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Mid-Day Digest

Sep. 26, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“Energy in the executive is a leading character in the definition of good government. It is essential to the protection of the community against foreign attacks; it is not less essential to the steady administration of the laws; to the protection of property against those irregular and high-handed combinations which sometimes interrupt the ordinary course of justice; to the security of liberty against the enterprises and assaults of ambition, of faction, and of anarchy.” —Alexander Hamilton (1788)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

About That Whistleblower Complaint

Many elected Democrats may not be able to find Ukraine on a map, but they do know President Donald Trump should be impeached for talking to its president. This morning’s news is that the still-anonymous whistleblower complaint that started the whole kerfuffle has been declassified, slightly redacted, and released. Is this the smoking gun?

Not really, because the complaint largely lays out what we already knew was an overblown accusation of Trump demanding a quid pro quo from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In order to come to that conclusion, you have to put ellipses between at least 500 words of transcribed conversation — just as Leftmedia outlets are doing. But the fact that even some conservatives can read the transcript of Trump’s call and argue that the quid pro quo is evident indicates that the president was at a minimum not wise or well spoken in the call.

That wouldn’t exactly be a first.

According to the complaint, dated Aug. 12, “The President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election. This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals. The President’s personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph W. Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General [William] Barr appears to be involved as well.”

The whistleblower was not personally present or listening in on the phone call; he (or she) received his information secondhand (and some of it thirdhand). But he bolstered his credibility a bit by recounting three things Trump said that are indeed in the transcript:

  • initiate or continue an investigation into the activities of former Vice President Joseph Biden and his son, Hunter Biden;

  • assist in purportedly uncovering that allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election originated in Ukraine, with a specific request that the Ukrainian leader locate and turn over servers used by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and examined by the U.S. cyber security firm Crowdstrike, which initially reported that Russian hackers had penetrated the DNC’s networks in 2016; and

  • meet or speak with two people the President named explicitly as his personal envoys on these matters, Giuliani and Attorney General Barr, to whom the President referred multiple times in tandem.

Then, the complaint continues, “In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple U.S. officials that senior White House officials had intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced — as is customary — by the White House Situation Room. This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.”

And finally, regarding the timing of military aid to Ukraine, “On 18 July, an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) official informed Departments and Agencies that the President ‘earlier that month’ had issued instructions to suspend all U.S. security assistance to Ukraine. Neither OMB nor the NSC staff knew why this instruction had been issued. During interagency meetings on 23 July and 26 July, OMB officials again stated explicitly that the instruction to suspend this assistance had come directly from the President, but they still were unaware of a policy rationale. As of early August, I heard from U.S. officials that some Ukrainian officials were aware that U.S. aid might be in jeopardy, but I do not know how or when they learned of it.”

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is testifying on Capitol Hill this morning about the whistleblower complaint, so stay tuned to his assessment.

But here’s the bottom line: It looks like the whistleblower suspects that Trump was running his own investigation into the origins of “Russiagate.” It also appears that Trump’s actions were predicated on the fact that he has little trust in U.S. intelligence agencies, which makes sense given their attempted coup. The more Trump sees of the intel community, the less he trusts it — and for good reason. He would rather have his own trusted guys, like Giuliani (for better or worse), run the investigation instead of officials in the Justice Department.

It appears that Trump was working to ensure that, during a governmental transition in Ukraine, the investigation into Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden operatives seeking to influence the Ukrainian government and the U.S. election in 2016 did not get swept under the rug. This seems more like Trump seeking to find the truth behind who all the players were behind Russiagate than him trying to dig up new dirt on Biden.

“Democrats ought not to be using the word ‘impeach’ before they have the whistleblower complaint or before they read any of the transcript,” warned Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) Wednesday. They now have both, of course, and they will argue that it’s more than enough to go on. For that reason, Sasse also cautioned his own party: “Republicans ought not to be rushing to circle the wagons to say there’s [nothing] there when there’s obviously lots that’s very troubling there.”

Troubling but hardly conclusive or impeachable. And hysterical Democrats are going to have a tough time selling that to the American people, even with their Leftmedia super PAC shouting their talking points every night. Especially if people are reminded of how Democrats colluded with Ukraine to defeat Trump.

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Majority of Americans Favor Trump’s Policy Agenda

Why do Democrat presidential candidates think that their “vote for me because I’m the biggest hater of everything President Donald Trump” is a winning strategy? Why are congressional Democrats redoubling their efforts to impeach Trump even after Robert Mueller’s investigation blew up in their faces? Well, a recent survey conducted by Harvard/Harris may offer the best answer.

The poll of 2,531 registered voters was somewhat unique: It presented not the candidates running for office but only questions regarding policy issues without associating the policies with either political party. For example, a question stated:

Which candidate are you more likely to vote for?

A presidential candidate who stands for the green new deal on climate change, Medicare for all, free college tuition, opening our borders to many more immigrants and raising taxes to pay for these programs.

Or

A presidential candidate who stands for lower taxes and reduced government regulations, strengthening our military, strengthening our border to reduce illegal immigrants, standing up more to China and Iran and seeking better trade deals for the US.

For almost anyone who regularly follows politics, it’s quite clear that the first presidential candidate most accurately represents the policy proposals of the Democrat Party, while the second candidate’s policy agenda mirrors that of Trump. So, did the poll end up reflecting many other national polls that show Trump trailing much of the Democrat field? Not quite.

A whopping 61% of those polled favored Trump’s agenda, which included a third of registered Democrats. And 65% of independents picked Trump’s policy agenda over what Democrats are offering. In fact, as Issues & Insights reports, “The poll went further and broke out specific policy issues. There wasn’t one item on the Democratic agenda that came in the top six. Only 38% say they were likely to vote for a candidate who promised to ‘raise taxes to pay for these programs.’ On the other hand, 83% said they’d likely support a candidate who promised to lower taxes.”

