Wednesday, November 20, 2019
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A Political Hate Exception
to the Hearsay Rule?

 

November 5, 2019 --

For "Meet the Press" (NBC News) moderator Chuck Todd, William Taylor, a former ambassador to Ukraine who returned last June to serve as temporary charge d'affaires, gave the House Intelligence Committee explosive testimony.

Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told "This Week" (ABC News) moderator Martha Raddatz that Ambassador's testimony was "devastating." 

In its lead story, October 23, The New York Times reported that Mr. Taylor "gave impeachment investigators a vivid and impassioned account of how multiple administration officials told him that President Trump blocked security aid to Ukraine and refused to meet the country's leader until he agreed to publicly pledge to investigate Mr. Trump's political rivals."   

In the adjoining column Times reporter Peter Baker wrote, "In by far the most damning account yet to become public in the House impeachment inquiry Mr. Taylor described a president holding up $391 million in assistance for the clear purpose of forcing Ukraine to help incriminate Mr. Trump's domestic rivals." 

(Note that the plural "rivals" was used in both accounts in the Times).   

This media hyperbole on the Taylor testimony does nothing more that underscore the fervor of anti-Trump bias  in the media.

The lead editorial in The Wall Street Journal, October 24 -- "Schiff's Secret Bombshells" -  offered a stark contrast to the anti-Trump twist to the Taylor testimony: "The problem with this [quid pro quo] narrative is that all we have to rely on is Mr. Taylor's opening statement and leaks from Democrats." 

Another problem, as the lead Times story makes clear, is that Ambassador Taylor's testimony was based on second-hand information,  on hearsay.  

The Journal further pointed out that Chairman Schiff's aim is to influence public opinion by taking "secret testimony, followed by selective leaks to the friendly media to put everything in the most anti-Trump light...."    If the tactic of piling hearsay upon hearsay in the impeachment inquiry is accepted, Chairman Schiff will have created a political-hate exception to the hearsay rule.

(LPR believes the Democrats' goal is to so influence public opinion that Republican senators, fearing the loss of their Senate majority, will turn against President Trump and join Senate Democrats in the Senate trial to convict and remove the president from office.  Well, if "quid pro quo" becomes an article of impeachment to oust President Trump, that should go a long way to reforming our campaign financing laws, not to mention draining the swamp.   Or are we not to dare think that campaign contributions can often be a matter of "this for that?")

 

Red Line

Two examples of "Deep State" reports in The New York Times, the unofficial organ of  the resistance to President Trump

November 5, 2019 --

1)  On word that Attorney General Barr opened a criminal investigation into the origins of Russsia-gate:

"The opening of a criminal investigation  is likely to raise alarms that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies."  (Oct. 25.)

2)   On word that an American special operations raid resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr-al-Baghdadi:

"[According to unidentified intelligence and military officials]. Mr. al-Baghdadi's death in the raid on Saturday...occurred largely in spite of, and not because of, Mr. Trump's actions."  (Oct. 28.)


 

Red Line

About that July 25 Phone Conversation

November 5, 2019 --

The lead story in The New York Times, October 29 reported that "Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council" planned "to tell House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that he heard President Trump appeal to Ukraine's president to investigate one of his leading political rivals, a request the aide considered so damaging that he reported it to a superior."   

But the American people already have a transcript of the July 25 phone conversation between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.  Does testimony from a member of the National Security Council replete with his personal conclusions about the correctness of a presidential conversation supersede the direct account of that conversation? 

The Tiimes quoted Lt. Col. Vindman as expressing his concern that a Ukrainian probe of the Bidens and Burisma "'would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.'"   Vindman is then quoted as saying: "'This would all undermine U.S. national security".  LPR considers the Vindman statement as an assertion that congressional Democrats have a veto on Ukraine policy, based on the Democrat self-interest.

 

 

Red Line

LPR here sets down relevant portions of the transcript of the Trump-Zelensky phone conversation

November 5, 2019 --

President Trump to President Zelensky:   I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine know a lot about it. I would like you top find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike [a cybersecurity company]...I guess you have one of your wealthy people ...  The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you are surrounding yourself with some of the same people.  I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it.  As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of its started with Ukraine.  Whatever you can do, it;s very important that you do its if that's possible.      [President Zelensky told Mr. Trump that he was replacing to ambassador to the U.S., would  surround himself "with great people, " and guaranteed "that all the investigations will be done  openly and candidly."]

President Trump's   reference to former Vice President Biden:    There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatver you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it... It sounds horrible to me.   [President Zelensky said he understood the situation and the next prosecutor will look into it. Mr. Zelensky said that  any additional information "would be very  helpful."

