Here are the Democratic talking points on impeachment, composed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, reported by LA Times congressional reporter Jennifer Haberkorn.
Democrats’ impeachment talking points: pic.twitter.com/25glTOGSZq
— Jennifer Haberkorn (@jenhab) October 16, 2019
But there are some problems with these talking points re: the Ukraine call.
First, let’s start with that they’ve pretty much all been debunked.
1. National Security. Democrats claim President Donald Trump endangered our national security by withholding “critical military aid” for his “personal political gain.”
That never happened. First, no aid was ever actually withheld. Second, while the administration was considering holding up aid over issues of corruption, Kurt Volker testified that the Ukrainians were not aware of that on the call and so that it couldn’t have been used as a quid pro quo on the call. The Ukrainian president also confirmed that there was no pressure and no quid pro quo mentioned. The transcript also confirmed that that never came up.
2. Undermined our elections. Democrats claim that Trump was using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 election, actions that pose a risk to national security.
Trump asked the Ukrainian president to check if the investigation into Burisma was shut down properly. He did not solicit interference in the 2020 election. An important point to make when most media is reporting it as he requested they investigate Hunter/Joe Biden. That’s not what he said.
3. Abuse of Power. They claim Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election to “do us a favor though.” But the “do us a favor” comment didn’t relate to the Biden conversation, it related to the question of investigating the 2016 election interference, Trump was asking about the server and Crowdstrike. How does that have anything to do with 2020? And why do the Democrats not want to get to the bottom of 2016 interference and what happened to the DNC server? What’s wrong with wanting that investigated?
4. No one is above the law. All they say here is the president will be held accountable. Apparently winning in 2016 is for what he is being “held accountable.”
The problem with this list? They’re all things that Democrats have allegedly done, some in the process of trying to get Trump.
Withholding aid for personal political gain?
There’s Joe Biden’s threat, admitted on video, that he would withhold aid if they didn’t fire the prosecutor. The prosecutor later filed an affidavit in an Austrian legal matter saying he’d been fired because he was in fact investigating Burisma, Joe Biden’s son’s firm. Biden disputes that, saying he was only trying to get the prosecutor fired because of corruption.
As Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) notes, there’s also a letter from three Democratic senators in 2018, threatening withholding aid if the Ukrainians didn’t help to provide info in the Mueller probe. As Paul notes, why is that ok but what Trump did is not?
How about undermining elections?
Where do we begin? Democrats buying alleged Russian information through foreign national Christopher Steele/Fusion GPS, to undermine Trump. Democrats allegedly involved in soliciting interference from Ukraine in the 2016 election to get dirt on Paul Manafort to undermine Trump. See the Democrats 2018 letter mentioned above which could also apply here.
Abuse of power?
What do you call conducting an “impeachment inquiry” without a formal bipartisan vote, with Democrats kicking GOP members out and hearings being held in secret with witnesses when there’s nothing classified in the hearing? With Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) making up what was said in the call and misleading about the contacts he and his staff had with the whistleblower. What do you call endless investigations in regard to Russia and now the Ukraine call when there’s far more to suggest that Democrats themselves should be investigated, if you applied the same standards?
Nobody is above the law.
This perhaps should be changed to no Republican is above the law. Because since the Obama administration, it has seemed that Democrats are often above the law, while Republicans like Trump are “below” the law.
John Brennan’s CIA spied on Congress and Brennan lied about it. The Obama administration was caught spying on reporters. Hillary Clinton sent and received classified information on a private server. No consequences for any of those few examples, there are many more.
Will there be consequences for the surveillance on the Trump team? The Ukraine meddling in the 2016 election? US Attorney John Durham is looking into it. The FISA abuse IG report is expected soon.
But given prior history, don’t bet the farm on anyone facing consequences.