Mid-Day Digest

Oct. 29, 2019


“It behooves you, therefore, to think and act for yourself and your people. The great principles of right and wrong are legible to every reader; to pursue them requires not the aid of many counselors.” —Thomas Jefferson (1775)

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Pelosi’s Gambit on Impeachment Vote

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Monday that the House will finally hold a vote on Thursday to make official their impeachment inquiry. She wrote, “This resolution establishes the procedure for hearings that are open to the American people, authorizes the disclosure of deposition transcripts, outlines procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and sets forth due process rights for the President and his Counsel.” That’s an implicit admission that Republican complaints were right, but what’s really going on?

Most immediately, Pelosi and her fellow Democrats had a very bad weekend, and she desperately wanted to redirect the Leftmedia’s attention to help her party. Between President Donald Trump overseeing the U.S. military’s mission to send Islamic State terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to meet his Maker and Democrat Rep. Katie Hill’s disgraceful exit from Congress, Democrats needed a “reset” button.

(On the latter, make no mistake: Pelosi shoved Hill under the bus when Hill’s sordid #MeToo affairs with subordinates became undeniable. And like any good feminist, Hill blames everyone but herself.)

From a bigger perspective, Pelosi has been working a long-game impeachment strategy ever since retaking the House in November 2018. It has two prongs: One, ensure that what she hopes are Trump’s last two years in office are shrouded under the cloud of impeachment. Two, put Republican senators up for reelection in 2020 on the hot seat in hopes of Democrats retaking the upper chamber.

We’ve covered that first prong ad nauseam. Impeachment is Democrats’ coup d'état 2.0 after the utter failure of Robert Mueller’s investigation. Trump warned in his State of the Union about “ridiculous partisan investigations.” But that’s all Democrats have to offer — in this case a ridiculous partisan impeachment over the fact that Trump (foolishly) mentioned Joe Biden in a phone call with a foreign leader. Closed-door testimony from various White House officials seemingly has given Democrats a toehold on this point. Ukrainian-born Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a national security adviser who listened to the call, is testifying as we go to press … and not in Trump’s favor.

The second prong is more interesting. If Democrats really had a case for impeachment, they’d let the process play out in the open. Instead, they’ve carefully controlled the media narrative by cloaking it in secrecy, only now rushing to finish up before the end of 2019. Why? So they can force the Senate to vote on removing the president and thus hang that vote around the necks of Senate Republicans up for reelection in 2020. We’re still more than a year from Election Day, but flipping the Senate seems unlikely at this juncture, even though Republicans are defending 23 seats to Democrats’ 12. Dems need to move the needle.

The official text of the impeachment resolution hasn’t been released, but it will bear watching whether it comports with precedents set under Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. Pelosi doesn’t instill us with confidence. She argues that a vote will happen not because it’s necessary but because of Republican complaints about an unfair process and because of Trump’s “obstruction.”

As for Republicans and the president, the best argument now is to insist that Trump’s language in his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was not an improper, corrupt, or politically motivated quid pro quo — i.e., an impeachable offense — but rather the norm for American foreign aid and policy.

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Trump and Officers Blast Chicago’s Top Cop

President Donald Trump visited Chicago on Monday to speak at the conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Controversy preceded Trump’s visit when Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson publicly declared that he would boycott the president’s speech. Johnson self-righteously asserted, “As police officers, our job is to be the voice for the voiceless and ambassadors to the communities that we serve. I can’t in good conscience stand by while racial insults and hatred are cast from the Oval Office or Chicago is held hostage because of our views on new Americans.”

Johnson was referring to Chicago’s “sanctuary city” policy, which he fully embraces. But he erroneously and intentionally conflates legal immigrants, who can actually become “new Americans,” with illegal aliens, who are by definition law-breaking non-Americans. The irony is stupefying — the city’s top law-enforcement officer, whose primary role is to serve and protect the citizens of the city, is blatantly promoting lawlessness. With attitudes like this, is it any wonder that Democrat-run Chicago is notorious for its high crime rate?

Johnson’s virtue signal was so offensive that even Chicago’s own members of the Fraternal Order of Police voiced their opposition with a vote of “no confidence,” while FOP President Kevin Graham issued a statement deriding Johnson’s self-serving false narrative. “[Donald Trump] is the president of the United States,” he said. “There are plenty of times I’ve sat listening to speeches that I didn’t care for, and I certainly didn’t walk out on them.” Graham also noted how ATF agents have been a big help to “prosecute [violations of] our gun laws because our local prosecutor hasn’t done the job.” That federal help has “driven down the crime,” he said. “Last month we took a thousand [illegal] guns off the street. Last month alone.”

