“It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual.” —Thomas Jefferson (1785)
IN TODAY’S EDITION
- The “whistleblower” surely didn’t act alone…
- Adam Schiff’s disgraceful deceit.
- Daily Features: More Analysis, Columnists, Headlines, Opinion in Brief, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
Upon reading the publicly released whistleblower’s complaint about President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, it’s patently obvious that the “whistleblower” — outed as a CIA agent courtesy of The New York Times — is well-versed in the art of political spin. Maybe this agent learned his (or her) craft from those media spin-masters at the Times…
As we noted yesterday, the whistleblower’s complaint appears to contain credible information corroborated by the record of Trump’s call with Zelensky. However, it’s also clear that the whistleblower distorts and reads into the phone conversation intentions and motives that are not present.
One of the most glaring examples of this spin comes from the whistleblower’s description of the events surrounding the phone call. He claims that White House officials were “deeply disturbed” by the phone call because they supposedly viewed it as Trump abusing his office for personal gain. The reader is to assume that “everyone” who heard the phone call immediately recognized that a quid pro quo had just been demanded. Yet the record of the phone call does not even remotely support such a damning conclusion.
To bolster the claim that all these officials knew Trump had just engaged in a quid pro quo, the whistleblower alleges that senior White House officials broke with normal record-keeping protocols to “lock down” all records of the phone call. The whistleblower then insinuates a blatant attempt at a cover-up, writing, “This set of actions underscores to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.”
However, the Trump administration’s reason for filing the phone call as highly classified is not so sinister as the whistleblower alleges. As Fox News reports, “The Trump administration reportedly began placing transcripts of Trump’s calls with several foreign leaders in a highly classified repository after leakers publicly divulged the contents of Trump’s private calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia in 2017.” Object if you like, but evidently this has been common practice for some time, and it was motivated by a perfectly understandable reason: to prevent future leaks.
The real question is this: Who is the puppet master behind the scenes, orchestrating this CIA whistleblower’s carefully crafted attempt to pin an impeachable offense on Trump?
It’s likely a disgruntled current or former deep-state actor — a Hillary Clinton supporter in the intel community. Recall Sen. Chuck Schumer’s chastising Trump for “being really dumb” following the president’s criticism of some U.S. intelligence operations. He warned, “Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you. So, even for a practical supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.” Daniel Benjamin, former senior adviser to Barack Obama, was even more explicit: “Trump’s treatment of his spies will also come back to bite him in the form of leaking and whistleblowing.”
Lo and behold, here we are.
“Rep. Adam Schiff acknowledged on Thursday that he made up parts of the Ukraine phone call transcript when he delivered his opening statement at a much-watched TV hearing with the U.S. top intelligence officer,” reports The Washington Times. That’s right; at a time when Democrats are pounding on the table for impeaching the president, and during a hearing grilling acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is spouting utter fiction as justification.
Schiff argued that the record of President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “reads like a classic organized-crime shakedown.” Actually, Schiff’s characterization is more like B-movie acting. “Shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the president communicates,” Schiff said. He went on to parody the call while effectively insinuating that he was quoting Trump from the transcript: “We’ve been very good to your country, very good. No other country has done as much as we have, but you know what, I don’t see much reciprocity here. I hear what you want. I have a favor I want from you, though. And I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it, on this and on that.”
Concluded Schiff, “It would be funny if it wasn’t such a graphic betrayal of the president’s oath of office.” Democrats violate their oaths daily, so forgive us if we reject his assertion.
More to the point, we’d add, Schiff’s little skit wasn’t funny at all, but that’s because it was a brazen lie. It bore absolutely no resemblance to the record of Trump’s conversation, though Schiff was certainly hoping low-information viewers who hadn’t read the transcript would buy his spin. On the other hand, Schiff’s fakery is actually a better representation of Democrat impeachment efforts, a bad movie we’ve seen before.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy notes, “[This was] a telling decision by Schiff, a capable former prosecutor: If you have an extortionate conversation, you quote it. If you need to imagine it into something it isn’t, that means it is not an extortionate conversation.”
Likewise, veteran journalist Brit Hume observed, “If the conversation were as damning as Schiff et al would like, he would have simply read directly from it, instead of making up dialogue.” But Hume admitted it was at least consistent with Schiff’s modus operandi: “Probably not surprising in light of the extravagant collusion claims he made for 2 years.” Schiff has been one of the most vocal Democrats over the last two years when it comes to the hoax of Russian collusion, so indeed it’s no wonder that he’d lead the stampede on Collusion 2.0.
