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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

MULTIPLE UPDATES: The Ukraine Hoax

Well--where to start? One place might be by reprising today's news. So far. Zerohedge obliges:

Pelosi To Announce Formal Impeachment Enquiry Despite Trump Release Of Ukraine Transcript
Update: Chuck Schumer appears to have let slip what Democrats' next play will be as he demanded that the Whistleblower's complaint still be released (which inevitably is a partisan document), claiming that the Trump call transcript "is insufficient." 
That would appear to be an entirely defenseless position to take (as the source did not actually hear the complaint or read the transcript), but they have to keep the suspicion alive. 
Additionally, Rep. Adam Schiff says the whistleblower wants to speak to his House Intel committee, and testimony may happen this week. 
And finally, WaPo appears to have been ready for Pelosi's announcement with a pre-packaged story... 
... 
Stocks are bouncing back hard and impeachment odds tumbling after President Trump announced he has "authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript..." somewhat stealing the jam out of Nancy Pelosi's Democratic Party plans later this evening...

Oh, that's interesting about WaPo getting a pre-packaged story. The media are interested in certain pre-packaged stories, not so much in others. Don Surber explains:


Media goes kamikaze on Trump

The daft thing about Ukraine is the media knows without a shadow of a doubt that President Donald John Trump is right. As vice president, Joe Biden threatened to withhold aid unless Ukraine officials dropped prosecution of his cocaine-addled and corrupt son, Hunter Biden. 
...
A New York Times story on December 15, 2015, said, "The credibility of the vice president’s anticorruption message may have been undermined by the association of his son, Hunter Biden, with one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies, Burisma Holdings, and with its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, who was Ukraine’s ecology minister under former President Viktor F. Yanukovych before he was forced into exile. 
"Hunter Biden, 45, a former Washington lobbyist, joined the Burisma board in April 2014. That month, as part of an investigation into money laundering, British officials froze London bank accounts containing $23 million that allegedly belonged to Mr. Zlochevsky." 
The media knew it last year when Joe Biden bragged about this obstruction of justice. 
Biden said, "I was supposed to announce that there was another billion dollar loan guarantee and I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor and they didn’t. So they said they had — they were walking out to press conference, I said I’m not going to — we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said you have no authority, you’re not the president. The president said. I said, call him. I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting a billion dollars. I said you’re not getting a billion, I’m going to be leaving here and I think it was about six hours, I look at him and say we’re leaving in six hours, if the prosecutor’s not fired, you’re not getting the money. Oh, son of a bitch." 
That SOB was investigating his son. 
The media also knows that the son is in league with Red China. 
The Hill reported on March 15, 2018, "A private equity firm managed by the son of former Vice President Joe Biden struck a deal with China's state-owned bank in 2013 at the same time that Biden was in the country to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. 
"Hunter Biden, who arrived in China aboard Air Force Two alongside the vice president and the rest of the U.S. delegation, was at the time in control of Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC., a private equity firm that would go on to strike a deal with the state-owned Bank of China to create a $1 billion joint investment fund."
...
The media knows how corrupt Biden was, is, and always will be. They know he abused public office for private gain.
So why are so many media outlets sliding into their cockpits, filling their tanks for a one-way trip, and flying out on this suicide mission in this final feeble attempt to bring down President Donald John Trump?
Who is their god-emperor?
For whom are they willing to die?
In 2016, Trump voters were the passengers who stormed the cockpit on Flight 93. The media were in the cockpit.
For 2020, the media tries one last time.



What's the point? The point is that there's really no news in this. It's all been known forever, more or less, except ...

Except that President Trump might benefit in 2020, and the Dems might really tank big time. That's because the Ukraine Hoax isn't just about Ukraine. It's also very much about Dems being in bed with and enriching themselves by their dealings with Red China. Don't kid yourselves. That's not just a Biden thing. For electoral purposes it will be a Dem thing.

But why now and how now? Is this all there really is? Maybe not entirely. More facts are coming out, and the details are tantalizing.

