One problem: There is no smoking gun on the Ukraine call. Can House Democrats survive another anti-climactic Mueller Report?
When at first it was “White House whistle-blower exposes Trump threat to withhold Ukrainian military aid for dirt on political opponent,” that was something.
After the White House release of the transcript revealed no clear “quid pro quo” as Democrats had promised, there followed much reading into of pauses, transcript notations, punctuation.
There have even been comparisons between the length of the call versus the length of the transcript. The length of other state calls of a similar nature have also been analyzed and compared to the Ukraine call in question.
Of course, none of this will convince the American public of the necessity of impeachment. Most people who are not being paid to do so do not, and never will, follow political news and commentary so closely.
Even people who do follow politics this closely become somewhat annoyed when- after studiously considering the different calls, lengths, common punctuation practices, etc- find the admission that the pauses in question might have been lags in interpretation.
A direct quid pro quo might have been convincing:
Democratic mind-reading into conversational pauses is not.
“Sure, this is what Trump said,” Democrats are busily assuring voters in their home districts this week, “But we all know what Trump meant.”
But failing to bolster Democratic arguments that this call took place in the wider context of Trump putting the military-aid withholding thumbscrews to the Ukraine for information on the Bidens, is the full congressional testimony of the Ukrainian Envoy Ambassador Kurt Volker.
It is 11-pages of assurances that the Trump administration never asked the Ukraine to investigate the Bidens prior to that call and never threatened to withhold military aid contingent on Biden dirt.
The Trump administration wanted the Ukraine to deal with its own government corruption, and to look into 2016 U.S. election hacking, but it never offered aid for dirt on Joe Biden and never threatened to withhold it.
But the American people, by and large, don’t really have the time or energy to read that either.
Buried deep within one of the dozens of other news stories reporting on the Ukraine phone call, another salient fact often overlooked by major media outlets breathlessly covering this story emerges.
Both Trump and the Ukrainian President used an interpreter during the call.
That brings the number of people who were on this call to at least 10: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s national security advisor, the Ukrainian President, and one assumes, at least two of his top aides. And at least one professional transcript writer.
Plus two interpreters.
Plus, whoever else listened to the call and found it objectionable enough to draft a complaint.
And can we please be honest for a moment: This call was recorded.
Are you kidding me? Call customer service about a recent purchase and its recorded. Recording telephone conversations is cheap, easy, and perfect. It can be done with an app. Virtual storage is virtually unlimited.
A phone call between two heads of state during which they planned to discuss matters of international importance- including a major election hacking scandal, Ukrainian corruption, a fired prosecutor, and the investigation of a Trump political rival- wasn’t recorded by anyone from either government?
If you believe that, you deserve to be misled on impeachment.
Perhaps Trump is sitting on the recording, waiting to see how far out on the impeachment limb House Democrats are willing to go. So he can snatch that limb out from under them with certain proof that nothing else happened on that call.
Mueller had a rabbit hole; this Ukrainian call is a puddle.
Yet our Democratic Party betters at USA Today and elsewhere insist that though this is one call, an impeachment inquiry is likely to uncover other instances of wrongdoing.
How? House Democrats and Robert Mueller had well-nigh on three years, 14 top Democratic attorneys and $20 million dollars; Donald Trump remains in office.
Multiple House Committees have been inquiring into impeachment since 2016; Donald Trump remains in office.
Why should the American public support another failed Democratic attempt to oust this unpopular President?
The real message Democrats are sending is that they intend to throw everything they can at Trump, in hopes that something is bound to stick sooner or later. With one tiny caveat: “(assuming Congress can confirm this reporting with documents or witnesses)”
It is difficult to see how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can maneuver Democrats out of this mess while maintaining her majority. Democrats can defend this political theatre an “exercise in the restoration of public health” all they like.
But it is exactly this type of elitist moralizing that caused so many in the working class to abandon the Democratic Party in favor Trump in 2016.
An exercise that doesn’t accomplish anything is called an exercise in futility.
The working class isn’t impressed with those.
The condescending message of “We’re not really doing anything, but we’re doing it for your own good,” isn’t likely to sit well with undecided or independent voters either.
Democrats are engaging in something that is reckless, futile, and has an almost zero chance of removing Trump from office, all for the sake of a morality play.
Lower health-care costs? Keeping wage gains on pace with jobs gains? Criminal justice reform?
Winning the upcoming election?
Please. Democrats can’t be bothered by the voting public’s meager and plebeian economic needs or expectations;
Democrats are making a point.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)