House Democrats’ “impeachment inquiry” is looking more and more like a kangaroo court — a rush to make President Trump look as bad as possible, as quickly as possible, rather than an effort to get all the facts on the public record. Case in point: Their handling of this week’s hearing with former US Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker.
Democrats rushed out of the closed-door sitdown to claim Volker’s testimony was damning to President Trump. But Republicans claimed the reverse — and, tellingly, they’re the ones calling for the transcript to be made public.
Equally important, the texts that Volker shared with the committee (leaked to ABC News) indicate the president wasn’t using military aid to blackmail Ukraine’s leaders.
Specifically, they show an exchange where one US diplomat, Bill Taylor, complains, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”
But then Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, calls that charge “incorrect,” explaining, “The President has been crystal clear: no quid pro quos of any kind. The president is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign.”
Crucially, Volker — a former protégé of the late Sen. John McCain, and thus no Trump partisan — has reportedly told friends he believes the holdup was about the general corruption issue. And Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) said Volker’s testimony “just blew a massive hole throughout the entirety” of the “allegations of a quid pro quo.”
Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) noted that the whistleblower complaint basically cites Volker as its “star witness” — yet “everything he said unsubstantiated this claim of a quid pro quo.”
Meanwhile, other texts among the diplomats show them working to get Ukraine “to initiate and complete a transparent and unbiased investigation of all available facts and episodes, including those involving [energy company] Burisma and the 2016 US elections” — hardly an impeachable action, as Rep. Adam Schiff and other Dems have charged.
Maybe the president and Rudy Giuliani were chasing ghosts in asking Ukraine to look into it all — but they were seeking the truth, not a frame.
Yes, Taylor didn’t see it that way. But he’s a career diplomat — part of an establishment that Trump has promised to disrupt. Like the whistleblowing CIA agent, he’s naturally going to suspect the president’s motives.
But so far all the allegations are merely suspicion and hearsay that seem to confirm what Trump-haters believe.
House Democrats are hoping to get to a floor vote on impeachment within a month — 13 times as fast as the Watergate Committee moved in President Richard Nixon’s case. Guess that schedule doesn’t leave time for them to gather any actual evidence.