President Zelensky went on to agree with President Trump's criticism of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.  Mr.  Zelensky added, "Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new President well enough."  ( The Ukraine president's comment stands in stark contrast to The Washington Post's account of  Ambassador Yovanovitch's  testimony before  the impeachment inquiry October 11.  According to this account,  Ms. Yovanovitch  "was caught in a storm of unsubstantiated allegations pushed by the president's personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani and a cast of former Ukrainian officials who viewed her as a threat to their financial and political interests."    As her testimony was also given behind closed doors, the Post must have published its story based on leaks.)

LPR perceives at least two messages from this "impeachment inquiry": Mr. Trump, lacking full presidential powers, is subordinate to the views of the bureaucracy, and, Democratic presidential candidates are above the law. Republican senators: take notice.

 

 
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Red Line

Do We Face a Seven Days in November-type Coup?

November 5, 2019 --

Retired Navy admiral William H. McRaven organized and "oversaw" the 2011 raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and apparently worked with CIA Director John Brennan on the raid.  When the Trump administration revoked the former CIA director's security clearance, Admiral McRaven sent an open letter to President Trump to The Washington Post that was published August 16, 2018, praising Mr. Brennan.  He then wrote that "I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance, as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency."   The admiral sharply criticized the president:  "Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation."   He continued, "If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken."

More recently, Admiral McRaven wrote an op-ed for The New York Times, October 17, 2019, "Our Republic Is Under Attack From the President."   This article cited  the comment to the admiral from a retired four star general: "'I don't like the Democrats, but Trump is destroying the Republic.'"   

The op-ed ended with the suggestion that "The fate of our Republic depends upon" a new president in the White House, "the sooner, the better."

If the past two years, ten months, have taught us any political lesson, it certainly is that under President Trump, vigorous, even over-the-top, dissent flourishes.

Indeed, as a September 5, 2018 op-ed indicated, members of the federal bureaucracy feel free not only to speak out against the president (if, at times,  anonymously) but "are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations." The title of this anonymous op-ed is:  "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration."   

Hints of McCarthyism have been cropping up only from the left side of the political spectrum and those are conservatives in the leftist cross-hairs.

What next: a call to remove President Trump not because he is authoritarian, but because the resistance shows him to be too weak?

 
"A vote that represents free will is never wasted"
-- David Zukerman
 

Red Line

2019 - The Year the Nationals Won the World Series  (with Broadway musical to follow)

November 5, 2019 --

Congratulations Washington  Nationals on your World Series victory, defeating the Houston Astros in seven games, winning four - - and all on the road.
But then, the Astros also won their three games, also on the road.   This is the first time in World Series history (and perhaps in  the history of all U.S. professional sports) that all the championship games were won by the visiting team.   

For LPR, the great achievement by the Nationals stirred "mystic chords of memory) to evoke the Washington Senators of yore, who must be applauding the Nationals, albeit a different franchise, from the Great Stadium in the Sky.

The spirit of Joe Hardy again returned to the Nationals' Howie Kendrick,  October 30, encouraging him to  hit a home run in the seventh inning of the seventh game that put the Nationals in the lead for good at 3-2.  Washington went on to score three more runs to win the deciding game, 6-2.  In this World Series, as throughout the 2019 season, the Washington baseball club bounced back from imminent defeat.  There is a good lesson here for all of us to absorb.

 

 

Red Line

Now for the Politics of the Nationals' Championship

November 5, 2019 --

President Trump, who was booed when he attended the fifth game in Nationals Park, sent a tweet congratulating the Nationals.  This item is written on October 31, two days before the victory parade, November 2, in D.C.   LPR wonders if the president will be invited to participate in any of the victory celebrations. LPR also wonders if the Nationals will be invited to the White House, if so, whether all team members will go.

LPR cannot expect that the rabid partisanship gripping House Democrats will be softened by the glow of the Nationals' terrific accomplishment.  The House, less than 24 hours after the National's victory,  voted along party lines,   232- 196,  to impose impeachment inquiry rules on the Republicans.    Yet, how wonderful it would be if   the presence of the  World Series Championship Trophy in the District of Columbia  reduced the partisan strife on Washington's Capitol Hill. 

 May the Spirit of the Nationals' victory travel the mile or so from Nationals Park to Capitol Hill to encourage a national spirit in the House and Senate.    Just look what working together as a team, in the face of adversity, has done for the Washington baseball club.   May  a spirit of cooperation remove  the spirit of accusation that  Imperial Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as brought to the House chamber.