Today's WSJ provides some background. It turns out that this whole business about suspending aid to Ukraine has been percolating in Washington for most of the summer. We know that the famous phone call took place on July 25th, but the decision by Trump to suspend aid came "more than a week before that." That means that the decision came in mid- or very possibly even early July. Which in turn means that discussions on this almost certainly go back to June or even earlier:

President Trump asked his acting chief of staff to place a hold on $391 million in aid to Ukraine more than a week before a July phone call in which he urged his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Joe Biden ’s son, according to a person familiar with the matter, a revelation that comes as an investigation into the president’s dealings with Kiev is mushrooming on Capitol Hill.
[Comment: The claim that Trump "urged his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Joe Biden ’s son" is not certain by any means. What actually happened will come from the transcript] 
Congress had approved sending military aid to Ukraine to help the country defend against Russian aggression. But Mr. Trump and his advisers, including then-national security adviser John Bolton and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, began discussing in June the prospect of putting a hold on the funds while the administration reviewed them, a senior administration official said. 
In July, Mr. Trump directed acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to do just that, and the decision was passed along to lower-level officials during a July 18 meeting, according to the official. The Washington Post first reported the news of the president’s directive to Mr. Mulvaney. 
The official said the request reflected the president’s concerns about how the U.S. is spending aid money and whether U.S. allies are adequately contributing. The Pentagon has long been in favor of pressing forward on military aid. 

My guess is that Trump was once again bucking the Washington establishment. There's no possible way, IMO, that John Bolton would have favored suspending military aid to Ukraine for any reason. I'm also guessing that, by the nature of what was under discussion, Dan Coats and Sue Gordon at ODNI would have been involved. And again, there's no way that those two would have favored bucking the Washington establishment. What this means is that by mid-July at the very latest, and almost certainly well before, the alarm had gone up in Washington.

What did that alarm consist of? First of all, the usual anti-Russian advocates would be alarmed, and not only because of the suspension of aid to Ukraine. There would also be Trump's reconciliation with Russia's role in Syria as well as his public advocacy for a return of Russia to the G-8. But of course there would also be the concern that Biden and other members of the Washington establishment would have a lot to lose from any investigation into the whole Ukraine corruption business.

Would the Barr/Durham investigation into the Russia Hoax lead in that direction? I don't see how any real investigation into the Russia Hoax could avoid the Ukrainian connection. We call the anti-Trump coup attempt "the Russia Hoax" because that's how the Dems framed it, but everywhere you turn the Ukrainian connections keep popping up. That's what Rudy Giuliani was telling anyone who would listen back when the Mueller Dossier came out: Ukraine--keep an eye on Ukraine!

So here's what Trump said:

“I did not make a statement that you have to do this or I won’t give you aid,” he said. “I didn’t put any pressure on them whatsoever.” ... 
On July 25, Mr. Trump in a phone call urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to work with his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on a probe that would produce information about Mr. Biden and his son, The Wall Street Journal reported. Mr. Giuliani had met with an official from the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office the previous month to discuss such a probe. 
... 
Ukrainian officials earlier this month expressed concern to U.S. senators that the aid had been held up as a penalty for resisting that pressure. “They worried the aid that was being cut off to Ukraine by the president was a consequence for their unwillingness at the time to investigate the Bidens,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.), who earlier this month met in Ukraine with Mr. Zelensky and other officials.

This takes some parsing. What kind of a probe would "produce information about Mr. Biden and his son?" Well, of course a direct investigation targeting "Mr. Biden and his son" would do that. But that would by no means be the only investigation that would produce such information. Nor is it readily apparent why such and investigation--one directly targeting "Mr. Biden and his son" would be necessary. As I've said before, and as Don Surber so graphically reminds us, there's really no news in Biden corruption stories per se. Of course there could always be more "there" there, but between Ukraine and, especially, China--what more could Trump want? You could get a kill shot on Biden, knock him right out of the running, but what Trump purpose would that really serve? The fuzzy, gaffey, goofy Biden we've seen, combined with everything that the NYT has already revealed about his corruption, would appear to be the ideal opponent for Trump in 2020. A kill shot on Biden would appear, certainly at first glance, to be more to Dem advantage than Trump's.

