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Mid-Day Digest

Nov. 21, 2019

IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

‘Schiff Show’ Roundup: Sondland Testimony a ‘Bombshell’ Dud

“I think today’s testimony is among the most significant evidence to date,” proclaimed House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) at the midpoint break of U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland’s testimony. “We now can see the veneer has been torn away,” he added. And what was this bombshell “evidence” that Schiff insists confirms that President Donald Trump is guilty of an impeachable offense? Sondland’s opening statement, in which he asks, “Was there a quid pro quo? The answer is yes.”

That is what sent Schiff spiking the football. However, following the break it became clear that Sondland’s “bombshell” was in fact a dud. “Did the president ever tell you personally about any preconditions for anything?” Republican counsel Stephen Castor asked Sondland. “No,” Sondland answered. Castor drilled down further, asking how Sondland knew Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani were engaged in a quid pro quo. Sondland responded that he “assumed” it and that it was “no secret.”

Sondland claimed, “Mr. Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky.” However, under further questioning, Sondland admitted that he was never directly told by anyone that Trump had tied conditions of investigating the Bidens with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelelnsky’s desired visit with Trump; rather Sondland “presumed” this was the case. Sondland also believed that “in the absence of any credible explanation” for the military aid being withheld, it was due to the fact that Ukraine had not made any public announcement of an investigation into Burisma and Ukraine’s own 2016 election meddling.

Ohio Republican Jim Jordan blasted Sondland for omitting in his opening statement what he had previously testified to in his earlier closed-door hearing — that Trump had explicitly answered his question on Ukraine, “I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. I just want Zelensky to do the right thing and do what he ran on.”

Overall, it was another day where nothing new was learned. However, Schiff finally got what he wanted — a witness explicitly testifying that there was a “quid pro quo.” Expect the Democrats to be writing up articles of impeachment soon.

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Epstein’s Death: Popular Memes and an FBI Probe

“Epstein didn’t kill himself” is the punchline of a series of memes that has gone viral, as numerous irregularities surrounding the untimely death of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein have gone unexplained. Fueling the conspiracy theories that Epstein was actually murdered is the fact of the serial pedophile’s ties to high-profile individuals like Bill Clinton, as well as the longrunning list of suspicious deaths of people surrounding the Clintons. And then there’s the Leftmedia coverup of Epstein’s connections to Clinton.

However, the questions surrounding Epstein’s Aug. 10 suicide while in a jail cell aren’t merely fodder for the tinfoil-hat club or humorous Internet memes. The FBI is now conducting an investigation into the possibility that a “criminal enterprise” was involved in Epstein’s death. Appearing before the Senate on Tuesday, Bureau of Prisons Director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer was asked if the FBI is investigating any possibility of a criminal element involved in Epstein’s death. Sawyer responded that “the FBI is involved and they are looking at criminal enterprise, yes.”

Furthermore, the two prison guards who failed to properly monitor Epstein during the time of his death have been charged “with making false records and conspiring to make false records and to defraud the United States by impairing the lawful functions of the Metropolitan Correctional Center,” reports Fox News. That’s almost certainly a pitiful attempt to cover up their own dereliction of duty, because the indictment reveals that no one else approached Epstein’s cell the night of his death.

The reality is that the suspicious circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death were inevitably going to end up as fodder for believing the Clintons or someone else had something to do with it. Hopefully, the FBI’s investigation leads to greater clarity.

In any case, National Review’s Michael Brendan Daugherty explains the popularity of the memes with this great insight: “I would estimate that at least half of the people sharing different Epstein memes with me are sharing them in jest. But jest can have a serious point. Sharing ‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’ memes because you believe paranoia stands to reason, or because you think they are funny, is a kind of practice for saying, ‘I think our leadership class and our institutions are capable of every corruption and depravity.’” And indeed they are.

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ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY

Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column

Read Schiff’s Desperate Pivot to Perjury and Bribery. A strategic overview of the Coup, Part 2.

