Friday, October 23, 2020
Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor

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?")