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Mid-Day Digest

Oct. 2, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.” —Samuel Adams (1749)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

Dems Target Mike Pompeo

In an effort to prop up their “whistleblower’s” false allegations, House Democrats have lashed out at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over his refusal to submit to their subpoena demands. Following Pompeo’s statement that he would not let State Department staff be bullied by Democrats into testifying, three Democrat committee chairmen led by Rep. Adam “B Movie” Schiff cried foul, disingenuously claiming that this was evidence that Pompeo was the one who was “intimidat[ing] witnesses.” They warned, “Any effort to intimidate witnesses or prevent them from talking with Congress — including State Department employees — is illegal and will constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry.”

Naturally, the mainstream media is taking cues from Democrats and is now framing the normal job-related actions of high-ranking White House officials like Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr as somehow being evidence of corruption. For example, Pompeo is alleged to have engaged in misconduct for simply listening to President Donald Trump’s infamous July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Why would this be wrong? As The Wall Street Journal notes, “Shouldn’t a Secretary of State be on a call to the new President of an important country? U.S. foreign policy is the secretary’s job.”

Why are Democrats playing this vilification game? Because their “smoking gun” whistleblower complaint failed to expose any impeachable offense. In all likelihood the Democrats knew that going in, but with a friendly press they calculated that it would serve to provide just enough of a cover story to justify acting on their long-running impeachment obsession. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and company know they don’t have any actual evidence of a crime, so they’re vilifying anyone near Trump to create the air of corruption around any action. Even innocuous job-related activities can be said to have been done with corrupt motivations to cover up Trump’s crimes. This is an effort to keep the narrative alive through the election.

Trump sees this, which is why he’s calling it what it is: “a coup.” On Tuesday, he asserted, “As I learn more and more each day, I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People, their Vote, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall, and their God-given rights as a Citizen of The United States of America!” He’s right.

There may be another motive for the Democrats’ vilification of Pompeo and Barr — they don’t want them investigating the origins of the 2016 Russia-collusion hoax. In fact, The Washington Post suggests as much in an article titled, “Democrats’ worst fears about William Barr are proving correct.”

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Behind Hillary’s ‘Gutless’ Book Tour

What could salve the wounds of a nation with deep political divisions better than … another Clinton presidency? As far fetched as that sounds, it is certainly suspicious timing that Hillary Clinton (with daughter Chelsea) released a book Tuesday called, The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience. Maybe it’s purely coincidence that it was published smack in the middle of impeachment fever over how Donald Trump “stole” the 2016 election from Clinton and is attempting to do it again in 2020.

Clinton said in a weekend interview to promote the book that Trump is “an illegitimate president.” That implies she’s the “rightful” occupant of the Oval Office. And, thus, she says, “There should be an impeachment inquiry opened. And I think, sadly, there are a number of grounds.” Namely that Trump defeated Clinton.

According to Chelsea, who is vice chair of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, “If history shows one thing, it’s that the world needs gutsy women.” Is any woman more “gutsy” than Hillary? Gutsy to engage in corrupt real-estate dealings (Whitewater). Gutsy to complain about a “vast right-wing conspiracy” to oust her husband for high crimes and misdemeanors. Gutsy to carpetbag for a layup New York Senate seat. Gutsy to use a private email server to hide her shady Clinton Foundation dealings while she was secretary of state. Gutsy to leave four Americans to die in a terrorist attack in Benghazi, only to blame a video and then throw a tantrum in congressional testimony, asking, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

Hillary says her own gutsiest political decision was to “run for president.” But “personally,” she claims it was “the decision to stay in my marriage.” Those two are very closely related. Hillary was often known as Bill Clinton’s “co-president” because of the active role she had in his administration, and her own political ambitions were hardly hidden. Had she divorced Bill for his serial philandering and sexual predation she would have cut off her own career, so she had little choice but to make that “gutsy” politically expedient decision. Now, she’s merely trying to get the #MeToo gaggle to give her a break over making it.

Is Clinton hoping a third time is a charm? We’re not quite convinced, though we do note that the Ukraine kerfuffle has weakened Democrat frontrunner Joe Biden. Think it would be a bad time to remind folks that then-Secretary of State Clinton facilitated the sale of 20% of American uranium-mining capacity to Russia right about the same time Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for a speaking engagement in Moscow? Or that, as Marc Theissen points out, “$145 million went to the Clinton Foundation from interests linked to Uranium One”?

Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson think the Clinton-Ukraine connection might be relevant. The pair sent a letter this week to Attorney General William Barr requesting an investigation into the “brazen efforts by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign to use the government of Ukraine for the express purpose of finding negative information on then candidate Trump in order to undermine his campaign.”

Running again with that record isn’t what we’d call gutsy. It’d be unmitigated chutzpah.

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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

BERNIE SANDERS HOSPITALIZED: “‘During a campaign event yesterday evening, Sen. Sanders experienced some chest discomfort. Following medical evaluation and testing he was found to have a blockage in one artery and two stents were successfully inserted,’ said Sanders’ senior adviser Jeff Weaver on Wednesday in a statement. ‘Sen. Sanders is conversing and in good spirits. He will be resting up over the next few days,’ Weaver said. ‘We are canceling his events and appearances until further notice, and we will continue to provide appropriate updates.’” (ABC News)

HARVARD’S MEDIOCRITY UPHELD: “A federal judge Tuesday cleared Harvard University of discriminating against Asian American applicants in a ruling that was seen as a major victory for supporters of affirmative action in college admissions across the U.S.,” according to the Associated Press. Around this time last year, our own Arnold Ahlert explained how Harvard’s admission policies do a grave disservice to meritocracy and an educated electorate — to the Left’s delight.

ANTI-NRA U-TURN: “Remember last month when San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors passed a resolution declaring the National Rifle Association a domestic terrorist organization and ordered city employees to ‘take every reasonable step to limit’ business interactions with the NRA and its supporters?” asks Jim Geraghty of National Review. “… The NRA sued, and lo and behold, San Francisco is backing down, before the suit even went to court.” The mayor in a new memo states, “No [municipal] department will take steps to restrict any contractor from doing business with the NRA or to restrict City contracting opportunities for any business that has any relationship with the NRA.” Meanwhile, says Geraghty, “The NRA is challenging a similar law passed by the Los Angeles city council requiring city contractors to disclose any ties they have to the gun-rights group.”

TAX-RETURN LAW BLOCKED: “A U.S. judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked a California law aimed at forcing President Donald Trump to release his personal income tax returns in order to appear on the 2020 primary ballot. U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. issued a written opinion saying the law likely violates the U.S. Constitution.” (Associated Press)

DEATH AND TAXES: “Americans on average spent more on taxes in 2018 than they did on the basic necessities of food, clothing and health care combined, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey. … The $14,758.11 that the average American consumer unit paid for food, clothing and health care was $3,859.82 less than the $18,617.93 it paid in federal, state and local income taxes, property taxes, Social Security taxes and ‘other taxes.’” (Terence Jeffrey)

NET-NEUTRALITY REPEAL UPHELD: “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled Tuesday that the Federal Communications Commission was mostly lawful in its rollback of Obama-era ‘net neutrality’ guidelines, while offering a glimmer of hope to proponents of the guidelines. In a 2–1 ruling, the court said the FCC had acted lawfully in its decision to stop regulating broadband like a utility or a ‘common carrier’ such as a phone service. But it said the FCC had exceeded its authority in attempting to block states from passing their own rules in contradiction of the net-neutrality repeal, as California did in 2018.” (National Review)

TANTAMOUNT TO A WARREN ENDORSEMENT: “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in July that an Elizabeth Warren presidency would pose an ‘existential’ threat to the company, according to over two hours of leaked audio published by The Verge.” (National Review)

PRO-LIFE SETBACK: “A federal judge handed an early win to abortion rights activists Tuesday by blocking Georgia’s restrictive law from going into effect — but it is only the first step as a lawsuit makes its way through the court system. District Judge Steve C. Jones’ ruling stops House Bill 481 from taking effect Jan. 1 while the case plays out. Anti-abortion activists are hoping the case winds up in the U.S. Supreme Court.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

MURDERS DECLINE: “Murder is on the decline in America, according to a new FBI report. The nation’s top federal law enforcement agency found that homicides fell by 6 percent in 2018. The decline in homicides is part of a 3 percent drop in the violent crime rate, according to the Uniform Crime Report, the FBI’s annual tally of crimes reported to local police departments. The 2018 decline follows several years of slight increases in homicide and violent crime, driven largely by spikes in major cities such as Chicago and Washington, D.C.” (The Washington Free Beacon)

FAIRFAX FOLLY: The Daily Caller reports: “A county police department in Virginia announced Tuesday that one of their officers was suspended for turning an illegal alien over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after determining the individual had dodged a deportation hearing. Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. said the officer in question had a ‘lapse in judgment’ when he called ICE about the illegal alien. … Fairfax County has a policy that limits the police department’s cooperation with ICE.” The “lapse in judgment” here is being directed at the wrong person.

