trouble for influence peddling and bribery in the US, but the actions against the prosecutor in Ukraine are a matter for Ukraine. Let's at least not get completely off track with what happened here and why.

    1. I assume the reason Biden wanted all Ukrainian investigation squelched was because he didn't want any of that made public--for American consumption. No investigation, no publicity.

    2. Yes, there is that, and he definitely didn't want his son losing big juicy checks from Burisma, but these writers should write it like that, not that Biden was trying to keep his son out of prison- he could have kept his son out of prison by simply doing nothing in regards to the prosecutor. As far as I can tell, Hunter Biden did nothing illegal as long as no pressure was brought to bear by his father on the Ukranian government.

      The person in real legal jeopardy here is Joe Biden, and for the quo part.

  5. It would be interesting to examine the various email/communication chains in State, CIA, DNI, that discuss the Poroshenko investigation. You know that crowd had to be keeping either Joe or Hunter advised. I'm assuming that this would be included in the "all things Ukraine" investigation.

    1. Right. We don't know everything that Barr/Durham are looking at, but from my POV all of that would be logical investigation arising from the Russia Hoax. We know the Ukrainians were in deep with Hillary, we know the Bidens were in deep in Ukraine, and we know Biden was at the WH meeting with Comey and Brennan the day before Comey went to Trump Tower to bait Trump. It's all tied together.

    2. I'm glad (though of course not surprised - it's what this site does) to see you two bringing this up, because I've been thinking exactly the same. I'm guilty of being a radical in a few narrow areas, and government transparency is very much one of them. I totally agree the items you mention are "all tied together" and so are natural fits for Durham, but I also think that even if they weren't, why the heck shouldn't we the voters know about them all the same? The presumption has to be for openness, not secrecy. How the heck are we supposed to govern ourselves well if we can't even know what our government is doing?


    This is a link to Mark Levin's terrific interview tonight with Dan Bongino. I'm watching it now and haven't learned anything new and earth shattering. What is wonderful is that we seem now to have the basic facts down and close observers like Bongino are calmly synthesizing the basic and disparate elements and putting the whole sordid story together.

    What Bongino is saying is straightforward, very compelling and utterly damning.

    Great television.

    1. Thanks, Cassander. I'll watch for sure.

    2. Great interview with Dan Bongino. Like you Mr. Wauck, he makes things simple to understand.

    3. Tx. I liked Bongino, too. It helped as well that Levin was very well prepared.

    4. My respect for him went up astronomically when he did his daily podcast live on camera. He looked at the camera and spoke extemporaneously for one hour. That's when I knew that this man was not only the real deal, but super sharp, too.

      Levin's a good man, as well.

      Interestingly, both Dan and Mark have clashed with Sundance on Twitter.

  7. The Devin Nunes interview touched on something I mentioned, I think, at Althouse on Saturday- I wondered if the Ukraine mess was how Clinton scared Biden out of the race in 2015. It just seemed odd that Biden didn't even try to win the nomination then as a sitting VP.

    1. Interesting. He would've known, that he'd get no support from the media in a fight with Clinton--dirt would stick to him but not to her.

  8. A guy named Matt Ford pronounced definitively in the New Republic today: "Using the presidency to coerce a foreign power into undermining a political opponent would be, by any measure, profoundly corrupt."

    I ask you Mark, and your readers, whether you agree, and, if so, why?

    Please explain why a President does not have the right in conducting our foreign policy and considering whether to provide foreign aid to inquire into corruption in a recipient state. Why shouldn't grants be conditioned on comforts and covenants regarding corruption? And if the corruption inquiry implicates a political opponent of the President's how would this make the President's inquiry (or the conditionality of foreign aid) "profoundly corrupt"?

    Just saying it (a favorite Lefty trick) doesn't make it so.

    Or so I would have thought.

    1. I've seen articles--and may use one later today--that state that the corruption of the Bidens in Ukraine (China is not mentioned) would be difficult to bring within the ambit of criminal law, although all indicators point toward something underhanded going on (method of payment, for example). That is definitely not to say that those indicators are not worthy of investigation.

      Being a political opponent of the president doesn't exempt one from investigation if such indicators are president. This would be as old as ... Thomas Jefferson? There's no question but that the appearance of misuse of office is present.

      Ford's pronouncement otoh seems to assume Biden's innocence--which is precisely the issue.

    2. My impression, from watching Giuliani last night, who says that there is much more to come, is that the Bidens are hardly pure.

    3. Of course not. And the China angle is huger than the Ukraine one.

  9. Help me out here. I see the Ukraine situation as you all do here. But that's not what Drudge & Zero Hedge are saying. So far, in the MSM, it's Trump who is up to no good. Are Dems actually going to vote to impeach?

    They seem to be in a lather. Or is this hysteria better decoded as a last ditch deep state attempt to stop the end of Joe Biden?

    There is a madness afoot in Washington that would embarrass Robespierre. Sidebar: Trump should learn to shut his damn mouth. Did he really put a hold on the money until after he spoke with the Ukrainian?

    Or is that more nonsense from the media?

    1. I'll be writing on this later today--I'm out this morning. Briefly, I see this as a possibly bipartisan effort to corral Trump, who has talking about getting along better with Russia--including in the Middle East. This issue of Ukraine aid/corruption has been going on most of the summer behind the scenes, with most of the Estabishment opposing Trump. Specifically, WSJ is talking about Bolton's involvement as well as senators involved.

      So there's a couple of different but related angles of attack. Now, add in the removal of Coats and Sue Gordon, who would have been at the center of this, and the firing of Bolton. So, there's policy stuff, and there's also the effort to save Biden, who would be Establishment friendly.

      Trump put a stop on the aid for two reasons: he wanted the Euros to give more, too, and he was concerned about the overall issue of corruption in Ukraine. There was nothing wrong with stopping the aid in that context. What I'm pretty sure is also going on is that Trump is getting good advice from Bill Barr on the legal ground. He probably should have had Barr at his side from the start of this, but the guy's got his hands full at the DoJ swamp.

      What we seem to be seeing is another coup attempt, but a weaker one.

  10. Giuliani on the Bidens per zerohedge:

    The Dems actually seem ready to 'impeach' on this one. Its hard to imagine, even if Trump did introduce some conditionality into the foreign aid discussion, and even if the Dems argue that its not okay for Trump to use his office to hurt a political opponent (forget what Obama did), that this is impeachable. Or that the American people would agree.

    Especially when the whole story of the Bidens' grifting emerges.

    1. Right. What we might call the "indicia of corruption" are all present, whether or not it's beyond a reasonable doubt. The WSJ article I refer to elsewhere (and will again) spins everything as contra Trump as possible, but he looks increasingly reasonable.

      In a sense his behavior reminds me of the Rosenstein comments as recorded by McCabe. Rosenstein says (per McCabe) that he wanted to talk Trump out of mentioning Russia in the firing of Comey--not necessary, could be misunderstood. Trump--who has dealt with lawyers his entire life--says he understands all that but wants to get it out because it's all a hoax.

      Same here. He was concerned about giving money to a corrupt country--irrespective of the Bidens involvement. He almost certainly knew he was walking through a minefield but, as with the Comey firing, was determined to do the right thing and trust that the truth would out.

      Not your usual politician.