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BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

TOP NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

LACKLUSTER DEBATE: A dull debate Wednesday night helps the front-runners (National Review)

NO OTHER AVENUE: Embattled UAW President Gary Jones resigns after GM sues rival over union bribery (MarketWatch)

NOTHING TO SEE HERE… Ukraine widens criminal investigation into Biden-connected Burisma (The Daily Wire)

SPEAKING OF CORRUPTION: DNA test of love child confirms Hunter Biden cheated on his dead brother’s widow (PJ Media)

SOLIDARITY: U.S. House passes Hong Kong rights bills; Trump is expected to sign (Reuters)

FEDS TOO SLOW TO RESPOND: Senate report: U.S. taxpayers have unwittingly funded China’s economy and military for decades (The Daily Wire)

TIP OF THE ICEBERG: DOJ inspector general finds “numerous issues” with FBI management of secret sources (Washington Examiner)

RAINBOW MAFIA: Illinois school district gives transgender students unrestricted access to bathrooms (The Daily Signal)

MIND-BOGGLING: Children are being locked away, alone and terrified, in schools across Illinois. Often, it’s against the law. (Chicago Tribune)

GOOD LUCK WITH THAT: Jussie Smollett files suit against Chicago for “malicious prosecution” (National Review)

POLICY: A pro-growth alternative to the Left’s tax-hike agenda (The Daily Signal)

POLICY: Setting the record straight on the value of U.S. military aid to Ukraine (The Daily Signal)

“HUMOR”: Poll: Majority want impeachment hearings to continue as long as possible so Congress will be too busy to meddle with our lives (The Babylon Bee)

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

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Victor Davis Hanson: “In September 2018, The New York Times published an op-ed from an anonymous White House official who boasted of supposedly widescale efforts inside the Trump administration to nullify its operations and subvert presidential directives. Such efforts to oppose Trump are often self-described as ‘The Resistance,’ a reference to the underground French fighters resisting the Nazis in World War II. Trump’s opponents often have praised the deep state precisely because unelected career officials are seen as the most effective way to sabotage and stymie his agenda. A ‘coup’ is no longer proof of right-wing paranoia, but increasingly a part of the general progressive discourse of resistance to Trump. In these upside-down times, patriotism is being redefined as removing a president before a constitutionally mandated election.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “There is an almost universal tendency, perhaps an inborn tendency, to suspect the good faith of a man who holds opinions that differ from our own opinions… It obviously endangers the freedom and the objectivity of our discussion if we attack a person instead of attacking an opinion or, more precisely, a theory.” —Sir Karl Popper (1902-1993)

Grand delusions: “If you think a woman can’t beat Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi does it every single day.” —Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Dezinformatsiya: “To deny that the president did not do something wrong at this point is… it’s… it’s mental. It is mental. If you can look at the mountain of evidence and say, ‘Oh, nothing’s wrong — the president didn’t do anything wrong, he’s just rooting out corruption,’ you’ve got a problem because that is not what happened… The problem is you.” —CNN’s Don Lemon

Huh? “I’m part of that Obama coalition. I come out of the black community, in terms of my support.” —Joe Biden

The BIG Lie: “Police violence is gun violence too, and we must speak out for black and brown people who often don’t have an effective first chance at life.” —Julian Castro

Non compos mentis: “If there are parts of the wall that are not useful in our defense, of course we should [remove it]. The real point here is that we need to stop this man-made crisis at the border. Trump is the one who has created this crisis, and he has done it in no small part by helping destabilize the governments even further in Central America.” —Sen. Elizabeth Warren

What could possibly go wrong? “By the way, the fossil-fuel industry is probably criminally liable, because they have lied and lied and lied when they had the evidence that their carbon products were destroying the planet, and maybe we should think about prosecuting them as well.” —Sen. Bernie Sanders

And last… “The president of the United States and the brave journalists in California are being pummeled by powerful liberal elitists who will stop at nothing to destroy them. If they can overthrow an election and destroy the First Amendment, imagine what they will do to you if you get under their skin.” —Rebecca Hagelin

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TODAY’S MEME

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

TODAY’S CARTOON

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For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.


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