Mid-Day Digest

Sep. 25, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men.” —John Adams (1775)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Democrat Collusion 2.0: Game On!

By Mark Alexander and Nate Jackson

President Donald Trump authorized the release of the “complete, fully declassified and un-redacted transcript” of his July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He did so in advance of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s declaration of an impeachment inquiry challenging the legality of that conversation. Pelosi also demanded congressional testimony from the so-called “whistleblower” who seeded this inquiry — most likely another disgruntled deep-state supporter of Hillary Clinton.

Pelosi claims that Trump is guilty of a quid pro quo demand for an investigation into the actions of Joe Biden’s son Hunter in return for U.S. aid. The Justice Department already declined to investigate the call for campaign-finance violations.

The White House has released a national-security summary on the substance of the Trump/Zelensky conversation. (Expect Democrats to demand an exact transcript.) The summary notes the only reference to Biden and his son Hunter: “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Zelensky. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”

This reference is to Hunter Biden’s corrupt Ukrainian payoffs as part of that government’s efforts to influence U.S. policy toward Ukraine — and the only influence avenue available was through his father, Joe Biden, while he was Barack Obama’s vice president.

Recall that in 2016 it was Biden who threatened to cut $1 billion in U.S. guarantees of Ukrainian loans if they did not fire that country’s prosecutor investigating corruption, Viktor Shokin. In Biden’s own words, “I looked at [the Ukrainian leaders] and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a b—. He got fired.”

According to The New York Times, “Among those who had a stake in the outcome was Hunter Biden … who at the time was on the board of an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch who had been in the sights of the fired prosecutor general.” Joe Biden has claimed, “I’ve never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings” in Ukraine or China, but Hunter Biden has contradicted that implausible claim.

But according to Pelosi’s impeachment complaint, “The actions of the Trump presidency revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.” (Ad Infinitum.)

Of course, she never mentioned Biden’s corruption as the subject of Trump’s inquiry with Zelensky, referring only obliquely to Trump’s alleged “calling upon a foreign power to intervene in his election.”

Earlier in the day, Pelosi explained her faux rationale for the impeachment political theater: “If we have to honor our oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic, that’s what we’ll have to do.” She then inadvertently revealed their endgame: “What’s more serious is that he can’t win. That’s very serious for our country, to us as America. What is America? America is our Constitution with our system of checks and balances.”

Democrats long ago mastered the violation of their oaths “to support and defend” our Constitution, and it is laughable when they invoke “betrayal of that oath” in any context.

They spent most of the last three years violating the “checks and balances” Pelosi referenced in a lawless effort to undermine the executive branch with their investigative and impeachment subterfuges.

As we noted last March, “Democrat Party leaders are doing everything they can to further derail Trump’s successful agenda ahead of the 2020 election. Phase 1 of their plan was promoting the phony Russian-collusion investigation. Phase 2 is setting up Trump for an inquisition asserting he is guilty of impeachable crimes, using the same model as Phase 1. Their strategy is to drag Trump into impeachment proceedings through the 2020 election cycle.”

And here we go.

Democrats have embarked on Collusion 2.0, using the same template for 2020 that they successfully rode to a House majority in 2018. Or, as Trump put it, “This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!”

Despite the fact that Pelosi spent much of 2019 resisting calls for impeachment, we believe she was strategically dragging out the drama as long as possible in order to keep impeachment proceedings active into the middle of the 2020 election. This has always been her plan, as is evident in her closed-door remarks to Demo leadership Tuesday that they now “have to strike while the iron is hot.”

In other words, like obstruction Phase 1, the Trump/Zelensky phone call is just the starting point, and the “investigation” will bob and weave all over the map in an effort to keep the inquiry front and center for their Leftmedia propagandists for the next year.

Notably, The Wall Street Journal reports, “Her chosen route avoids a full House floor vote on opening a probe, a step that has occurred each of the three previous times the House has launched impeachment proceedings against a president. Such a resolution would require 218 votes to pass; as of Tuesday evening, after several Democrats said they were joining the cause, there were more than 190 lawmakers who publicly supported moving forward on impeachment.” Translation: Pelosi still doesn’t have the votes.

Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee insisted, “Now that the President has authorized the release of the transcript of his call with President Zelensky, we call on Biden to release the transcripts of his calls as Vice President with Ukrainian and Chinese leaders while his son was conducting shady business deals in those countries.”

Good idea — we second that motion!

Unfortunately, Trump’s call with Zelensky was, typically, wandering and sloppy, as is too often Trump’s style. As Jonah Goldberg observes, the optics are not good: “The day after Robert Mueller testified to Congress about his report investigating whether the Trump campaign had colluded with one foreign power, Russia, the president got on the horn and encouraged another foreign power, Ukraine, to help with his re-election.”

But the bottom line is this: The Democrats’ latest line of attacks against Trump is designed to undermine his administration’s extraordinary record of accomplishments, with the goal of seeding a recession ahead of the 2020 election. If that happens, tens of millions of American workers and their families will be its collateral casualties, but for Democrats, the ends justify any means.

They don’t actually have to get to an impeachment vote to continue obstructing Trump’s agenda; they just have to keep the collusion and obstruction delusion alive.

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ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

TOP NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

“BILLIONAIRES SHOULDN’T EXIST”: “Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders on Tuesday rolled out his plan to levy an ‘extreme wealth tax’ on millionaires and billionaires, which he plans to enforce through the creation of a ‘national wealth registry,’” National Review reports, which adds, “Sanders’ annual tax on the top 0.1 percent would apply to Americans with a net worth of over $32 million, or about 180,000 households, and would raise approximately $4.35 trillion over the next decade, the Sanders campaign estimates. … Under the plan, the IRS will be required to audit 30 percent of the top one percent’s wealth tax returns and 100 percent for billionaires.” The senator further groused on Twitter, “Billionaires should not exist.” And socialism should?