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
SPENDING BILL PASSES: “The Senate on Thursday cleared a spending bill that will fund the government through Nov. 21, giving lawmakers and the White House more time to reach agreement on the annual appropriations process. The vote was 82-15, with all of the ‘no’ votes coming from Republicans. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the continuing resolution, holding off another partial government shutdown for at least 51 more days. But this could be the first of several stopgap bills amid tense debates about abortion policy and the border wall.” (Roll Call)
SCALIA CONFIRMED: “The Republican-led Senate on Thursday confirmed lawyer Eugene Scalia, a son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, as President Donald Trump’s new labor secretary. The Senate voted along party lines, 53-44, to approve Scalia’s nomination.” (Fox News)
MCCARTHY CONFIRMED: “The Senate has confirmed President Trump’s choice to be the top civilian leading the Army. In a Thursday afternoon voice vote, the Senate confirmed Ryan McCarthy as Army secretary. McCarthy, who has served as Army under secretary since 2017, will fill the role formerly held by Mark Esper until he became Defense secretary in July.” (The Hill)
ATF HOLDUP: “Chuck Canterbury, President Trump’s nominee to serve as head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, is likely to see his nomination withdrawn due to stringent opposition from Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. … Canterbury, who served as the president of the national Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), was expected to receive a vote out of committee Thursday morning. But his nomination was blocked by conservative Republicans who voiced concerns about his stances on gun control.” (The Washington Free Beacon)
REFUGEE ADMISSIONS LOWERED: “The Trump administration is proposing to resettle 18,000 refugees in the United States in the new fiscal year, reducing last year’s record-low refugee admission ceiling by a further 40 percent. … The final ceiling will be decided after consultation with Congress — as required by the Immigration and Nationality Act — but the Departments of State, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, in a report on Congress, are proposing an 18,000 limit. That’s by far the lowest since the modern U.S. refugee resettlement program began in 1980, when the Refugee Act was enacted.” (CNSNews.com)
IRANIANS BANNED: “The Trump administration on Thursday banned all members of the Iranian regime and their family members from entering the United States, a move aimed at stopping regime figures from sending their children to America for schooling and other opportunities. … Iranian regime figures have long taken advantage of America’s educational institutions, with many sending their children to the United States for college. This will immediately end, according to the Trump administration.” (The Washington Free Beacon)
SYRIAN CHEMICAL-WEAPONS ATTACK: “Syrian government forces carried out a chlorine attack in May, the first confirmed violation of the international accord banning chemical weapons since President Trump authorized a U.S. military strike on Syria in 2018 over its alleged use of poison gas, a new U.S. intelligence assessment says. The episode took place on May 19 near the village of Kabana as President Bashar al-Assad’s forces sought to subdue resistance in Latakia province, a senior U.S. official said.” (The Wall Street Journal)
GDP SLUGGISH: “The U.S. economy grew more slowly in the second quarter, updated figures confirm, and slow growth is expected to persist through the end of the year largely because of the festering trade fight with China. Gross domestic product, the official score card for the economy, grew at a 2% annual pace from April to June, the government said Thursday. That was unchanged from the previous estimate.” (MarketWatch)
RECORD FOREIGN-BORN RESIDENTS: “The percentage of foreign-born U.S. residents has reached its highest level in more than a century, according to estimates from the 2018 American Community Survey released [yesterday]. A record 44.7 million people are foreign-born, or about 13.7% of the U.S. population. That’s the highest rate since 1910 and comes amid a highly-charged political debate over whether the decennial Census survey should include a citizenship question. A subset of the foreign-born figure — the number of people in the U.S. but ‘not a U.S. citizen’ held at around 22 million in 2018.” (Bloomberg)
POLICY: The Treasury’s housing plan would pave the way for another financial crisis (National Review)
POLICY: Cleaning up vacant lots can curb urban crime (Manhattan Institute)
HUMOR: The fact that Trump even spoke to the Ukrainian president is an impeachable offense (NPC Daily)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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OPINION IN BRIEF
Tucker Carlson & Neil Patel: “Republicans should not have impeached Clinton, and they paid the price. Democrats today hate Trump. It’s not about justice or truth. What they care about is winning the 2020 presidential election. Democratic leaders have decided that impeaching Trump is essential if they’re going to win next year. So they’re staking everything on this bizarre, flimsy scandal that the rest of us can barely understand. … The issues aren’t really complicated. Why in the world would a Ukrainian company pay Hunter Biden $50,000 a month? We still haven’t heard an answer. If we’re talking about Ukraine and impeachment, we’re talking about Biden’s alleged corruption. That can’t help his campaign for president. In fact, it’s likely to tank it. It looks like sabotage, really. They must have gamed this up. Or maybe Democrats have just become so obsessed with destroying Trump that they’re accidentally destroying themselves.”
For the record: “If they actually did this [impeachment] the markets would crash. Do you think it was luck that got us to the best Stock Market and Economy in our history[?] It wasn’t!” —Donald Trump (Of course, Democrats WANT a recession.)
Food for thought: “For decades, the presidency has been getting more and more imperial, with Oval Office occupants openly flouting constraints on their exercise of power and Congress abdicating its role in doing anything other than spending more money and acting out of partisan interests. This process didn’t begin with President Donald Trump and it won’t end even if he is removed from office.” —Nick Gillespie
Observations: “[Bernie] Sanders often falsely claims that Scandinavia demonstrates the success of his socialist schemes, even though Scandinavian countries are home to some of the freest economies in the world. The confusion arises because many Sanders talking points haven’t been updated since the 1970s, when these countries were conducting disastrous experiments in government expansion. News of several decades of reform and revival hasn’t yet reached Sanders campaign headquarters.” —James Freeman
Fearmongering: “What also makes this urgent is that this is about something that is going to happen — the 2020 election. We have the opportunity to act now to prevent a profoundly destabilizing action — an intervention in our democracy before it happens.” —Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
The BIG Lie: “The president of the United States used taxpayer dollars to shake down the leader of another country for his own political gain.” —House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Non sequitur: “Getting an education isn’t a crime. We need to cancel every penny of student debt.” —Sen. Bernie Sanders (“Getting a Honda isn’t a crime. We need to cancel every penny of auto debt.” —Frank J. Fleming)
And last… “I don’t want to hear one more word from the Democrats about the Ukrainian transcript till we get to read what Obama told Iran when he gave them $150 billion in sanction relief and $1 billion in cash.” —Charlie Kirk
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
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