The Democrats have a problem. Actually, they have lots of problems, but there is one specific problem I want to discuss. The Democrat problem I wanna talk about is the failure of President Donald J. Trump to commit any impeachable offenses. The reason that this is a problem is that the Democratic leadership in Congress drew up their legislative agenda last winter after the 2016 midterm, aka “The Purging of the RINOs.”
Back then, impeachment was a slam-dunk, or so they thought. Well, it was indeed a slam-dunk that the Democrats were going to impeach Trump. All they had to do was wait until Mueller delivered his report then copy & paste from the report to the draft articles of impeachment.
They could hold televised hearings over the summer or after the summer recess. They could bring in witnesses to methodically uncover all of Trump’s perfidies and abuses of power. When they had public opinion where they wanted it they would call for the vote. Somewhere around Thanksgiving the House would vote to impeach and then around Christmas Trump would be getting convicted and turned out of office. That’s how they laid it out last winter.
Then Spring came in their mouths when Grampaw Mueller delivered his report. Democrats were aghast. They waited 2 years for proof of collusion and they didn’t even get a souvenir T-shirt. How are they supposed to impeach a POTUS without a few high crimes and misdemeanors?
So Adam Schiff-for-brains decided to invent some new ones. I’m pretty sure that he had help because if brains were made of dynamite, he couldn’t blow his nose. When an issue is before a court and there is no precedent, we don’t call it unprecedented, we call it a case of “first impression.” Well, my first impression was: “What a load of crap!”
This was published on a website for an outfit calling themselves the Campaign Legal Center:
President Trump pressed the newly elected Ukrainian president to open an investigation into a candidate challenging Trump in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. This is a stunning abuse of power; it also violates campaign finance law.
A now-public whistleblower complaint details reports “from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign county in the 2020 U.S. election.” The complaint describes a July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky during which Trump pressured the Ukranian president to investigate one of Trump’s political rivals.
The White House has released a summary of the July 25 call that corroborates the whistleblower’s account. In particular, the call summary indicates that, with Congressional aid for Ukraine on hold, Trump told Zelensky that U.S. support for his country has not always been “reciprocal,” and then asked Zelensky for a “favor”: to work with Trump’s personal attorney, as well as the U.S. Attorney General, to investigate Trump’s potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden.
Tweetable quote:These facts not only reflect a startling abuse of executive power; they also unambiguously demonstrate that Trump broke the law by soliciting valuable assistance to his reelection efforts from a foreign government.Tweet this quote.
Trump’s direct request that Ukrainian President Zelensky work with Trump’s personal lawyer and use Ukraine’s government resources to investigate Trump’s political opponent served no apparent purpose other than to benefit Trump’s reelection efforts. In other words, Trump solicited a campaign contribution from President Zelensky.
In the campaign finance world, a “contribution” is any “thing of value” given to affect an election.
There is no doubt that a foreign government’s search for damaging information about a candidate’s political opponent would be valuable to that candidate. As Special Counsel Mueller noted, “[a] foreign entity that engaged in such research and provided resulting information to a campaign could exert a greater effect on an election, and a greater tendency to ingratiate the donor to the candidate, than a gift of money or tangible things of value.”
Tweetable quote: By directly requesting or suggesting that President Zelensky use Ukraine’s resources to help his reelection efforts, Trump violated campaign finance law. Tweet this quote.
(More technically, Trump asked Ukraine to make an “expenditure” by spending resources for the purpose of the influencing the 2020 election. An “expenditure” that is coordinated with a candidate is a campaign contribution; “coordinated” means made at the “request or suggestion” of a candidate. So Trump requesting that Ukraine make an expenditure means that he solicited a contribution.)
The Justice Department initially blocked transmission of the whistleblower complaint to Congressional intelligence committees, apparently based on the department’s own determination, according to a spokesperson, that “there was no campaign finance violation and that no further action was warranted.”
It is unclear whether Attorney General Barr was involved in that determination; such involvement would be highly improper given that Barr was specifically identified by name as a conduit for the illegal solicitation alleged in the complaint.
But even setting aside the question of Barr’s participation, DOJ’s reasons for concluding that no campaign finance violation occurred are murky, and whatever the rationale, the conclusion is wrong.
Some reports indicate the Justice Department concluded that what Trump solicited—a Ukrainian government probe into one of President Trump’s political rivals—did not constitute a “thing of value” for purposes of campaign finance law. This is unsupportable.
The first time I saw someone pushing the legal theory that the Ukrainians investigating the Bidens at Trump’s request was a campaign finance violation, I laughed. Then I did some research.
I’m still laughing.
I’d like to point out that this article does not cite any statutory or case law. That’s kinda strange for a legal argument being made by lawyers. At least one of the two authors of this article is an attorney, and probably the other one is too. You can bet all the money you have stuffed in your mattress that if there was a case on point with this one that supported their position they would have cited it.
I dunno who started or funds the Campaign Legal Center, but I’ll bet the name of one of their major funders rhymes with “Jorge Zoros.” They claim to be non-partisan, but they have to do that to be tax-exempt. These groups advocate for causes and issues, like abortion and gun control. You can pour unlimited amounts of money into these groups. They are not allowed to advocate for any particular party or candidate, nor can they coordinate their messages or activities with partisans. It’s just a coinkydink that the issues and causes they support mirror one particular party’s agenda.
If their argument was correct, that would criminalize and make impeachable just about everything a POTUS could do in diplomacy during his or her first term. For example, what if Trump asked the President of Mexico to post some troops on their side of the border to deter illegal immigration in exchange for lifting tariffs? Use their analysis.
Did Trump “solicit valuable assistance to his reelection efforts from a foreign government?” In that scenario, you betcha.
You cannot criminalize a POTUS using his constitutional powers. Anything a POTUS does to keep his campaign promises in his or her first term would likely help him or her get reelected. Like negotiating a treaty.
Last but not least, the article relies on zombie lies to make its arguments. Trump did not “pressure” Ukraine to do anything. And investigating corruption is a proper and lawful part of Trump’s job. What if a former British Intelligence officer found incriminating information against Trump and gave it to Hillary. Would that be a crime?