THANKS, OBAMA: “Iran has spent more than $16 billion during the past several years to fund militant terrorists across the Middle East, cash that was repatriated to the Islamic Republic under the terms of the landmark nuclear deal, according to new disclosures from the Trump administration. As Iran’s economy teeters on the brink of collapse under the tough sanctions regime imposed by the Trump administration, the Islamic Republic’s authoritarian leadership has spent its limited cash reserves to bolster terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as militant terrorists in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.” (The Washington Free Beacon)

FENTANYL SURGE: “The flow of the deadly narcotic fentanyl from China to the U.S. has surged despite President Trump’s trade war with the communist country and President Xi Jinping’s promise to crack down on the illicit trade. Customs and Border Protection agents have seized nearly 2,400 pounds of fentanyl this year through Aug. 31, enough to kill roughly 475 million people. That represents a nearly 32% increase from the same period last year. CBP’s numbers represent a sliver of fentanyl flowing into the U.S. because U.S. authorities missed so much of it. China, the world’s largest producer of fentanyl, accounts for 68% of the synthetic opioid’s movement.” (The Washington Times)

TURKEY’S NUCLEAR AMBITIONS: “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hinted at an interest in acquiring nuclear weapons, telling the United Nations that it is unjust for the weapons to be possessed only by major powers. ‘It bothers us like anyone else that the weapons of mass destruction are used as leverage in every crisis instead of their total elimination,’ Erdoğan said Tuesday during the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. ‘The position of nuclear power should either be forbidden for all or permissible for everyone.’” (Washington Examiner)

VOTER FRAUD: Michigan city clerk charged with altering ballots in 2018 midterms (National Review)

E-CIG FREAKOUT: Massachusetts to ban sale of all vaping products for four months in toughest state crackdown (The Washington Post)

POLICY: How “Medicare for All” could block medical progress (The Daily Signal)

POLICY: The “new energy economy”: an exercise in magical thinking (Manhattan Institute)

HUMOR: Bernie Sanders unveils new plan to levy special tax on anyone who makes more money than Bernie Sanders (The Babylon Bee)

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Byron York: “[Political investigations] often uncover an inconclusive set of facts. Partisans can argue those facts one way or the other. There is no slam dunk, no smoking gun. Most recently, Democrats who had accused Trump of conspiring or coordinating with Russia to fix the 2016 election were deeply disappointed by the release of the Mueller report. After all the media talk, and all the accusations, and after two years of investigating with full law enforcement powers, Mueller could not establish that a conspiracy or coordination even took place. So now, with many of the president’s adversaries in a high state of agitation about the Ukraine story, the lesson of Trump-Russia is: Move fast. Don’t withhold judgment. And don’t wait for the results of a long, ponderous investigation. It might not produce the ending Democrats want.”

SHORT CUTS

Upright: “The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots. The future belongs to sovereign and independent nations who protect their citizens, respect their neighbors, and honor the differences that make each country special and unique.” —Donald Trump

Observations: “This is going to be the Christine Blasey Ford of whistleblower allegations. There’ll be no direct knowledge, no corroborating witnesses, and the Democrats will insist it is the truth with helpful assists from the New York Times and Washington Post.” —Erick Erickson

Belly laugh of the week: “I’m in favor of impeachment. I did not come to that decision easily or quickly, but this is an emergency as I see it.” —Hillary Clinton

Grand delusions: “Talk about pressuring a foreign country to interfere with and control a U.S. election. It couldn’t be clearer, and that’s not just undermining democratic institutions. That is treason. It’s treason and pure and simple and the penalty for treason under the U.S. code is death.” —Bill Weld

Friendly fire: “I’ve been consistent in saying I believe that impeachment at this juncture would be terribly divisive for the country at a time when we are already extremely divided.” —Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Friendly fire II: “Tell Elizabeth [Warren] to tell [us] that [Medicare for All will] cost a lot of money. And she’s gonna raise people’s taxes doing it. And what are we going to do in the middle of a recession, if we end up there?"—Joe Biden

A blind squirrel finds a nut: "In the ‘70s and '80s, many of these guns were as available as they are now, but we weren’t having these mass shootings that we have today. So I think we need to really ask ourselves the question of what has socially brought us to this point in history, and what have we done, and what can we do differently to change society. That’s certainly a question that needs to be continued to [be] ask[ed], because I don’t know that taking everyone’s guns, and buying everybody’s guns back, is going to cure the national massacres that we’ve had in recent history.” —Democrat Rep. Vicente González

Hot air: “Donald Trump being the face of global climate denial actually is motivating the kind of uprising and enthusiasm we saw last Friday with these millions of young people marching.” —Al Gore

Non compos mentis: “What a disgrace that it takes a 16-year-old to tell world leaders what they won’t acknowledge: We cannot continue with this type of ruthless capitalism that is destroying our planet. This is why we need young people leading our climate justice movement.” —Sen. Bernie Sanders

Class warfare: “Billionaires should not exist.” —Bernie Sanders

The BIG Lie: “Scientists [say] secondhand smoking is worse than directly smoking cigarettes.” —Rep. Rashida Tlaib

And last… “The idea that an entire generation of Americans should have chosen poverty over prosperity to placate the vacuous complaints of privileged future teenagers is absurd.” —David Harsanyi

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TODAY’S MEME

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TODAY’S CARTOON

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