First Day of Impeachment Hearings
I was personally in attendance for much of the first impeachment hearing yesterday. The basis for this impeachment inquiry surrounds a phone call President Trump had with newly elected Ukrainian President Zelensky on July 25, 2019 (transcript linked below). Here are some observations and things I learned as a result of yesterday’s activities:
1. The two ‘star’ witnesses, Bill Taylor (acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine) and George Kent (Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Eurasian Affairs), did not listen in on the phone call. Instead, they each heard from someone, who heard from someone else, who listened to the phone call. In today’s hearing, these accounts are considered expert witnesses with pertinent information. However, in Idaho, it’s better known as gossip.
2. Mr. Taylor testified that a member of his staff overheard President Trump say something to the effect of “… he was more interested in the Burisma-Biden connection.” However, it turns out this is a retelling from a staffer who recalls overhearing EU Ambassador Gordan Sondland in a restaurant talking to President Trump on his cell phone.
3. Mr. Taylor testified that he believed the President’s actions threatened U.S. Foreign Policy. However, Mr. Taylor did not acknowledge that the President has the right to set foreign policy, and when asked, neither Mr. Taylor nor Mr. Kent could identify any laws breached.
4. The person credited with initiating the impeachment action, the whistleblower, approached authorities without asking to have legal “whistleblower” protection. However, the whistleblower was identified by Inspector General Michael Horowitz as someone that has a bias in favor of Joe Biden, and somehow legal whistleblower protections were invoked through Chairman Schiff’s committee.
5. Chairman Adam Schiff stated for the record that he did not know the identity of the whistleblower. However, Schiff previously claimed, “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower,” and this was found to be false; the whistleblower reached out to Schiff’s staff before filing their whistleblower complaint. During the hearing, Schiff also stopped a republican member from speaking when he feared the whistleblower’s identity was about to be divulged.
6. Democrat leadership exhibited concerns that the U.S. did not adequately provide aid to Ukraine to help them resist Russian aggression. Following the invasion of Crimea, which happened under President Obama’s watch, mostly non-lethal aid was provided to the Ukrainians. After assuming office, President Trump immediately increased Ukraine’s security by allowing lethal weapons of deterrence like Javelin missiles.
7. Democrats exhibited concerns that the President inappropriately wanted to investigate Burisma Holdings. However, the democrats do not seem concerned that former Vice President explicitly stated, on video (linked below), that he threatened to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees from Ukraine unless they stopped an investigation into Burisma Holdings, the company paying his son Hunter Biden $50,000 per month, as a member of their board.
8. Chairman Schiff’s democrat committee members agree with Mr. Taylor and Mr. Kent as they cite how critical it is to respect and defend the Ukrainian borders. However, there is no evidence during this Congress that they share the same concern about American borders.
… looking forward to what I learn on day #2…
Transcript of call: Read Full Ukraine Transcript
Video: Former VP Joe Biden Withheld Aid To Ukraine:
Real Clear Politics has transcribed the pertinent portion of the video:
JOE BIDEN, 23 JANUARY 2018: And that is I’m desperately concerned about the backsliding on the part of Kiev in terms of corruption. They made—I mean, I’ll give you one concrete example. I was—not I, but it just happened to be that was the assignment I got. I got all the good ones. And so I got Ukraine. And I remember going over, convincing our team, our leaders to—convincing that we should be providing for loan guarantees. And I went over, I guess, the 12th, 13th time to Kiev. And I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor. And they didn’t.
So they said they had—they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I’m not going to—or, we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, you have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said—I said, call him.
I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.
Well, there’s still—so they made some genuine substantial changes institutionally and with people. But one of the three institutions, there’s now some backsliding.
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