This explains why Democrats are playing up the fallacious “Trump is Adolf Hitler” narrative in the hopes that it will distract enough Americans from seeing their terrible socialist agenda. Moreover, it appears they see no other way to defeat Trump, which explains Rep. Al Green’s (D-TX) recent insistence that “if we don’t impeach this president, he will get reelected.”

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ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY

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BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

TOP NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

ANOTHER ASYLUM DEAL: “The Trump administration signed an asylum agreement with the Honduran government Wednesday, marking the latest in a string of asylum deals with Latin American countries aimed at controlling the immigration crisis. The Department of Homeland Security announced it reached a deal with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, allowing the U.S. to send some asylum seekers from ‘third’ countries back to his country.”

BORDER OBSTRUCTION: “The Senate again voted on Wednesday to end President Trump’s emergency declaration on the U.S.-Mexico border wall, paving the way for a veto showdown with the White House,” The Hill reports. “Senators voted 54-41 on a resolution to end the declaration, which Trump used to shift billions of dollars from the military toward wall construction.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer claimed: “The vote [yesterday] is the surest and likely the only way to restore funding the president has stolen from our troops and military projects across the country.” He didn’t care to mention the jobs, money, and even lives that have been stolen from the American people as a direct result of illegal immigration.

A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN: “A new national survey shows Elizabeth Warren now sitting atop the 2020 Democratic field, further cementing her ascendancy in the party’s presidential primary after a pair of polls reported her leading in the first two primary states,” according to Politico. “Twenty-seven percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents polled by Quinnipiac University said they favor Warren, according to a survey released Wednesday morning. Twenty-five percent said they prefer former Vice President Joe Biden.” Rep. Dan Crenshaw speculates: “This impeachment inquiry seems worse for Biden than it is for Trump. Now the Hunter Biden-Ukraine issue is on everyone’s radar AND we know that Democrats overstepped with their ‘quid pro quo’ accusation. Have to wonder whether they did this to help Warren/Sanders.”

WOKE DOLLS: “In an effort to be ‘woke’ and kowtow to the gender-confused masses, Mattel is coming out with a new line of Barbie-like dolls, called ‘Creatable World,’ that are gender-neutral and have a variety of interchangeable hairstyles and clothing choices to switch up the doll’s look.” (PJ Media)

CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR: “The marriage vow that usually involves a variation of ‘for richer or poorer’ may no longer apply. Women may now want to add ‘as long as you make as much money as me.’ It seems many men aren’t getting up to the income level that women prefer in a potential marriage partner, according to the New York Post. That has left successful ladies single and disgruntled, according to a Cornell University study.” (Fox Business)

‘JOKER’ ANXIETY: “Family members of those killed in the July 20, 2012, mass shooting at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, have signed a letter to Warner Bros. sharing concerns about the upcoming Joker film and asking the studio to donate to groups that aid victims of gun violence. … As Warner Bros. gears up for the Oct. 4 release of Todd Phillips’ R-rated Joker, which is attracting attention for its gritty, realistic violence as well as for its artistry and the performance of star Joaquin Phoenix, some survivors and relatives of the victims are expressing fears about the film.” (The Hollywood Reporter)

JUSTICE: Boston College student accused of sexual assault wins over $100,000 (National Review)

ECONOMIC BLUDGEON: Fracking ban proposed by 2020 Democrats would kill millions of jobs (The Washington Free Beacon)

POLICY: Trump’s approach to Iran smartly strikes a difficult balance (National Review)

POLICY: How far should we go to stop climate change? (Capital Research Center)

HUMOR: Hollywood blacklists people who have worn blackface, whiteface, and alienface (Genesius Times)

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

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Victor Davis Hanson: “Tribalism, the erosion of the middle class and de facto open borders are turning Americans into mere residents of a particular North American region between Mexico and Canada. Yet even more dangerously, thanks to the fiats of unelected bureaucrats and officials, along with the social media lynch mobs who boycott, harass and shame us, our constitutional rights are now increasingly optional. They mostly hinge on whether we are judged worthy by an unelected, politically correct and morally righteous elite. In theory, American citizenship remains the same; in reality, it is disappearing fast.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” —Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

The bottom line: “Mr. Trump’s refusal to abide by the normal guardrails of presidential decorum is often offensive. It can also be risky — for himself and U.S. interests. We have often criticized him for it. But impeaching a President is voting to annul an election, and that should require far more evidence than we have from this Ukraine phone call.” —The Wall Street Journal

Food for thought: “This impeachment inquiry seems worse for Biden than it is for Trump. Now the Hunter Biden-Ukraine issue is on everyone’s radar AND we know that Democrats overstepped with their ‘quid pro quo’ accusation. Have to wonder whether they did this to help Warren/Sanders..?” —Rep. Dan Crenshaw

Good idea, but permanently: “Given the evidence of Trump using foreign aid to coerce foreign governments to aid Trump politically, Democrats in Congress should refuse to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank until after their inquiry is complete.” —Tim Carney

Braying jenny: “The president of the United States has betrayed our country. That’s not a political statement — it’s a harsh reality, and we must act. He is a clear and present danger to the things that keep us strong and free. I support impeachment.” —Hillary Clinton

Indefinite obstruction: “Simply to release the transcript is not going to come close to ending the need of the American public and the Congress to see what actually happened.” —Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Grand delusions: “Donald Trump is a traitor.” —Tom Steyer

And last… “Make the next president of the NRA a 15 year old. Then we’ll see how far that ‘how dare you cyber bully a teenager’ holds up with our media betters.” —Stephen Miller

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TODAY’S MEME

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TODAY’S CARTOON

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