OPIOID SETTLEMENT: “Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) said on Tuesday it will pay $20.4 million to settle claims by two Ohio counties, allowing the U.S. healthcare giant to avoid an upcoming federal trial seeking to hold the industry responsible for the nation’s opioid epidemic. J&J became the fourth drugmaker to settle claims ahead of the Federal Court trial against multiple manufacturers and distributors in Cleveland scheduled for later this month. The case is considered a bellwether for more than 2,600 lawsuits by state and local governments that are pending nationally.” (Reuters)

POLICY: Impeachment or not, the intelligence community is the real loser (Washington Examiner)

POLICY: We won’t restrict investment in China, but we should (American Enterprise Institute)

HUMOR: Nation’s Civil War reenactors have been preparing for this moment their entire lives (The Babylon Bee)

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

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Byron York: “It will be very, very hard for House Democrats to show that Trump committed a crime in the Ukraine affair. Which is why some Democrats seem to be moving toward accusing Trump of engaging in misconduct that is more difficult to define, like violating his oath of office or betraying his country. Those are charges that seem solemn and weighty, but are also fuzzy enough to use without getting into any detailed — and losing — legal argument. The Constitution says a president ‘shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.’ There has been a very long debate on what that means. To lay ears, it sounds like the president must be shown to have committed a crime to be impeached and removed from office. But the framers did not define ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ and it is up to Congress to decide whether a president should be impeached, and, if so, on what grounds. So far, Democrats have not helped their cause by accusing Trump of criminal behavior. ‘No man is above the law’ sounds good, but it requires the impeachers to make a case that the president did, indeed, break the law.”

SHORT CUTS

For the record: “I was appalled seeing the President of the United States congratulate the communist Chinese for their anniversary. The Chicoms are a ruthless authoritarian state that relentlessly persecutes Christians and others. It runs actual concentration camps. It actually forcibly aborts children. It runs slave labor camps. It exterminates people and harvests their organs.” —Erick Erickson

For the record II: “President Donald Trump is rarely criticized for being too nice on Twitter. But who can support his oddly cheerful conduct of foreign social-media relations on Tuesday morning? Mr. Trump wished a happy birthday to China’s communist government, currently celebrating seven decades of suppressing liberty. Americans must hope this is merely the start of the deal on trade and not a policy statement on freedom in Asia.” —James Freeman

Friendly fire: “The difference is that liberals protect people, and PC people protect feelings. They don’t do anything. They’re pointing at other people who are somehow falling short of their standards. … On the left, we have the one true opinion. If you go against that, you do so at your peril. … I didn’t think it would get this bad on the left. … The politically correct people are not concerned about social justice. They care about putting scalps on the wall.” —Bill Maher

Right for the wrong reasons: “The future of this country and of America as a republic is on the line right now. That’s more important than any election, any polling, any electoral prospects.” —Beto O'Rourke

Non compos mentis: “I’m calling on the GOP to stop Trump’s filthy talk of whistleblowers being spies & using mob language implying they should be killed. Impeachment is not good enough for Trump. He needs to be imprisoned & placed in solitary confinement. But for now, impeachment is the imperative.” —Rep. Maxine Waters

Belly laugh of the week: “I think the gutsiest thing I’ve ever done — well, personally, make the decision to stay in my marriage.” —Hillary Clinton

The BIG Lie: “It’s a witch hunt. It’s a real one, unlike the kind of things Trump talks about.” —Hillary Clinton regarding the State Department email probe

Cat’s out of the bag: “I don’t want to lie to you. If I told you, magically, that you’re going to have great healthcare and it’s not going to cost you a penny would you believe me? So we got to be honest. … So we have to be mature enough to say, okay, if I’m stopping you, hypothetically, from paying $20,000 a year in premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, you’re paying $10,000 more in taxes. Last I heard, you’re in pretty good shape.” —Sen. Bernie Sanders

And last… “When you elevate victimhood as virtue, you will create a culture in which people are tripping over themselves to be oppressed.” —Allie Beth Stuckey

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TODAY’S MEME

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TODAY’S CARTOON

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