John Colson: A ‘witch hunt’ traps a warlock
Hit & Run
I think we can all agree that the most pressing political question currently facing our nation is whether or not President Donald J. Trump will be impeached (as is extremely likely for many reasons) by the U.S. House of Representatives, although it is just as likely that the Republican controlled U.S. Senate will refuse to convict the president of anything and leave him in the Oval Office nursing his wounds.
As my deadline approaches, it is unknown whether there will be more testimony before the committees looking into the impeachment question. But without a doubt, there are a lot of people hoping that Trump’s former national security advisor, John Bolton, will appear before a House committee to tell us what he knows about Ukrainegate, as I have chosen to call it.
For the record, our current top-tier political tempest blew up a couple of months ago, after it became known that Trump tried to pressure Ukraine’s new, relatively inexperienced Pres. Volodymyr Zelensky to announce that his government would open an investigation into the family of Trump’s perceived top rival in the 2020 presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump claimed the Bidens were somehow involved in corrupt activities in Ukraine, though there has been absolutely no evidence produced to back such a claim.
The move was pure Trump — gin up a whirlwind of negative press based on nothing at all against the Bidens, in the hope that enough voters would be blinded by the ensuing dust storm, or at least confused and perhaps convinced that the Bidens are hiding something, anything, and turn against them.
But in two weeks of testimony before House investigators, it became clear that a raft of diplomats and political operatives, some Trump-appointed, some not, felt that Trump’s actions in the matter were wrong, at least, and criminal, at the most.
I’d say the witch has been caught in a web of his own devising (or does his gender make Trump a warlock?), and my view is that the impeachment must move forward to a conclusion.
His Republican backers and sycophants are spinning like crazy all over the news, even as many Democrats are worrying that the impeachment inquiry has not caught fire with the voters, at least not in ways that Dems might have hoped for.
Interestingly, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, both Republicans of Colorado representing voters here in our region, have been among those Republican sycophants who have been condemning the impeachment inquiry hearings held over the past couple of weeks in the U.S. House of Representatives.
This proves, to me that they and others before them either have never read the U.S. Constitution’s impeachment provisions, failed to grasp what they were reading, or are deliberately misleading all the rest of us, because their arguments have shown they have no understanding of how an impeachment works.
Gardner, Tipton and Trump’s troop have been bashing the inquiry process (since they are unable to come up with a winning defense of the president’s actions that led to the inquiry) as unfair for a number of trumped-up (pun absolutely intended) reasons, such as, “it does not give the president an opportunity to challenge his accusers,” or “House Speaker Pelosi started the process without holding a floor vote on it.”
The problem for these knee-jerk Trump supporters is that the process has given the president’s proxies in the house committees a whole range of opportunities to question witnesses, since there have been Republican House members in the committee hearings during both stages — the private, closed-door fact-finding hearings, and the public hearings that concluded last week.
As for Republican whining about not being able to call their own witnesses, they’re really just mad because voters gave Democrats control of the House in 2018, and because Democrats are simply following the rules and refusing to cave in to the G.O.P.’s howling mob of distractors and prevaricators.
The rules governing impeachment reportedly were approved by a Republican majority in Congress at some point in the past, though I have been unable to find out exactly when that happened.
Still, it has become abundantly clear that the Republican strategy has been close to Trump’s own Ukrainian strategy — create sufficient noise and confusion about the case against Trump, obfuscate and delay the proceedings, and there is a chance the U.S. electorate will get bored and turn away.
Never mind that Trump’s most ardent supporters are being forced to overlook a briefing they recently received from U.S. intelligence agencies, showing that Russia itself was the instigator of a disinformation campaign to deflect suspicion away from Moscow and throw suspicion onto Ukraine.
Unfortunately, things like the truth and fact-based evidence have little weight in our hyper-divided country, a condition that is precisely what Moscow has been hoping for in its bid to destabilize and weaken our nation.
I have no idea how this will proceed over the next few weeks, though I find it very interesting that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is in the thick of the mass of conflicting narratives making up Ukrainegate, has hired a super-lawyer, conservative mouthpiece William A. Burck, to defend Pompeo against accusations of criminality.
And the beat goes on.