California Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her psychotic band of impeachment managers are already reeling from the impending blow to their dream of calling more witnesses to testify in the Senate trial.
The witness tally for President Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings stands at 18 for Democrats and zero for him. One would think Democrats would be thrilled at the epic scale of disproportionality and lack of fairness in the conduct of the process so far.
Instead they are going ballistic with their demands for yet more witnesses while maneuvering to block any attempt from Republicans to call the whistleblower whose complaint triggered the inquiry, even though it was riddled with lies. His testimony is critical to understanding why the impeachment was launched.
He accused the president of using military aid as a quid pro quo to improperly influence Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July 25th phone call to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The transcript of the call, released by the White House last September, did not back up the whistleblower’s claim, since Trump never even mentioned military aid.
Democrats have also objected vociferously to calls for Biden and his son to testify, even though they used Trump’s discussion about the Bidens to formulate their two articles of impeachment.
Biden should answer for allegations that he strong-armed former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko by threatening to withhold a $1 billion loan unless he fired Prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who happened to be investigating Ukraine natural gas firm Burisma Holdings while Hunter Biden was a board member. These were some of the concerns Trump was expressing to Zelensky.
Even more perplexing is the indifference among so called moderate Republicans for the lack of due process that has been inflicted on the president and his defense team. They are more sympathetic to the Democrats’ demands but seem unresponsive to Trump’s desire to hear from material witnesses that could bolster his case.
Moderate Republican senators like Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) seem totally unconcerned about explosive revelations in a report released by investigative reporter Tom Sperry on Thursday for Real Clear Investigations.
The House Intelligence Committee hired two National Security Council aides that served under the Obama administration — Abigail Grace and Sean Misko, who had worked with the alleged whistleblower. Sperry reported that Misko and the whistleblower have a close relationship and were overheard discussing efforts to try to ‘take out the president’ as early as 2017. Republicans should be concerned about what role Grace and Misko had played in the House’s impeachment investigation.
The whistleblower should be grilled about his allegation that Trump made a “specific request that the Ukrainian leader locate and turn over servers used by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and examined by the U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike”. The transcript of the call revealed that the president mentioned CrowdStrike, but did not demand the server.
The whistleblower also accused U.S. diplomat Kurt Volker of moving in mid-May to “contain the damage” from Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s outreach to Ukraine, a claim disproved by a July 19 text message conversation from Volker to Giuliani.
Fox News obtained the messages last year showing that Volker had urged Giuliani to reach out to Ukraine stating, “connecting you here with Andrey Yermak, who is very close to President Zelensky.”
His complaint said the president “suggested that Mr. Zelensky might want to keep” his current prosecutor general, but the transcript contained no such request.
His most explosive accusation was riddled with disinformation. “In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple U.S. officials that senior White House officials had intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced — as is customary — by the White House Situation Room,” he asserted.
A senior White House officer told CNN that the transcript was placed in a separate electronic system at the direction of National Security Council lawyers. It was a secure password protected server, not a secret server. The White House had been plagued by leakers like the whistleblower’s source, and “NSC lawyers directed that the classified document be handled appropriately.”
The whistleblower claimed the phone call transcript between Trump and Zelensky did not contain anything “remotely sensitive,” but the transcript was classified as “secret” due to the sensitive nature of the conversation and national security concerns.
Democrats have stepped up demands for John Bolton’s testimony after leaks from his soon-to-be-published book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” leaked to The New York Times. The timing of the leak mysteriously coordinated with Trump’s trial.
It claimed Trump told Bolton he wanted to withhold military assistance from Ukraine unless it helped him with investigations into Joe Biden. The timing of the story from an ‘anonymous source’ seemed suspicious. Moderate Republicans have expressed great interest in hearing from Bolton.
In another ‘explosive’ revelation from the book, which broke Friday, Bolton wrote about an Oval Office conversation in early May that included the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, who is now leading the president’s impeachment defense.
Bolton wrote that Trump told him to call Zelensky, just after he became president, to ensure that Zelensky would meet with Mr. Giuliani, who was planning a trip to Ukraine to discuss the investigations that the president sought. Bolton wrote that he never made the call. This new bombshell does not undercut Trump’s defense.
Trump’s legal team has argued that the evidence supporting the articles of impeachment are based on hearsay. It also asserts Trump did not commit an impeachable offense, even if the allegations are true. The money was released to Ukraine without any indication the country would pursue an investigation and the call transcript had no reference to any quid pro quo.
In a sign of good fortune for Trump, Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced Thursday he has decided to vote against witnesses.
Murkowski also announced Friday she will not support new witnesses, to the consternation of Democrats. Republicans will secure a 51-49 vote to block witnesses, suggesting he could be acquitted as soon as McConnell puts his foot down and shuts the circus down. Democrats needed to convince at least four Republicans to back their demands.
“The House chose to send articles of impeachment that are rushed and flawed. I carefully considered the need for additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings of its process, but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena,” Murkowski said in a statement.
Democrats say they will refuse to accept his acquittal because his “sham” trial lacked proper witnesses and evidence. Impeachment watchers around the country who have been bored into numbness are collectively yawning at this prospect.