It has been an interesting experience observing the defenses of Trump and his talking heads against the whistleblower and yesterday’s announcement of a formal impeachment inquiry. Absurd almost.
Trump’s first tweet about it was saying it was “fake news.” That phrase is almost reflexive now.
A few made some half hearted attempts at claiming the “deep state” was involved, although it was hard to float that since, well, Trump admitted to putting pressure on Ukraine to investigate Biden.
The latest comes from Fox News:
A senior Trump administration official told Fox News late Tuesday that the administration will release a document showing the intelligence community inspector general found the whistleblower who leveled an explosive accusation against President Trump concerning his talks with Ukraine had indications of “political bias” in favor of “a rival candidate” of the president.
The official did not identify the name of the rival candidate. Separately, a senior administration official told Fox News the White House has been working as quickly as it can to release to Congress the whistleblower complaint involving President Trump’s conversations with the leader of Ukraine, as long as it’s legally possible
First of all, if this is nothing more than “whistleblower contributed to X’s campaign”, that is about the lamest thing you can think of. What exactly does the Trump Administration prefer? That the only whistleblowers be Trump supporters?
More importantly, as the days have come and gone, the whistleblower’s complaint and identity have taken on less significance. Why? Because Trump and Rudy have admitted that they pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden. Could the whistleblower’s complaint be worse that that?
At the Washington Post, Marc Theissen makes a valiant effort to come to Trump’s defense:
It got almost no attention, but in May, CNN reported that Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) wrote a letter to Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, expressing concern at the closing of four investigations they said were critical to the Mueller probe. In the letter, they implied that their support for U.S. assistance to Ukraine was at stake. Describing themselves as “strong advocates for a robust and close relationship with Ukraine,” the Democratic senators declared, “We have supported [the] capacity-building process and are disappointed that some in Kyiv appear to have cast aside these [democratic] principles to avoid the ire of President Trump,” before demanding Lutsenko “reverse course and halt any efforts to impede cooperation with this important investigation.”
So, it’s okay for Democratic senators to encourage Ukraine to investigate Trump, but it’s not okay for the president to allegedly encourage Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden?
Oh, God. The whataboutism. They are looking for another “but her emails”
The problem with this argument is that it is perfectly acceptable to pressure a foreign government to fork over information vital to an ongoing investigation by Americans that itself concerns the national security of the United States.
It is not perfectly fine to pressure a foreign government to fork over dirt on your political opponents.
And Theissen and many others are pointing to Joe Biden, who they claim used his power as the Vice President to get the Ukrainian prosecutor removed from office — a prosecutor who was investigating Hunter Biden.
That does not square with the facts. For one thing, the prosecutor had shelved his investigation into Hunter Biden for almost a year. Secondly, several countries and the World Bank wanted that prosecutor removed because he was not effectively working against corruption. That’s what Joe Biden was doing, in his official capacity — he was carrying out US policy.
Here’s a laughably bad defense for Fox News’s Gregg Jarrett:
Fox legal analyst says it would've actually been illegal if Trump DIDNT ask Ukraine to investigate his political rival pic.twitter.com/XTJVJT5Vcz— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) September 25, 2019
I have no words for that.
But back to Trump’s pushback, mainly on Twitter.
He’s rolling out the greatest hits, like “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” and “witch hunt.” There’s been a lot of retweeting of Fox News talking heads, and oh so much whining.
A lot of the “defense” from Fox News is that there was no “quid pro quo” on the call.
Maybe there is — maybe there isn’t. That’s not the issue though. The issue is the pressure. The abuse of power.
And don’t get me started on Rudy, who seems to be setting Trump’s considerable problems on fire with every TV interview.