The Democrats increasingly resemble those wannabe jihadis who blow themselves to rags by mishandling homemade explosives. Their animus for President Trump is such that they consistently underestimate the danger to themselves presented by “bombshell” revelations when managed with insufficient care. The already questionable credibility of Elizabeth Warren was recently damaged when, based on a now-debunked New York Times story, she precipitously demanded the impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. A similarly impulsive Democratic response to the “explosive” claims made by an anonymous intelligence official about a telephone conversation between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will inevitably explode in their faces.
Joe Biden is particularly vulnerable on this score. The substance of the call involved Trump’s request for an investigation into the business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter, according to the “whistleblower.” The erstwhile VP is extraordinarily foolish to draw further attention to a son who has long been suspected of improperly leveraging his father’s prominent role in Ukrainian relations with the United States. Biden, however, is not exactly renowned for his critical thinking skills. Consequently, he responded defensively to a reporter’s question about his son’s Ukrainian activities during a Saturday event in Iowa by calling for an investigation into the whistleblower’s accusation: “You should be looking at Trump.… Why is he on the phone with a foreign leader, trying to intimidate a foreign leader?”
This is rich, considering that Biden has bragged in public about using his own position in the Obama administration to get a Ukrainian prosecutor fired. In 2018, Biden spoke to a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations and boasted that he had threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees from Ukraine if Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin wasn’t immediately canned: “I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’” The ostensible reason for this heavy-handed pressure to get rid of Shokin was the man’s corruption. Presumably, it was just a coincidence that this particular prosecutor was planning an investigation into Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian company for which Hunter Biden worked as a “consultant.”
Biden was not alone in denouncing President Trump for his alleged attempt to “intimidate” Ukrainian president Zelensky. Julián Castro, another unemployed Obama administration official pursuing the Democratic presidential nomination, tweeted the following: “Donald Trump is a criminal. He must be impeached immediately.” Saturday, Castro began a speech with another demand that the House take immediate action to remove the president: “Let me begin with a message for our House Democratic friends — it is time for you to do your job and impeach Donald Trump.” This was a big applause line for his audience, but it contained no constitutional justification for such action by the House. As Jonathan Turley, Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, writes:
Trump is accused of pressing the Ukrainian president eight times to work with his attorney Rudy Giuliani to investigate Biden. There is no allegation of an express promise of money in exchange for such an investigation. Such a quid pro quo could be the basis for a criminal charge, but the current allegations are short of the “quid” in the “pro quo.” While one could legitimately say that an express promise was hardly necessary … it still is not a crime for a president to ask a foreign leader to investigate crimes.
Not that trivial matters such as evidence or law have much influence on what Castro says. He will say just about anything to change the dynamic of his campaign. His support among Democratic primary voters is still stuck at 1 percent in most polls. A similar level of desperation is why Kamala Harris has also joined the chorus of Trump denunciations, while issuing a ridiculous call for the mystery whistleblower to simply ignore current law, which does not allow uncorroborated accusations to be taken directly before Congress: “I absolutely urge this whistleblower to go directly to Congress, whether in closed session or open.” The downward trajectory of her campaign has reduced her support to mid-single digits, and she, like Castro, will say anything to change that deadly dynamic.
Elizabeth Warren has also piled on, though for different reasons. Unlike Biden, whose campaign can’t possibly be aided by dwelling on the president’s imaginary offenses against Ukraine, Sen. Warren can use it to finally replace the former VP as the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. She can have the best of both political worlds by denouncing Trump and reminding all of Joe Biden’s supporters that his skullduggery in Ukraine while part of the Obama administration destroys his “electability” argument. Thus she declares, “After the Mueller report, Congress had a duty to begin impeachment. By failing to act, Congress is complicit in Trump’s latest attempt to solicit foreign interference to aid him in US elections. Do your constitutional duty and impeach the president.”
And she has a willing accomplice in Rep. Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, who has been gunning for Trump for nearly three years. But Schiff can’t call an anonymous whistleblower before his committee, and the relevant statute doesn’t apply to the president in the absence of a quid pro quo arrangement. Rep. Schiff went on CNN Sunday and threatened to defund the nation’s intelligence apparatus unless the Trump administration prostrates itself before Congress. Schiff has forgotten about the separation of powers doctrine, and that certain functions — like the conduct of foreign policy — are reserved to the executive branch. No amount of bluster from Rep. Schiff or desperate Democratic presidential candidates will alter that reality.
In other words, the Democrats are again making wild charges based on the claims of someone who has no firsthand knowledge of the conversation during which the impeachable offenses allegedly took place. These charges have been denied by the Ukrainian government and declared ridiculous by the president, yet the Dems are yammering about impeachment. Like all of the other “bombshells” invented to destroy Trump, this one will blow up in their faces. It will destroy Joe Biden’s faltering campaign, and the Democrats will continue to sink even lower in the esteem of the voters. When the smoke clears after this fake scandal blows what remains of Democratic credibility to ribbons, the president will have been re-elected, the GOP will control the House, and the voters will have been vindicated.