Meanwhile, back at the circus, Rep. John Ratcliffe’s (R-TX) questioning of witness David Hale, the Undersecretary of State for political affairs, revealed that over the last year, the U.S. has either delayed or withheld aid to several countries.

Hale has worked in Foreign Service for over 30 years and is the third-highest-ranking official at the State Department. During that time, he has “held U.S. ambassadorships in Jordan, Lebanon and Pakistan.”

Team Schiff has created the impression that it is unheard of for the U.S. to delay foreign aid or to attach conditions to it while House Republicans have made the case that President Trump is not a huge fan of foreign aid. The President’s stance on foreign aid has remained stable throughout his presidency. Following a September 2018 speech at the United Nations, for example, NPR attacked Trump for “threatening aid to countries not backing U.S. policies” and said his position “has aid groups concerned about humanitarian needs.”

Anyway, here is an exchange between Ratcliffe and Hale at Wednesday evening’s impeachment inquiry hearing. Hale doesn’t look too happy, does he?

Rep. Ratcliffe: In the past year, was aid withheld from Pakistan?

Undersecretary Hale: Yes, sir.

Rep. Ratcliffe: Why was aid withheld from Pakistan?

Undersecretary Hale: Because of unhappiness with the policies and behavior of the Pakistani government toward certain proxy groups that were involved in conflicts with the United States.

Rep. Ratcliffe: And in the past year, was aid also withheld from Honduras?

Undersecretary Hale: Aid was withheld from the three states in northern Central America, yes.

Rep. Ratcliffe: In the past year, was aid withheld from Lebanon?

Undersecretary Hale: Yes, sir.

Rep. Ratcliffe: And when aid was first withheld from Lebanon, were you given a reason why it was withheld?

Undersecretary Hale: No.

Rep. Ratcliffe: “So, having no explanation for why aid is being withheld is not uncommon?”

Undersecretary Hale: “I would say it is not the normal way that we function.”

Rep. Ratcliffe: “But it does happen?”

Undersecretary Hale: “It does happen.”

Ratcliffe expertly shoots down the Democrats’ argument that it is unheard of or even all that unusual for the Trump administration to tie foreign aid to the policies or behavior of a beneficiary nation. Ukraine is known as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. (Matt Gaetz claims it is the world’s third most corrupt country.) Do the Democrats want to open up investigations over the delay of funds to Pakistan, Lebanon or Honduras? Must every foreign policy decision President Trump makes be second guessed by unelected government bureaucrats whose opinions differ from his?

The President sets foreign policy. Period.