|Hobbits and Dragons||
3 December 2019
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
Later today, the Democratic majority on the House Judiciary Committee will vote to send its report on its impeachment investigation to the House Judiciary Committee. If the report is sent (almost a metaphysical certainty), Judiciary will consider drafting articles of impeachment to be sent to the full House of Representatives (also a certainty). The House will then vote to impeach or not (it will). To muddy the waters, the Republican minority has issued its own report that reads like J.R.R. Tolkein. It's pure fantasy.
Jennifer Rubin, a conservative but not a supporter of the president, wrote in today's Washington Post "The Republicans' 123-page report asserts that Trump 'has a deep-seated, genuine, and reasonable skepticism of Ukraine due to its history of pervasive corruption' and aversion to foreign aid, and that public criticism by Ukrainian officials justified his suspicion." This is hobbits and dragons country.
If the president has such a skepticism, perhaps he would have mentioned his views with regard to Ukraine at some point. As constitutional scholar Professor Lawrence Tribe stated, "Trump never raised a concern with corruption as such on any call with [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky or anyone else." President Zelensky, a sit-com actor, ran and won the top job in Ukraine by promising an anti-corruption tsunami. If Mr. Trump were opposed to corruption in Ukraine, the call would have taken a much different, and more constructive, turn.
The Trump-minions said that their hero was seeking a "thoughtful review" of Ukraine's anti-corruption measures. Every year since 2017, the American government reviews Ukraine's anti-corruption moves as required by the National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA demands "a certification by the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, that the Government of Ukraine has taken substantial actions to make defense institutional reforms . . . for purposes of decreasing corruption, increasing accountability, and sustaining improvements of combat capability enabled by assistance."
A letter dated May 23 and sent by the Defense Department's undersecretary for policy, John C. Rood, to the relevant congressional committees certified that "the Government of Ukraine has taken substantial actions to make defense institutional reforms for the purposes of decreasing corruption, increasing accountability, and sustaining improvements of combat capability enabled by U.S. assistance."
Next, the argument moves from Middle Earth to the London of Sherlock Holmes and the dog that didn't bark in the Adventure of the Silver Blaze. In short, the White House would produce evidence that the president is being falsely accused if it had any. If there were documents that backed up the president, if testimony from Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney or former National Security Adviser John Bolton would exonerate him, the president would have sent it to Congress and leaked it via Twitter by now. Judciary Commitee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said it best, "If the President thinks the [July 25] call was 'perfect' and there is nothing to hide . . . [he would] provide any exculpatory information that refutes the overwhelming evidence of his abuse of power." Like the dog in Sir Arthur's story, the silence is evidence of the truth.
Above all, if the issue were corruption in Ukraine, and if the aid was withheld pending some action by Kyiv, why was the aid released in September? The president's defenders have already said he did nothing wrong because there were no investigations and the aid was released. That means there was, to their minds, no quid pro quo. Yet, if the aid were being withheld over corruption, and if nothing was done to address it, releasing the aid makes no sense at all.
If one is going to make up a defense based on made-up facts, the least one can do is make it internally logical. Frodo never went to Mount Doom, Smaug never lived, and Holmes never had digs at 221 B Baker Street. But at least those stories were internally consistent. The novella by the GOP issued today is merely bad fiction.
© Copyright 2019 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.