Volodymyr Zelensky and Donald Trump on Wednesday, September 25th, 2019. Look at Zelensky’s face. He looks uncomfortable to say the least.
“A great conversation. A beautiful conversation. A totally appropriate conversation. It doesn’t matter what I brought up. It was totally appropriate”.
This how Trump responded to a question from a reporter regarding a purported telephone conversation he had with the head of a “foreign country”, and as a result of which a whistleblower has come forward. This person, a member of the American intelligence community, found Trump’s statements during the call so disturbing that he reported it to the Inspector General (I.G.).
The I.G. believes that what the whistleblower had said at the end of July was credible and that the phone conversation should be revealed to Congress, but he has been over-ruled by the D.N.I. (Department of National Intelligence) as well as by the D.O.J. (Dept. of Justice).
What has been reported at this point is that the American “precedent” pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, about eight different times during the phone call. As the American president, Trump does have the right to say what he wants to anyone, including world leaders, provided what he says is designed to serve the United States’ national security and interest, rather than his own personal interests, to wit his campaign for re-election. Polls are showing that Vice President Biden is the leading Democratic candidate to win the party’s nomination to run against Trump in the next presidential election, but Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris join Biden in leading Trump by between six and ten percent in a head on confrontation between any one of them and the present occupant of the White House according to the latest polls.
Trump has refused to acknowledge that the call was in any way inappropriate but has admitted that Biden’s name did come up in the phone conversation. The president’s counsel, another idiot, Rudy Giuliani, admitted in a conversation with Chris Cuomo of CNN, that he did bring up Biden’s son with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, after at first denying that he had done so.
What happens now? The Chairman of the Senate’s intelligence committee, Adam Schiff, characterized the Department of Justice’s refusal to release the complaint by the whistleblower to Congress as very disturbing which it most definitely is. It’s another example of Trump’s and Attorney-General William Barr’s – remember him? – refusal to allow Congress to exercise its oversight function as allocated to it by the American constitution. There are three independent branches in the government of any democratic state, with “independent” being the operative word.
There is an important rationale for this division of power among the three co-equal governmental branches which is to insure the diffusion of government power rather than its concentration in a more limited number of hands, in this case, in the hands of the American executive branch in the person of Donald J. Trump. The legislative branch, in this case the American Senate and House of Representatives, makes laws, the executive branch administers these laws while the judicial branch, the courts, are allocated the job of interpreting as to whether these pieces of legislation are constitutional or not.
As soon as this balance of power is impinged upon or upset, it becomes possible for a dictatorship to emerge. In Hitler’s Germany, Nazis controlled all three branches of government in the 1930’s. Bye bye democracy, hello dictatorship.
A few days later …
I couldn’t believe he would actually do it, but he did. Trump decided for some reason to release an unredacted transcript of the phone call with the Ukrainian president, a political neophyte, a television personality, a comedian, like Trump as a tv personality but unlike him as a comedian; this is neither here nor there, but suffice to say that I have never ever heard Trump say anything which I found remotely amusing. It takes some degree of intelligence to be funny, one of the many elements of character in which Trump so obviously goes lacking.
Turns out that this damning phone call was made by Trump on the day right (left) after Robert Mueller testified on Capitol Hill. So the president, wrongly assuming – because he’s so stupid – that he was in the clear and feeling his oats, made the fateful decision to call the Ukrainian president and pressured him to dig up dirt on Biden and his son, Hunter. “I want you to do us a favour, though, … “
There was no quid pro quo, literally “this for that”, i.e. “I give you military aid, you do my bidding” type of thing. If there had been such a thing unearthed in the transcript, that would be a whole other thing, according to Republican Mitt Romney.
Prior to the release of the transcript, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, after meeting with her entire caucus, that is with all Democrats who have seats in the House, announced that the House will begin an impeachment enquiry with a view to a decision about whether or not to actually begin the process of impeachment. Quite soon, as I understand it, the aforementioned whistle blower complaint will actually be forwarded to the Congress. However, the impact of this action has been significantly reduced considering the fact that the transcript of the phone call has already been released.
Unless of course, the transcript has been screwed around with by the White House prior to its release. We’ll have to see what happens.
One more thing. One thing that Nixon did leading to his being impeached, was his ordering the Internal Revenue Service – the IRS – as well as the FBI, to go after his political enemies. Trump took this one step further by getting a foreign power involved in the American electoral process.
The whistleblower’s complaint, for lack of a better word, has just been released to Congress. The question now becomes where do we go from here? What happens now?
Believe it of not, Trump still maintains support and another interesting point is that around 55% of Americans surveyed are not interested in impeaching the president.
Nice piece, JC, though a minor caveat: as of yesterday, Warren has passed Biden as leading Dem. https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/25/warren-beats-biden-national-poll-1510726
Thanks for that, Peter.
The new normal, which is terrifying. If the Republican party was not dead before, it is now. This is the Trump party, whose main concern is the propping up and protection of Trump at all costs, even to the detriment of their country.
Another nice article