As for Trump’s speech, he loudly condemned Chicago’s feckless Democrat leaders over their refusal to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement: “Chicago is, unfortunately, the worst sanctuary city in America. Chicago protects criminals at a level few could even imagine. Last year, in Cook County alone, ICE asked local law-enforcement people to ‘…Please detain 1,162 people. Please.’ But in each case, the detainer was denied.” Trump then took aim at Johnson: “People like Johnson put criminals and illegal aliens before the citizens of Chicago. … And, frankly, those values, to me, are a disgrace. I will never put the needs of illegal criminals before … the needs of law-abiding citizens.”

Finally, Trump added, “So when Eddie Johnson, and many other people from lots of other regions and areas, support sanctuary cities, it’s really, in my opinion, a betrayal of their oath to the shield, and a violation of his duty to serve and to protect the courageous police officers of Chicago.” Trump is correct. While Johnson’s virtue signal is cheered by anti-Trump leftists and open-border advocates, everyday Americans are rejoicing in the fact that the president is honestly calling out the corruption and hypocrisy in the Windy City.

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


UKRAINE TESTIMONY: National security official testifies he heard Trump’s Ukraine call, told superiors of his concerns (NBC News)

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: Rep. Greg Walden, top Republican on powerful House panel, says he will retire (The Washington Post)

“SWINDLING FUTURITY ON A LARGE SCALE”: Senate rejects Rand Paul’s latest effort to cut spending (The Hill)

FOR THE RECORD: Confiscating the wealth of all billionaires wouldn’t pay for three average years of Medicare for All (Washington Examiner)

DEFAMATION SUIT REOPENED: Judge reopens Covington Catholic High student’s defamation suit against The Washington Post (Fox News)

TPS EXTENDED: U.S. to extend temporary protections for El Salvadorans for at least another year (CNN)

BREXIT: Britain looks set for an early election in attempt to break Brexit deadlock (NBC News)

INNOVATION, NOT REGULATION: MIT engineers develop a new way to remove carbon dioxide from the air (MIT News)

POLICY: Why millions are still uninsured despite government intervention (The Daily Signal)

POLICY: Businesses, not politicians, can lead the healthcare revolution by demanding transparent prices (Issues & Insights)

HUMOR: Sharpton slams Trump for lack of diversity in team that killed ISIS leader (Genesius Times)

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

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Rich Lowry: “More than 2 million people are going without power in Northern and Central California, in the latest and biggest of the intentional blackouts that are, astonishingly, California’s best answer to the risk of runaway wildfires. … The same California that has been the seedbed of world-famous companies that make it possible for people to send widely viewed short missives of 280 characters or less, and share and like images of grumpy cats, isn’t doing so well at keeping the lights on. The same California that has boldly committed to transitioning to 50 percent renewable energy by 2025 — and 100 percent renewable energy by 2045 — can’t manage its existing energy infrastructure. The same California that has pushed its electricity rates to the highest in the contiguous United States through its mandates and regulations doesn’t provide continuous access to that overpriced electricity. … There shouldn’t be any doubt that California, susceptible to drought through its history and whipped by fierce, dry winds this time of year, is always going to have a fire problem. But there also shouldn’t be any doubt that dealing with it this poorly is the result of a series of foolish, unrealistic policy choices.”


Observations: “Some people are pointing to the Katie Hill story and claiming that polyamory is perfectly healthy and good. Well, her marriage fell apart. Not sure this one goes in the win column for polyamorous relationships.” —Matt Walsh

Upright: “The First Amendment is first for a reason. Second Amendment is just in case the first one doesn’t work out.” —comedian Dave Chappelle

Friendly fire: “They have [Joe Biden] in the candidate-protection program. I don’t know if you can do that. I don’t know if you can get through a whole campaign that way. Either he can hack it or he can’t hack it. If you’re worried the candidate can hurt himself talking to a reporter, that’s a bad sign.” —former Obama adviser David Axelrod

Braying jackass: “I’m glad President Trump ordered the mission. But as more details of the raid [on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] emerge, it’s clear that this victory was not due to Donald Trump’s leadership. It happened despite his ineptitude as commander-in-chief.” —Joe Biden

Hogwash: “I don’t take impeachment lightly. I’ve been there for two. I don’t think it’s anything a country should have to go through if it can be avoided.” —Joe Biden

Basket of deplorables: “[Trump supporters] like him because of the issues. They like him because of the tax cut. They like him because he’s a racist.” —Joe Biden

Prepositioning the narrative: “Essentially, is America ready for a woman and a woman of color to be president of the United States? There is a lack of ability or a difficulty in imagining that someone whom we have never seen can do a job that has been done 45 times by someone who is not that person.” —Sen. Kamala Harris

And last… “BREAKING: a 9th Circuit judge rules [President Trump] must resurrect Al Baghdadi because he failed to inform Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi of the raid.” —Alex Bruesewitz

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