Appreciating Courage, Taking the Time to Find the Facts
We may be heading towards the end of Donald Trump’s presidency. The news of his behavior gets worse and worse, and he appears to be oblivious to the crimes he is committing in the public square, or maybe he believes that doubling down, threatening, bullying and lying will make it all go away – strategies that have worked quite well for him in the past. It won’t; the facts will come out, and so far they are becoming worse and worse for him.
This appears to have been a carefully plotted and planned strategy by the President and his personal attorney; it included replacing the US ambassador who stood in their way and withholding Congressionally approved military assistance for months to apply pressure. It was not a casual, off the cuff Presidential whim. The President and Giuliani used the State Department’s ambassadors to pressure the newly elected president of the Ukraine to start a politically motivated investigation of the Bidens, using a presidential visit and hold up in military aid as inducements. They may have used the Vice President, whether wittingly or unwittingly as well. A new whistleblower with first hand knowledge is emerging in the intelligence community to support these allegations. Another whistleblower has surfaced inside the Treasury Department on political interference in the audit of Trump’s tax returns. There is a verbatim transcript of the President’s call with the President of the Ukraine that has yet to emerge. There are transcripts of calls with other leaders that have been hidden away and may prove damaging.
The ex-Prosecutor General of the Ukraine, on whom Rudy Giuliani and President Trump were relying, has recently stated the Bidens did nothing wrong in the Ukraine. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/former-ukraine-prosecutor-says-hunter-biden-did-not-violate-anything/2019/09/26/48801f66-e068-11e9-be7f-4cc85017c36f_story.html Kurt Volker, Trump’s envoy to the Ukraine, said in his testimony to Congress that Joe Biden is a man of unquestioned integrity who he has known for 24 years and that he told this to Rudy Giuliani, the President’s attorney. https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/464422-volker-defended-biden-in-statement-to-congressional-panels
President Trump can be impeached, but cannot be removed from office without substantial Republican support. A few elected Republicans are standing up at a time when genuine bipartisanship is needed to investigate and resolve this nightmare. The President and his echo chambers in the right wing media are vilifying them. They need to be given support, acknowledgement and appreciation for their courage at a time when courage in standing up to the President among their colleagues has been in short supply. Representative Justin Amash was the first elected Republican to read the full Mueller report and publicly state that its conclusions justify impeachment; he tweeted that Mueller’s report "reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment." He has been exiled by House Republicans. Senator Romney said “By all appearance, the President’s brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling.” Senator Susan Collins said “I thought the president made a big mistake by asking China to get involved in investigating a political opponent.” “It’s completely inappropriate.” Senator Ben Sasse said "Hold up: Americans don’t look to Chinese commies for the truth. If the Biden kid broke laws by selling his name to Beijing, that’s a matter for American courts, not communist tyrants running torture camps."
The Republicans running against Trump for the Presidency have been less than complimentary about his efforts to extort the Ukrainians to benefit his own re-election – a bit beyond traditional campaign hyberbole. Bill Weld, the ex-Governor of Massachusetts said "That's not just undermining Democratic institutions, that is treason. It's treason, pure and simple." Joe Walsh, the strongly opinionated ex-Congressman from Illinois, “called President Donald Trump a "traitor" for asking Ukraine and China to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, and again argued Trump should be impeached for asking other countries to "interfere in our election." My guess is that their reasoning is that withholding military aid to an ally trying to fight the Russians who have invaded their country in order to advance the President’s re-election and destroy his strongest Democratic challenger would constitute treason. Mark Sanford, the former Governor of South Carolina was more measured about impeaching the President saying “It would seem to me that the logical answer is yes… I want them to go through their process. Again, I’m not going to prejudge the process.” “What you don’t do as president of the United States is say ‘Why don’t we get our attorney general involved with a foreign power to help wipe out a domestic political foe.’” Former Ohio Governor and recent Presidential candidate John Kasich said “If we don’t deal with this we become like a banana republic,” he continued. “And where are the Republicans? What are they, hiding?” Kasich also called on Republicans to focus on making all the facts of the case available instead of retreating into partisanship. “You have to make sure that you’re not putting your party, and your own little hide, ahead of what is correct in this case.”
GOP Governors Charley Baker of Massachusetts and Phil Scott of Vermont have called for an impeachment inquiry to determine the facts, whatever they may be.
A real problem is that so far we may be only seeing the tip of the iceberg of President Trump’s efforts to secure his re-election by abusing his Presidential powers to destroy and damage his Democratic opponents. This should be a fair and square election based on his performance in office and the competing ideas, experience and talents of his opponents, not one in which other nations, whether the Russians, Chinese or Ukrainians, are induced to meddle in our electoral process (with promises of favorable treatment) and hide their fingerprints.
Enormous damage has already been done to Vice President Biden by these false allegations. That bell cannot be un-rung. The President has also done enormous damage to his own stature and standing with the nation’s voters; that damage at least is self-inflicted, but it also cannot be undone.
This is not a criminal trial, but it is a fact-finding inquiry and assessment of whether the President’s conduct merits the almost never applied punishment of impeachment. It is imperative that Congressional Committees give the President and his supporters ample time to cross examine and present extenuating and exculpatory evidence, but at the same time they must brook none of the common delay tactics since time is of the essence if Republicans may well have to vet and find an alternative candidate.
This is going to be a difficult and wrenching time and process for the nation, let’s first learn the facts, let’s support the inquiry, let’s support those politicians who are putting their careers on the line across the sharply drawn party lines in Congress. This is a time for serious reflection on the lessons and expectations from the framers of our Constitution, for the conduct of our nation’s most serious business, and for incalculable political courage and statesmanship across the nation.
Prepared by: Lucien Wulsin
PS: Brand new information suggests corruption that may be linked to Secretary Perry and several other Trump allies and contributors may have been instrumental in Trump’s decision to remove the American ambassador who was standing in their way and his phone call with Ukraine’s President. They were seeking to take over control of the Ukraine’s largest natural gas company to benefit their business interests. https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/464593-trump-associates-pressured-ukraine-over-gas-firm-in-order-to-benefit
PPS: Never a good sign that you have nothing to hide when you refuse to turn over any documents and instruct all executive branch personnel not to testify. Oldest lawyers’ trick in the book “when neither the facts nor the law are on your side, pound the table and yell as loud as you can about the unfair process railroading your client.”