You can almost hear the repellent Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) contemptuous tone of voice as you read his letter to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) in which he denies the GOP’s request to call the alleged whistleblower, Eric Ciaramella, to testify before the impeachment inquiry panel. The letter can be viewed here.
Schiff starts out by doing what Democrats always do; that is to accuse Republicans of offenses that they, themselves, have committed. “…The impeachment inquiry and the Committee will not serve as vehicles for any member to carry out sham investigations into the Bidens or debunked conspiracies about 2016 U.S. election interference that President Trump pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit.” He writes:
The committee will not facilitate efforts by President Trump and his allies in Congress to threaten, intimidate and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm…The whistleblower has a right under laws championed by this committee to remain anonymous and to be protected from harm.
The impeachment inquiry, moreover, has gathered an ever-growing body of evidence — from witnesses and documents, including the president’s own words in his July 25 call record — that not only confirms but far exceeds the initial information in the whistleblower’s complaint…In light of the president’s threats, the individual’s appearance before us would only place their personal safety at grave risk.
If this were a court of law, Nunes would be the lead defense attorney representing President Trump and would not have to seek the prosecutor’s (Schiff) permission before issuing witness subpoenas. Because this is the House of Representatives, the Sixth Amendment, the confrontation clause, does not apply. And Republicans are truly at the mercy of Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The National Review’s Andrew McCarthy, who is a former U.S. attorney explains:
The confrontation clause protects only the accused at a criminal trial. The point is that before one’s liberty is taken away, one must have the opportunity to question one’s accusers. Impeachment, however, is not even a legal proceeding, much less a criminal trial. It is a political proceeding. No one’s liberty is at stake; it is strictly about whether an official should be stripped of political authority — in the president’s case, of the executive power.
Because the Constitution wholly vests the process of impeachment in the House, and the conduct of impeachment trials in the Senate, those chambers have plenary authority over the respective proceedings. No court has the power to tell the House or Senate what quantum of due process must be afforded to an official in an impeachment case. No one can make Congress apply the Sixth Amendment.
Although Schiff is operating within the law, his actions are highly partisan and unethical. They are also very transparent. He couldn’t wait for Ciaramella to testify until it was reported that he had had contact with a member or members of Schiff’s staff. Then, overnight, Ciaramella’s testimony became “unnecessary” and “redundant” because it had been corroborated by other witnesses.
Has it really been corroborated, Mr. Schiff?
On the contrary, the transcripts which have been released so far show that witnesses’ knowledge of Trump pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens in exchange for U.S. aid, are based on second, third, and even fourth-hand information. Schiff’s star witness, Bill Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, testified that his “opinions about an alleged quid pro quo demanded by Trump were formed largely from conversations with anti-Trump staffers within the diplomatic bureaucracy” and an article in the New York Times about the story.
Another witness whose testimony was said to have been especially damning was the disgruntled, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Last week, Tucker Carlson reported that she had perjured herself. In her testimony, she said she had not responded to a personal email dated August 14th from a Democratic staffer on the House Foreign Affairs Committee two days after the Ciaramella’s complaint had been filed. And lo and behold, Carlson produced a copy of her response!
She said she’d been ousted from her position over “false and unfounded claims” and that the State Department was under pressure from President Trump to remove her.
Yovanovitch had been recalled two months early from her ambassadorship because it was believed she had been working against the President. Former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko claimed she had given him a list of officials “not” to prosecute.
In her testimony, she stated, “As Mr. Lutsenko, the former Ukrainian Prosecutor General has recently acknowledged, the notion that I created or disseminated a “do not prosecute” list is completely false—a story that Mr. Lutsenko, himself, has since retracted.”
This was news to me. I had not heard that Lutsenko had retracted this allegation. In fact, investigative reporter John Solomon referred to this only days before her testimony. I searched for evidence that Lutsenko had retracted and finally found this in the last paragraph of an ABC Go article.
Around the same time, Lutsenko indicated in an interview with a Russian-language news outlet that his initial account of Yovanovitch giving him a “do-not-prosecute list” was not accurate.
They give us an approximate time, they don’t name the news outlet and they say only that his statement was not accurate. If Lutsenko had truly retracted his statement, we would have heard about it and not from a Russian-language news outlet. The truth is that many officials inside the U.S. Embassy in Kiev were corrupt. They were in the tank for Hillary and now they have to cover their tracks.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is believed to have told Ciaramella about the call. My colleague, Bonchie, posted here about this.
Much of the testimony which has been released so far offers only witness interpretation of events and/or hearsay information.
This whistleblower is not a whistleblower. I’ve posted on Ciaramella’s background and extensive connections with those who brought us three years of the Trump/Russia collusion idiocy (which can be viewed here.)
Ciaramella must testify in person. Republicans must be allowed the opportunity to cross-examine and question him. If his motive was to trigger an impeachment inquiry, and it sure looks like it was, this individual’s history, his political connections and agenda must be publicly reviewed. He must explain to 63 million Americans why he is trying to disenfranchise them.
Schiff and the other Democrats know that if Americans actually see Ciaramella in the flesh, learn his history, and hear him answer questions under oath, their case will collapse.
When an individual whose clear intention is to oust a sitting president tries to hide behind the whistleblower protection statute, it’s time to act.
Horrendous and unfair as this turn of events is, there is a silver lining. Voters are watching the Democrats’ unreasonable, corrupt and excessive actions. Obviously, the Democratic base applauds their behavior, however, most independents, or swing voters, are finding it as distasteful as Republicans do.
Expecting to find support for impeachment, a CNN reporter questioned several fans during Saturday’s LSU/Alabama football game. The reporter asked a young black man if he thought the President was being treated fairly. He replied, “Nah, nah, no I don’t. I don’t. When a man’s trying to help the country and you instead try to find a situation to [inaudible] his character…ain’t no perfect president. But I think he’s been treated unfairly.”
The reporter then asked a middle-aged white woman what she thought of “all the impeachment stuff that’s going on lately.” The woman responded, “I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s unfair and I wish they would focus on getting stuff done instead of harassing the President.”
WATCH: Americans tell CNN that President Trump has been treated unfairly by Democrats.
"I wish they would focus on getting stuff done instead of harassing the President." pic.twitter.com/vI2U79mlbG
— Trump War Room (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TrumpWarRoom) November 9, 2019
Last week, NBC sent a reporter out to gage support for impeachment among voters in early primary states. He was told that impeachment was a “waste of time” and that there was “nothing concerning” in the call. I’m surprised host Chuck Todd aired the clip on his show.
VIDEO – Voters Tell Meet The Press Impeachment Is a ‘Waste of Time,’ ‘Nothing Concerning’ with Ukraine Phone Call @JohnJHarwood @RichLowry @chucktodd @tombrokaw @tomcoleok04 @AndrewYang https://t.co/rZmihTkB3i
— Grabien (@GrabienMedia) November 3, 2019
The spectacle of Adam Schiff feigning outrage over Trump’s conversation with Zelensky and his concern for the whistleblower is simply sickening. Other than the Democrats’ base, Americans see this ruse for what it is. Schiff isn’t fooling them.
Unfortunately, the Republicans’ hands are tied. This spectacle will continue until the House takes their final vote which will almost surely result in Trump’s impeachment. Then it will go to the Senate where the President will most likely be acquitted.
Question: What will the Democrats do when Trump is re-elected?