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Mid-Day Digest

Nov. 22, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.” —George Washington (1796)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

‘Schiff Show’ Roundup: Hill Falsely Smears Republicans

If you want to present yourself as a credible, objectively minded, nonpartisan witness, you shouldn’t start by falsely disparaging an entire side of the political aisle. But that’s exactly what former National Security Council official Fiona Hill did in her opening statement on the last day of the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment hearings. She accused Republicans of not believing that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election and instead propagating a “fictional narrative” that it was Ukraine. So much for her claim of nonpartisanship.

Republicans were quick to take apart Hill’s false accusation, pointedly noting that every single Republican had signed off on the Justice Department’s conclusion that Russia had acted to interfere in the 2016 election. (Not to mention actual Ukrainian interference doesn’t preclude Russian interference.) Upon further questioning, Hill admitted that the accounts of Ukrainian officials working against then-candidate Donald Trump were accurate. “They bet on Hillary Clinton winning the election,” she said. “So, you know, they were trying to curry favor with the Clinton campaign.”

Furthermore, Hill tacitly gave a plausible reason for Trump’s negative view of Ukraine, stating, “Many [Ukrainian officials] said some pretty disparaging and hateful things about President Trump, and I can’t blame him for feeling aggrieved about that. … I would also take offense to some of the things that were said if I was the president.”

Hill also testified that former National Security Advisor John Bolton expressed to her his negative views of Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, calling him a “hand grenade” — a statement he did not elaborate on any further. This reinforced a recurring theme: Many people were frustrated by Giuliani and viewed him as meddlesome.

An important point was also established that the stopping and starting of foreign aid is not an uncommon event. Republican counsel Steve Castor asked Hill, “Is it fair to say … stops and starts in aid like this sometimes do happen?” Hill responded, “That’s correct.” Castor then asked, “I believe you testified there was a freeze put on all kinds of aid and assistance because it was placed in a process of significant reviews of foreign assistance going on?” Hill answered, “That’s correct. … As I understand, there had been a directive for a wholesale review of our … foreign-policy assistance, and the ties … between our foreign-policy objectives and the assistance.”

Democrats also had David Holmes, a political counselor to the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, testify. He dubiously claimed to have overheard a conversation between Gordon Sondland and Trump that so alarmed him that … he elected to continue with his vacation plans before deciding to reporting it. According to Holmes, he heard Trump ask Sondland how the investigation was going, which Holmes interpreted as the investigation into Barisma and the Bidens. Needless to say, Holmes offered only hearsay as evidence.

Finally, a statement from soon-to-be-retiring Republican Rep. Will Hurd, a Texas moderate who is no fan of Trump, serves to demonstrate just how badly this impeachment gambit has gone for the Democrats. Hurd said, “I have not heard evidence proving the president committed bribery or extortion.” As Nancy Pelosi writes up articles of impeachment, she faces the very real probability that not one Republican will vote in favor of impeachment while she may even lose two or three Democrats, giving Republicans the bipartisan talking point to level against this obviously partisan sham.

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Upcoming Horowitz Report Shows FBI/FISA Shenanigans

“It doesn’t take 500 pages to tell the inspector general that everything was done properly,” said Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX). “The IG report is going to find that there were problems.”

The IG report Ratcliffe is referencing is that of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, planned for release on Dec. 9. “For more than a year and a half,” reports Fox News, “Inspector General Michael Horowitz has been investigating alleged misconduct related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, warrants delivered by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). The Justice Department and FBI obtained warrants in 2016 to surveil Trump adviser Carter Page. It is unclear, at this point, if Page was the only Trump official that the DOJ obtained a FISA warrant against.”

The House and Senate have already determined that the FBI relied far too heavily on the phony Hillary Clinton-funded dossier to obtain the FISA warrant.

In advance of the Horowitz report’s release, CNN, of all places, dropped a bit of a bombshell yesterday, reporting, “A former FBI lawyer is under criminal investigation after allegedly altering a document related to 2016 surveillance of a Trump campaign adviser.” Furthermore, “Horowitz turned over evidence on the allegedly altered document to John Durham, the federal prosecutor appointed early this year by Attorney General William Barr to conduct a broad investigation of intelligence gathered for the Russia probe by the CIA and other agencies, including the FBI. The altered document is also at least one focus of Durham’s criminal probe.” That’s because “the alterations were significant enough to have shifted the document’s meaning.”

