“In disquisitions of every kind there are certain primary truths, or first principles, upon which all subsequent reasoning must depend.” —Alexander Hamilton (1788)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- Impeachment Trial Day 6: No Impeachable Offenses
- Did the Demo Deep State Just Get Deeper?
- Gorsuch Rebukes Lower Courts’ Nationwide Injunctions
- Administration Targets Birth Tourism
- Leftists Aim to Bar the Federalist Society
- Economics According to AOC
- The Betrayal of an American Patriot Continues
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
As Democrats and the Leftmedia seek to inflate and conflate the leaked excerpts from John Bolton’s soon-to-be-published book into some kind of smoking gun of an impeachable offense, the actual evidence for what did and did not occur stubbornly refutes that impeachment narrative. This was the crux of the argument made by President Donald Trump’s defense team in its second day before the Senate.
The House Democrats’ argument for convicting Trump is based on a narrative of their own creation. They argue that Trump placed a hold on $400 million in aid to Ukraine to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky into “digging up dirt” or at least announcing an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden. They contend that in so doing Trump abused the power of the presidency for his own personal benefit — thus he was somehow attempting to rig the 2020 election. (Kind of like what Hillary Clinton actually did to Trump in 2016, but we digress.) Their “evidence” for Trump’s corruption is an alleged quid pro quo … that never happened. To put it bluntly, Democrats have impeached Trump over his supposed motives for something that did not happen. Thought crimes.
After the obviously timed Bolton curveball, the Trump defense team responded directly and effectively. “Nothing in the Bolton manuscript would rise to the level of an abuse of power or impeachable offense,” stated Alan Dershowitz. “That is clear from history. That is clear from the language of the Constitution. You cannot turn conduct that is not impeachable into impeachable conduct simply by using words like quid pro quo and personal benefit. It is inconceivable that the Framers would have intended so politically loaded and promiscuously deployed a term as ‘abuse of power’ to be weaponized as a tool of impeachment. It is precisely the kind of vague, open-ended, and suggestive term that the Framers feared and rejected.”
The president’s defense team also disputed the Democrats’ assertion that Trump’s motive for wanting Ukraine to open investigations was not concern over corruption but pure intent to benefit his 2020 campaign. “The president wasn’t ‘caught,’ as the House managers allege. The managers are wrong,” Deputy White House Counsel Mike Purpura stated. “All of this … demonstrates that there was no connection between security assistance and investigation.”
Jay Sekulow, Trump’s personal lawyer, pointedly noted, “Asking a foreign leader to get to the bottom of issues of corruption is not a violation of an oath.” And regarding the questions of corruption surrounding the Bidens, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi highlighted the litany of instances in which numerous individuals both within the mainstream media and even the Obama administration raised red flags. She also observed, “Every witness who was asked about Hunter Biden’s involvement with Burisma agreed there was a potential appearance of conflict.” She further noted, “The House managers talked about 400 times, but they never gave you the full picture. Here are those who did: The United Kingdom Serious Fraud Unit, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, … ‘ABC Good Morning America,’ The Washington Post, The New York Times, Ukrainian law enforcement, and the Obama State Department itself. They all thought there was cause to raise the issue about the Bidens and Burisma.”
Finally, due to the leaked Bolton manuscripts, it now appears more likely that a sufficient number of Senate Republicans will vote to call witnesses. However, this also gives Republicans an opening to call witnesses Democrats vehemently objected to, such as Hunter Biden and the whistleblower. The timed Bolton leak has put Republicans in a tough spot, but Democrats may ultimately regret opening Pandora’s Box.
No fiction writer would plot this, because nobody would believe it, but…
As our editor Thomas Gallatin noted Monday, The New York Times published a leaked report about a soon-to-be-published book by former National Security Advisor John Bolton. The Times alleges that Bolton alleges that President Donald Trump mentioned to him that freezing aid to Ukraine was, in part, motivated by Trump’s interest in having Ukraine’s government investigate corruption suspicions regarding Joe and Hunter Biden.
If true, Bolton’s allegation re-warms the Demos’ “quid pro quo” claim that Trump used his office to threaten withholding aid in order to undermine his 2020 opponent, Joe Biden. That is the centerpiece of the Democrat impeachment case. However, there is nothing illegal or impeachable about a president using his office, and the promise of U.S. aid, to insist a third-world nation clear up longstanding questions of internal corruption — particularly if tied to the actions of a former vice president and his overpaid son.