But there is another type of investigation that could produce information about Biden that might well go beyond the usual corruption stories. Recall what we just said--in the 2016 election campaign the Ukrainian connections appeared to be almost everywhere. And Obama had made Biden a kind of Ukrainian "tsar" (ha!). After Hillary's November debacle the Ukrainians were in a panic--as were the Dems. One can imagine that the Ukrainians would have been contacting their friends in Dem circles wanting to know: What we do now? What would the reply have been? Probably something like: Sit tight, we're working on it.

And work on it they did. They, including Biden. Biden was present at the famous Oval Office meeting with Obama, Brennan, Comey, and the rest of the gang, the day before Comey went to Trump Tower to try to bait President Elect Trump. Biden was in on it. And as tsar of Ukraine, so to speak, might he not have been handling liaison with the Dem friends in Kyiv? That's something I, as a thorough investigator of the Russia Hoax, would certainly want to look into very carefully.

Now consider other events of the unusually eventful summer of 2019. Trump decapitated the Intelligence Community--Dan Coats and Sue Gordon: Out. Replaced by a former Navy Seal. When Coats got the push the Dems went wild and demanded that Sue Gordon be named acting. As I recall there was even talk of legal action--until Sue Gordon got the push, too. That was mid August, and the reason for this drastic action, the reason that the insiders talked about, was that Coats and Gordon had been trying to slow Barr/Durham down. Could there have been more to this than Trump understood at the time? Could the anti-Russian zealots have begun plotting this second coup attempt back in July?

Next question. Who are these zealots, who are willing to trash the Constitution, annul elections, whatever it takes to "get" Trump? We know the pundits and policy wonks, but there has to be big money behind the need to play up the Russia threat. And yes, there is big money in the Military - Intelligence complex.

Interesting days, but I'm betting on Trump. I agree with Don Surber will prove to be Charge of the Light Brigade for the Dems and their allies. Nevertheless, it's high time to go on the offensive beyond the occasional leaks of tidbits. Calling Bill Barr! The unitary executive needs a champion.

UPDATE 1: Thomas Lifson at American Thinker mirrors my take:

The accusations against Trump are based on hearsay, evidence that no court in the United States would accept.
This is going to blow up in Democrats' faces even bigger than I believed yesterday.

And Donald Trump agrees:

When asked about impeachment, President Trump says: “They are going to lose the election. If she does that, [it’s a] positive for me.”

Politico polling--repeat, this is Politico--says that only 37% of Americans favor impeachment. Usually the Dem base is figured at 40%.

UPDATE 2: Nancy Pelosi just made one of the most colossal blunders in modern American politics:

Too many younger Democrats whose own political fortunes do not depend upon the party's national appeal, much less its control of the White House, have been allowed to control the conversation. Some of them are cynical, others merely na├»ve, but the takeaway is the same regardless: The hydra is eating its own heads. Pelosi should have known better than to feed it in the first place. 
... 
The business will never be put to bed until Donald Trump leaves office. 
The only lasting effect of Pelosi's capitulation on Thursday will be making the latter unlikely to happen before 2025.

UPDATE 3: CTH links Kevin McCarthy (is it OK to say how smarmy I find him, even when he makes sense?) and comments:




Today Nancy Pelosi made an announcement with forethought, optical planning, teleprompter script, and a presentation intended to look serious.  But what she announced was simply a continuation of the status quo wrapped up in newly packaged lingo. 
...
Essentially she announced House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler will continue doing what House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler was already doing; only now House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, will start doing what he was doing with a new lingo.

I disagree somewhat. I agree that, substantively, there's probably very little difference. But the optics are very different. The optics to the American people. And that's why Michael Walther was right: This is an historic goof up, from a purely political standpoint. It was made because Donald Trump has their backs to the wall.


22 comments:

  1. Pelosi crossed the Rubicon today. It is now a death match and if the Democrat don't impeach and convict, the electorat is going to hand them a historic drubbing in November 2020. This truly is an example of "If shoot at the King, you had better kill him." If this impeachment inquiry ends up in the same place as the Mueller Report, then the Democrats are toast.

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    1. Yeah. See my updates. She may THINK she's cleverly continuing the status quo, but as you say: the Rubicon is at her back.

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    2. I just watched a clip of Nancy Pelosi saying today that a President merely asking a foreign leader to investigate wrong-doing by a political opponent is an impeachable offense.

