By R. Cort Kirkwood - thenewamerican.com
Yet again, President Trump has outsmarted the Democrats.
The anti-Trump Left on Capitol Hill has been howling about President Trump's putative treason and attack on the Constitution during a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has opened an inquiry for impeachment thanks to an anti-Trump "whistleblower" who, with no first-hand knowledge of the call, claimed Trump importuned Zelensky to harm Biden.
Trump's crime? He asked Zelenksy to get to the bottom of former Vice President Joe Biden's push in March of 2016 to fire the country's prosecutor, who was probing a company that had Biden's son, Hunter, on the payroll. For this, we are to believe, Trump must be impeached. And so he released the call's transcript.
House Democrats have badly miscalculated. The transcript does not show that Trump asked Zelenksy to help wreck Biden's candidacy or otherwise interfere with the 2020 election. Indeed, 2020 goes unmentioned. Second, even if they impeach Trump, the Senate won't convict. Third, they exposed their leading 2020 presidential candidate Biden to more questions about his role in sacking Ukraine's top prosecutor.
Trump and Zelensky exchanged the usual pleasantries before Biden came up. Zelensky promised that "all the investigations will be done openly and candidly. That I can assure you."
Here are Trump's remarks:
"Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that's really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved... The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, 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 whatever 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."
Replied Zelensky, "I understand and I'm knowledgeable about the situation."
Trump closed by telling Zelensky that he would "have [Rudy] Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I'm sure you will figure it out. I heard the prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fair prosecutor so good luck with everything."
As The New American reported in April, citing John Solomon's report in The Hill, Biden bragged about pushing then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to pink slip prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was probing Burisma Holdings, a natural gas company. The threat? The United States would withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees if Shokin didn't get the boot.
Said Biden, "I said, 'You're not getting the billion.' I'm going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: 'I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money.'"
Did Biden succeed? You bet: "Well, son of a b***h, he got fired," Biden crowed. "And they put in place someone who was solid at the time."
It so happens, however, that Burisma paid Hunter Biden's consulting firm $166,000 a month between April 2014 and October 2015, a whopping $3 million. As Solomon reported, Burisma's payments occurred "during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia."
Hunter was on Burisma's board of directors, and, the New York Times reported, received as much as $50,000 a month from the consultancy.
Shokin, Solomon wrote, planned "interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden."
So, if the Democrats are to be believed, Trump committed an impeachable offense when he suggested that Ukraine investigate a case of possible influence peddling: A former vice president had threatened Ukraine with a severe financial penalty if it didn't fire the prosecutor who was investigating a company that had paid the vice president's son a small fortune.
At the United Nations, Zelensky backed Trump's account and said "nobody pushed me" improperly.
The upshot of the story: Trump might well have tricked the Democrats into a suicidal attack over nothing, and concomitantly opened their top candidate to more scrutiny over his activities when he was the Obama administration's top hand on Ukraine.
The war whoops over Elizabeth Warren's "surge" in the polls notwithstanding, Biden still holds a 7.6-percent lead in the Real Clear Politics average.
For the record, the Left has been pushing or discussing impeachment since before Trump received the GOP nomination for president on July 19, 2016.