Recall that Joe Biden bragged on the record about how, in 2015 as VP, he coerced Ukraine to fire a prosecutor — which even The New York Times acknowledged benefited Hunter Biden, who was a target for investigation. As Biden recounted, if Ukrainian officials didn’t “take action against the state prosecutor” (fire him), “I said … ‘We’re not going to give you the billion dollars. … I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars.’ … Well, son of a b—h. He got fired.”
All of that to say, Democrats would have no contrived case against Trump (which is actually what impacts Biden’s 2020 candidacy) if not for a Soviet Union-born U.S. Army officer, Alexander Vindman, on the National Security Council. We believe Vindman provided the transcript of the Trump-Zelensky call to Demo Adam Schiff’s Demo deep-state operative, Eric Ciaramella, the so-called “whistleblower.” Ciaramella’s collusion with Schiff launched the impeachment charges.
A day after the Times’s well-timed “blockbuster” revelation, it is now reported that the twin brother of Alexander Vindman, U.S. Army officer Yevgeny Leonid Vindman, is in charge of National Security Council oversight for reviewing publications by current and former NSC officials — like, say, John Bolton, who submitted the transcript of his book for NSC review in December. The NSC has not responded to requests regarding Yevgeny Vindman’s access to that advance copy, which implies he could be in the pipeline of Demo operatives who informed The New York Times about the Bolton allegations.
Nah, they can’t be that stupid!
In yet another 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court displayed that too many cases are decided by the ideological divide among the justices rather than Rule of Law. Fortunately, it’s not the five who got this one wrong. The originalist wing of the Court granted the Trump administration’s request for a stay against an injunction blocking its policy to deny U.S. entry to any alien who is “likely at any time to become a public charge.” America’s astounding level of generous benefits attracts illegals. Democrats know it, which is why they try so hard to stop the administration’s work to rein in the flow of illegals.
But it was less the merits of the ruling than the importance of comments made by Justice Neil Gorsuch that got our attention. In a blistering five-page concurrence, joined by Clarence Thomas, Gorsuch blasted judges in lower courts who routinely issue nationwide injunctions to obstruct the administration’s agenda. There have been 40 such injunctions during Donald Trump’s first three years in office — twice the number that were issued during Barack Obama’s entire eight years.
“Today the Court (rightly) grants a stay, allowing the government to pursue (for now) its policy everywhere save Illinois,” Gorsuch wrote. “But, in light of all that’s come before, it would be delusional to think that one stay today suffices to remedy the problem. The real problem here is the increasingly common practice of trial courts ordering relief that transcends the cases before them. Whether framed as injunctions of ‘nationwide,’ ‘universal,’ or ‘cosmic’ scope, these orders share the same basic flaw — they direct how the defendant must act toward persons who are not parties to the case.”
He continued, “When a district court orders the government not to enforce a rule against the plaintiffs in the case before it, the court redresses the injury that gives rise to its jurisdiction in the first place. But when a court goes further than that, ordering the government to take (or not take) some action with respect to those who are strangers to the suit, it is hard to see how the court could still be acting in the judicial role of resolving cases and controversies. Injunctions like these thus raise serious questions about the scope of courts’ equitable powers under Article III.”
“It has become increasingly apparent that this Court must, at some point, confront these important objections to this increasingly widespread practice,” Gorsuch argued. “As the brief and furious history of the regulation before us illustrates, the routine issuance of universal injunctions is patently unworkable, sowing chaos for litigants, the government, courts, and all those affected by these conflicting decisions. … By their nature, universal injunctions tend to force judges into making rushed, high-stakes, low-information decisions.”
Gorsuch concluded, “A single loss and the policy goes on ice — possibly for good, or just as possibly for some indeterminate period of time until another court jumps in to grant a stay. And all that can repeat, ad infinitum, until either one side gives up or this Court grants certiorari. What in this gamesmanship and chaos can we be proud of? I concur in the Court’s decision to issue a stay. But I hope, too, that we might at an appropriate juncture take up some of the underlying equitable and constitutional questions raised by the rise of nationwide injunctions.”
President Donald Trump is tackling another aspect of immigration that has become more pronounced in recent decades. Commonly referred to as “birth tourism,” a pregnant foreign woman legally travels to America for the express purpose of giving birth and thereby securing U.S. citizenship for her newborn child. It’s a clear abuse of the 14th Amendment, which says that “all persons born … in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” The amendment was adopted following the War Between the States to ensure that recently emancipated slaves who previously had not been recognized as Americans were legally granted the status of full U.S. citizenship.