      A republic, if you can keep it.

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    3. Greg Jarrett just made an interesting observation on Hannity that should please you, Mark.

      He said that President Trump has an absolute obligation to determine whether the United States obtained the benefits of Vice President Biden's 'honest services' in connection with his activities in Ukraine.

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    4. LOL! I like that. And why not? It's used for political corruption cases.

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  2. McCarthy is correct- it is no fundamental change in what was already being done, but optically everything changed today. The hilarious thing is this- Pelosi could have just easily waited until the transcript was released tomorrow before making this statement this afternoon- it baffling to me why she didn't wait.

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  3. Steve McIntyre has a truly informative Twitter thread here debunking a great deal, and maybe all, of the defenses being offered in the media for Biden and Obama's interactions with Ukraine in 2014-2017, and doing with public and open sources of information marshalled in McIntyre's usual flawless precision.

    If you don't know who McIntyre is, he is probably the smartest man with an actual blog- the man's IQ is probably close to 200.

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    1. If he's so smart why hasn't he figured out that no matter how much you talk about the weather you'll never change it? :-)

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  4. I agree with you and Yancey. This would be hilarious if the Dems/media weren't making such a travesty of our rule of law. Every time that they think they've got DJT right where they want him, he gives them a judo flip and they end up on their back. The mainstream media no longer have any credibility.

    I'm no political analyst and am just going with my gut here. I won't be surprised if the President flips Minnesota, Nevada, Colorado, Virginia and New Mexico.

    I think a lot of the public is realizing that we are being played. Honestly, it gets old.

    Also, Odious Romney has more than worn out his welcome. What a creep. He's unctuous and oily. Does that man have one principle that motivates him, other than self-interest?

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    1. It's a tragedy for the country, and it speaks volumes about Romney that he's indulging himself in this way.

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    2. Yes.

      Romney is, in fact, odious.

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    3. I don't normally think of myself as a doofus. But there's a suppressed memory screaming at me that I contributed money to Romney in 2008. Don't remember how much, but it could've been so small that Romney would've considered it an insult. I like to think so. Then I don't feel so pathetic.

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  5. One more thing. The Deep State/Dems/Media shoot for Trump and hit Biden.

    Harris - down in the polls. Spartacus - down in the polls. Mayor Pete - listing. Beto - listing. Meanwhile, DJT fans wait hours to see him speak.

    You know what I most like about the President? He's got a spine.

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  6. Something very big is about to drop out of Durham's investigation. That is the only reason that Pelosi and her Democrat colleagues would commit political suicide in such an impromptu fashion. In addition, GOPe RINOs (including Romney and Burr) are panicking like shoplifters caught red-handed. We may well be at a unique hinge point in history. The Good Guys have yet to enter the fray since the coup was officially green-lighted back in February 2016. That may be about to change.

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    1. Giuliani is claiming he has big revelations coming up within days.

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  7. Apparently no one learned the lesson of the Clinton impeachment--unless it's a slam dunk (and it never is)--the impeached president begins to look unfairly besieged, and therefore becomes sympathetic in the eyes of the public.

    I realize the idea of Trump as sympathetic may bring a chuckle, but as he already picked up support from the lukewarm and hold-your-nose voters, Democrats and the media going after him non-stop for 3 years is sure to bring more to his side. It's just human nature to empathize with being treated as he has been.

    When "where there's smoke, there's fire" looks like a smoke machine, the metaphor is toast...

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  8. I had missed the report about the Democratic senators letter to the Ukranian government asking them to continuing cases to help the Mueller investigation. Jeez, what an own goal this has become for the Democrats- I mean, wow, the senators themselves were trying to bribe Ukraine with funds to investigate Trump.

    I am going to make prediction- Trump's phone call with Zelensky probably directly or indirectly addressed this letter from Sens. Menendez (D-N.J.), Durbin (D-Ill.), and Leahy, and Trump told Zelensky that the money wasn't contingent on continuing to aid the Mueller investigation, and that he then made a point about Biden doing the same thing in regards to Burisma and how that was no longer policy.

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    1. We shall see! Trump did express eagerness to get this stuff out.

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