 

Red Line

LPR Clicksters, Please Help This Item Go Viral

November 5, 2019 --

If the presence of the World Series trophy in Washington cannot dissipate partisan zealotry on Capitol Hill, Republicans should impress on the public the fact that an impeachment is just an accusation.  (The definition of "impeach" is  "to bring an accusation." )    Should the House approve a partisan impeachment,  it will merely approve a partisan accusation, and President Trump has been dealing with one partisan accusation after another, from the time he was sworn in, January 20, 2017.   For example the day she took office, MIchigan Democrat Rashid Tlaib used a vulgar term in calling  for impeachment of the president.  But Articles of impeachment are merely articles of allegations.  They prove nothing, certainly not guilt.   

 John Batchelor indicated on his radio program, October 30,  that the push to impeach by House Democrats is "electioneering."  LPR agrees.     Democrats seem to be  hoping that  the voters will confuse the anti-Trump accusations for evidence of guilt,  and vote against the president a year from now.  The  Democrats hope  that a confused public will encourage Senate Republicans to turn against the president and  convict him on the Democrats'  absurd accusations. 

The Hill website, October 31, reported that many Senate Republicans "have expressed concern over the drip-drip of damaging revelations."   A Republican senator who considers mere accusations to be "damaging revelations " is a senator whose powers of discernment have become rather fuzzy.  Now is again the  time to recall the wisdom of Honest Abe:  "you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time.  But you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

And by the way, Kimberley A. Strassel , in The Wall Street Journal, last May, months before the phony Ukraine accusation,  pointed out that the constituents in the "uber-liberal districts" want their representatives to get "Trump's scalp."   Articles of Impeachment against the president  are just accusations that amount to paper hatchets;  they deserve shredding by the Senate, on receipt.

 

 

Red Line

A De Facto Call for Good Sportsmanship

November 5, 2019 --

(Copied from The Hill, October 29)

Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.) on Monday criticized the crowd at Game 5 of the World Series, played Sunday in Washington, for booing President Trump and chanting "lock him up."

"Well, forgive me, I’m enough of a sort of traditionalist about our institutions that even at a time when there is a lot that our president does that I find disturbing, offensive, unconventional, I have a hard time with the idea of a crowd on a globally televised sporting event chanting 'lock him up' about our president," Coons said in an appearance on CNN's "New Day."
"I frankly think the office of the president deserves respect, even when the actions of our president don’t," Coons added.

[LPR just wonders what actions the senator is referring to. LPR wholeheartedly would agree that the president relishes being irreverent, in this Mark Twain context: "Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its only sure defense.)

 

 

 
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November 5, 2019 --

This Just In (November 1) ...

The president invited the World Champion Washington Nationals to the White House, November 4, and they accepted! May this encourage the spirit of good sportsmanship in our Nation's Capital, generally.

The World is Still Waiting ...

...for Brexit to take effect,
...for Israel to get a new government,
...for the  Trump administration's report on the origins of Russiagate to be released.

Could it Possibly Be ...

...that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff first got elected to Congress because not a few voters thought they were choosing Steven Hill, the great actor who portrayed District Attorney "Adam Schiff" from 1990 to 2000, on Law and Order?   

The Democratic Debates ...

The remaining debates in 2019 will take place on November 20 and December 19.  The 12 candidates in the October 15 debate are eligible for the November debate.  This far, only former Vice President Biden, and Senators Sanders and Warren have qualified for the December debate which, among other things, requires at least a four percent showing in polls. 

The Anti-Trump Strategy of Weakening Senate GOP support for the President Begins ...

(From former Democratic Rep. Steve Israel in  "The Hill," October 30)  "The larger the number of House Republicans who vote to impeach Trump, the larger the number of Senate Republicans who will feel pressure to convict him." 

An Impeachment  Inquiry Request  to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ...

On October 24, fifty of the fifty-three Republican senators sponsored a resolution calling on the House of Representatives "to vote to initiate a formal impeachment inquiry" that provides "due process" to the president and, among other things, gives House Republicans "equal authority to issue subpoenas and other compulsory process."   This is to request that you advise the American people as to  whether the October 31 House vote on an impeachment inquiry complies with your call to the House,  on this  inquiry, and, if not, what the Senate's response will be.

LPR Strongly Recommends ...

...as persuasive argument against the Democrats' push to impeach, the op-ed article by attorneys  David B. Rivkin, Jr. and Elizabeth Price Foley, in The Wall Street Journal, Octob er 26-27, 2019. The piece is titled: "This Impeachment Subverts the Constitution." On the quid pro quo question, Mr. Rivkin and Ms. Foley point out: "[T]he Constitution gives the president plenary authority to conduct foreign affairs and diplomacy, including broad discretion over the timing and release of appropriated funds." The authors also note: "[T]here is credible evidence that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election at the request of senior Obama administration officials."   The authors assert that the House Democrats are attempting "to overrule the constitutional process for selecting the president and thus subvert American democracy itself." (It has occured to LPR that the Democrats' impeachment push amounts to a clever try at a cover-up.)

 

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