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Mid-Day Digest

Oct. 30, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck.” —Thomas Jefferson (1822)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Pelosi: ‘It’s Not an Impeachment Resolution’

As we noted yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s real impeachment gambit is to keep President Donald Trump under a cloud of investigation while putting Senate Republicans on the spot in 2020 for defending him. Thursday’s scheduled vote on the now-released resolution on impeachment is all about controlling the narrative — which Pelosi inadvertently admitted by telling a reporter, “It’s not an impeachment resolution.”

House Majority Steny Hoyer said the same thing: “This is not an impeachment resolution. I don’t know what an impeachment resolution is.”

If “it’s not an impeachment resolution,” what is it?

Well, it’s an effort to “address” Republican complaints about an opaque process by setting certain public rules about hearings. But it’s also literally a “keep doing what you’re doing” directive to Democrats:

Resolved, That the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committees on Financial Services, Foreign Affairs, the Judiciary, Oversight and Reform, and Ways and Means, are directed to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representative to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America.

Except there’s one glaring problem about those “ongoing investigations.” As The Federalist’s Sean Davis notes, “This Pelosi non-impeachment resolution is hilarious. It goes out of its way to avoid authorizing a specific investigation and delegation of authority and instead repeatedly references an ‘investigation’ that under the rules of the House doesn’t even exist … because the House of Representatives never authorized one. And this resolution doesn’t either.”

Indeed, the bulk of the resolution is window dressing about transparency. For example, Adam Schiff, chairman of the powerful House Intelligence Committee, can decide what “sensitive information” to redact from publicly released transcripts. Republicans can call witnesses … subject to approval from Schiff. Remember, this is the guy who went out of his way to script the narrative with the so-called “whistleblower,” so no one should trust him.

In other words, the resolution is the Democrats’ version of putting on glasses and asking Republicans, “You wouldn’t hit a guy with glasses, would you?”

Even so, Democrats may not actually vote on this weak-sauce resolution. Hoyer waffled, “We’re going to have to consider whether or not it’s ready to go on Thursday.” The only thing that’s transparent is that this is a charade.

As for Tuesday’s testimony from National Security Council official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman — a Ukrainian-born expert in U.S.-Ukraine relations — it illustrates the point about Schiff’s gamesmanship. As Democrats have done before, Vindman’s opening statement was leaked so as to “bolster” the Democrats’ narrative. Yet with this carefully controlled script being all we have to follow, it’s hard to believe anything Democrats are saying.

Vindman is the first official to testify who actually listened to Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. His “big reveal” was that the memorandum the White House released detailing the call omitted details — i.e., it wasn’t a true transcript. Specifically, Vindman says Zelensky explicitly mentioned Burisma Holdings — you know, the firm that paid Hunter Biden $850,000 despite his having no related energy experience.

Vindman said, “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.” He also says he brought his concerns to superiors, including requests to update the memorandum on the call, but without result.

Who did he speak to? Rep. Jim Jordan would like to know, except… “When we asked [Vindman] who he spoke to after important events in July — Adam Schiff says, ‘No, no, no, we’re not going to let him answer that question.’”

Rep. Steve Scalise says of Schiff’s closed-door hearings, “He’s directing witnesses not to answer questions that he doesn’t want the witness to answer if they’re asked by Republicans. He’s not cut off one Democrat. He’s not interrupted one Democrat and told a witness not to answer Democrat members’ questions, but today he started telling witnesses not to answer questions by certain Republicans.”

Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, marveled, “I have never in my life seen anything like what happened today.” He accused Schiff of “interrupt[ing] us continually to coach the witness, to decide … what we’re going to be able to ask the witness.” He added, “Schiff is very good at coaching witnesses.”

But we’re supposed to trust Schiff to run an honest impeachment inquiry after the House votes on a sham not-an-impeachment-resolution resolution?

Democrats desperately want Americans to believe that Trump’s query regarding the Bidens’ corrupt dealings in Ukraine had more to do with benefiting the president’s reelection bid in 2020 than getting to the bottom of Democrat shenanigans in Ukraine related to the 2016 election. In other words, they insist, Trump’s supposed quid pro quo was corrupt and politically motivated. Consider, however, that Democrat corruption and soliciting foreign election interference is why this Ukraine fiasco and the now-defunct Russia-collusion hoax got started in the first place. Exposing Democrats would necessarily benefit Trump in 2020. That doesn’t make him corrupt.