The Washington Post insists the alterations “did not affect the overall validity of the surveillance application,” but allow us to remind folks that the phony dossier was at the beginning of the Democrats’ efforts to sink Donald Trump with allegations of Russian collusion. When that didn’t pan out, they opted for impeachment over Trump’s Ukraine call. And it was this same Washington Post that reported at noon on Inauguration Day that “the campaign to impeach President Trump has begun.”

Trump has been the target of an attempted Democrat/Leftmedia/Deep State coup since literally Day One — and that resistance began in earnest from the moment he won the nomination. That attempted coup evidently includes altering forms to bolster FBI investigations. We expect that’s the tip of the iceberg in Horowitz’s full report.

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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

WHAT NOW? Democrats plot next move as impeachment hearings fail to sway the public (The Washington Times)

BRING IT ON: White House supports full Senate impeachment trial over early dismissal (National Review)

BALLOT FAIL: California loses court battle to keep Trump off ballot (Townhall)

“POTENTIALLY UNLAWFUL PROCEDURE”: Judge blocks Justice Department’s plan to resume federal executions (NPR)

NO SHUTDOWN: Trumps signs stopgap spending bill, averting shutdown (Associated Press)

GOOD NEWS: RNC massively out-raises DNC even as DNC reports best fundraising month this year (The Daily Wire)

DEEP STATE HERE AND ABROAD: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment is a fraud (Power Line)

BRANCHING OUT: Trump admin plans to expand “Remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers to Arizona border (NBC News)

GUILTY PLEA: Ex-Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh pleads guilty to federal charges involving children’s book (Fox News)

POLICY: The Supreme Court needs to stop governments from banning religious foster care (The Federalist)

POLICY: In future wars, the U.S. military will have nowhere to hide (Foreign Policy)

HUMOR: Bernie Sanders says he’ll put AOC in “very important” bartending role in White House (Genesius Times)

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

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Erick Erickson: “Of the things for which you are thankful, how many of those things involve politics? Hopefully none, but some reading this will either be thankful for the President or thankful the Democrats might impeach him. You might be thankful for the prevailing trends in politics or the countervailing trends in politics. But all these things are fleeting, because there is no permanence to politics in America. The people most prone to thankfulness based on politics will, at some point, be the least thankful people when the political winds blow against them. This week, there will inevitably be various articles about arguing at Thanksgiving over politics. I have never lived in a family that did this, but I imagine there must be people who live in such families. It should not take life and death to make these people realize that politics are not something for which any of us should be thankful. Sure, be thankful we live in a stable republic where we can speak freely and vote. But if you put thankfulness for a politician ahead of thankfulness for your family, friends or other blessings, perhaps reprioritize.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “If there is a bedrock principle of the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” —Justice William J. Brennan (1906-1997)

Food for thought: “Based on Fiona Hill’s testimony, I wonder how many anti-fracking groups are getting money under the table from Moscow.” —Erick Erickson

For the record: “[Democrats] got caught trying to obtain nude photos of President Trump from Russian pranksters pretending to be Ukrainians. … That is the Democrats’ pitiful legacy in recent years: they got caught.” —Rep. Devin Nunes

Lack of self-awareness: “The Republicans are in denial about the facts.” —House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Depends on the whistleblower’s political ideology: “An attack on the whistleblower is an attack on the integrity of our system.” —Nancy Pelosi

Braying jackass: “The question now going forward for those Congress people who support [Trump] is: Are you a Republican? Or are you an American. And I guess we’re going to find out pretty soon.” —Jimmy Kimmel

The BIG Lie: “What the scientists are telling us, if we don’t get our act together within the next eight or nine years, we’re talking about cities all over the world — major cities — going underwater. We’re talking about increased drought. Talking about increased extreme weather disturbances.” —Sen. Bernie Sanders

Braying jenny: “I think for — particularly for voters of color — there is no conversation of interest to talk about uniting, to be blunt, with the party that has given up not just its moral standing but its soul to … the person who is president of the United States right now.” —MSNBC’s Joy Reid

And last… “Taylor Swift threw a public temper tantrum because a record label wouldn’t let her play her own songs. Wait til she finds out the Democrats she supports aren’t going to let her spend her own money.” —Candace Owens

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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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