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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

TEMPORARY HIATUS: DC Circuit halts disclosure of Mueller grand-jury materials to consider an emergency appeal (The Daily Caller)

SWAMP LEAKAGE: State Department launches investigation into “deep state” targeting Trump’s top Iran official (The Washington Free Beacon)

SILENCE SPEAKS VOLUMES: House passes Armenian genocide measure — no thanks to Ilhan Omar (CNSNews.com)

HYPOCRISY: Elizabeth Warren pledges to crack down on school choice, despite sending her own son to elite private school (The Daily Caller)

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? The NCAA will allow athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness in a major shift for the organization (CNBC)

THE LAST STRAW: China dumped 27% more trash into the ocean in 2018 (New York Post)

MORE TO THE STORY? Forensic investigator: Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy more consistent with homicide (National Review)

BABY, IT’S WOKE OUTSIDE: John Legend and Kelly Clarkson remake “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” after critics said it promoted date rape (CBS News)

POLICY: The needless trauma of active-shooter drills (National Review)

POLICY: Baghdadi is dead. But we’re no closer to victory in the “forever war.” (American Enterprise Institute)

HUMOR: Texas luring jobs away from California with promises of electricity (The Babylon Bee)

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

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Marc A. Thiessen: “President Trump deserves credit for ordering the operation that killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. … Would Joe Biden have done the same? Unlikely. The former vice president advised Barack Obama not to carry out the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. As Mark Bowden, author of ‘The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden,’ explained in 2012, ‘The only major dissenters were Biden and [then-Defense Secretary Robert] Gates, and before the raid was launched, Gates would change his mind.’ … According to Bowden, Biden told the president that ‘if the effort failed, Obama could say goodbye to a second term.’ At the moment America had the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks in her sights, Biden was worried about politics, the absolute last thing a commander in chief should be thinking about in such circumstances. … Yet, rather than praise Trump for ordering the killing of Baghdadi, Biden blasted the president, declaring the raid succeeded ‘despite his ineptitude as commander in chief.’ The man who opposed the bin Laden operation criticizes the man who approved the Baghdadi operation? That’s rich. And it was the Obama-Biden administration’s withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 that allowed the Islamic State to rise from the ashes of defeat and build a caliphate the size of Britain. Talk about ineptitude.”

SHORT CUTS

A blind squirrel finds a nut: “This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re politically woke and all that stuff — you should get over that quickly.” —Barack Obama

The bottom line: “The flaws in the president’s negotiations with Ukraine are worthy of criticism, but they do not rise to the level of an impeachable offense under the circumstances.” —Andrew McCarthy

Political theater: “It seems the full House will now vote to authorize the next steps in [an] impeachment inquiry it never voted to start in the first place.” —Brit Hume

Procedural gymnastics: “Democrats can’t up and authorize a real investigation now, because that would be an admission that previous demands were unauthorized, nuking their current case. So they’re left to play cutesy games where they reference a non-existent investigation and hope nobody will notice.” —Sean Davis

Friendly fire: “The big difference [with regard to Watergate] is … [Democrats] still don’t have what you call ‘the goods’ on this president in terms of breaking the law and being an impeachable target for them. They’re going to start the process but they don’t have the same kind of clarity that the people who were opposed to Richard Nixon had because it was so clear that these were criminal acts he was involved in.” —Tom Brokaw

Deflecting: “You’re asking me to come up with an exact detailed plan of how every American — how much you’re going to pay more in taxes, how much I’m going to pay. I don’t think I have to do that right now.” —Bernie Sanders avoiding a question on funding Medicare for All

Race bait: “I can’t make people not afraid of black people. I don’t know what’s going on. I can’t explain what’s happening in your head.” —Michelle Obama

D'oh! “I think we can win North Carolina. Barack and I won it. Barack won it twice in a row.” —Joe Biden (North Carolina went to Mitt Romney in 2012.)

Quid pro quo: “I would use the leverage. $3.8 billion is a lot of money, and we cannot give it carte blanche to the Israeli government or for that matter to any government at all. We have a right to demand respect for human rights and democracy.” —Bernie Sanders

Village idiots: “I don’t feel it was the right move [for Rep. Katie Hill to resign]. I feel that there is incredible hypocrisy that goes on and if Katie Hill were a man who was in a consensual relationship with another man and a woman that this would be a very different outcome.” —Alyssa Milano

Dezinformatsiya: “Revenge porn drove Katie Hill out of Congress. Would that have happened to a man?” —The Washington Post’s Caroline Kitchener (“If RedState hadn’t published that photo, all the people now screaming about ‘revenge porn’ would be demanding evidence.” —Jim Treacher)

And last… “Katie Hill resigned because she violated House ethics rules by engaging in a sexual affair with a staffer. It wasn’t because of naked pics. It wasn’t because she posted pics on wife-sharing sites. It wasn’t a GOP-led coup. It’s not sexist. She broke the rules. Period.” —Liz Wheeler

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TODAY’S MEME

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TODAY’S CARTOON

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