Unfortunately, after decades of misinterpretation and misapplication of the 14th Amendment, a precedent has been long established wherein anyone born on U.S. soil is automatically granted citizenship status no matter the legal standing of their parents. Hence the rise of birth tourism.
Seeking to mitigate this growing problem while avoiding constitutional conflict, the State Department recently announced a new rule that applies only to the temporary “B” visas most often granted to tourists. As National Review reports, “The new rule says that birth tourism doesn’t count as traveling for ‘pleasure’ under the relevant statute, and directs consular officers to determine whether birth tourism is the primary purpose of a visit. These officers have been instructed not to ask women if they are pregnant ‘unless you have a specific articulable reason to believe they may be pregnant and planning to give birth in the United States’ — but when there are signs that birth tourism is afoot, the burden will fall on the traveler to prove a different reason for the trip.”
Pregnant women will still be allowed to enter and give birth in U.S. hospitals for medical reasons, but they will need to demonstrate that they can pay for the care.
The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that there are upwards of 33,000 instances of birth tourism annually. While this new visa rule does address one aspect of birth tourism, it has no impact on those entering the U.S. illegally and giving birth. Such abuse of the 14th Amendment has, unfortunately, yet to be addressed.
Never content to let the flow of modern politics take its natural course, leftists have devised a new way to stymy the progress President Donald Trump has made in appointing strict constructionists to the federal bench. Elections matter.
The Committee on Codes of Conduct of the U.S. Judicial Conference recently released a proposal to prohibit judges from belonging to the Federalist Society. The Federalist Society was founded in 1982 by a group of conservatives and libertarians dedicated to preserving the legal order of the nation by promoting, among other things, an originalist view of the Constitution, the separation of powers, and the concept that the role of judges is to say what the law is, not what some enlightened bench occupant thinks it should be. As you might imagine, leftists absolutely loathe this organization.
In Trump’s three years in office, nearly 200 federal judges have been confirmed, a remarkable achievement that may stand as one of the president’s greatest successes. This work has prevented the Left from populating our court system with judges who legislate from the bench and push a tyrannical agenda.
The Conduct Committee, which performs as the ethical advisory board of the federal judiciary, intends to ban judges from joining the Federalist Society or the American Constitution Society. In its draft proposal, the Conduct Committee states: “Official affiliation with either organization could convey to a reasonable person that the affiliated judge endorses the views and particular ideological perspectives advocated by the organization; call into question the affiliated judge’s impartiality on subjects as to which the organization has taken a position; and generally frustrate the public’s trust in the integrity and independence of the judiciary.”
The American Constitution Society (ACS) was created as the leftist answer to the Federalist Society, and it’s included as part of the Conduct Committee’s plan solely as a means of projecting an appearance of fairness. Don’t be fooled.
The ACS is but one of many organizations that lean left and hold sway in America’s judicial system. And it is hardly the most influential. A vast majority, nearly all, of the nation’s law schools are populated with leftist professors who promote a predictably left-of-center view to their students. Leftists also hold political sway over the American Bar Association. ABA routinely writes amicus briefs in court cases, nearly always on the left side of an argument. It also has a government-affairs office that spent $860,000 on lobbying just last year. These are two activities that the Federalist Society as a rule does not engage in. Yet, ABA doesn’t even show up on the Conduct Committee’s radar, and the Federalist Society is squarely in its crosshairs.
The Federalist Society operates in several states and frequently holds meetings to explore and discuss legal issues, frequently soliciting qualified speakers from both sides of an argument. It encourages intellectual honesty and curiosity. It is also the only significant counterbalance to the Left’s attack on Rule of Law. Which, again, is why the Conduct Committee wants the Federalist Society out of the way and is willing to sacrifice ACS in the process.
What does socialism look and sound like in 2020? Just take a look at video or read the remarks made last week by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Entitled. Envious. Resentful. Angry.
The 30-year-old representative from the Bronx spoke in the hypothetical after she declared the wealthy to be the enemy. In her usually superb socialist-pushing form, Ocasio-Cortez proclaimed of a hypothetical billionaire business owner, “You didn’t make those widgets! You sat on a couch while thousands of people were paid modern-day slave wages, and in some cases [were victims of] real modern-day slavery; you made that money off the backs of undocumented people.”
That same theme was sounded by former President Barack Obama — “You didn’t build that” — in his 2012 campaign efforts to explain the need for government’s assistance, even for successful businesses. Yet today’s socialism is economic chic among leftists. They promise “free” stuff to younger generations never taught the value of capitalism. These ignorant masses are now the walking brain-dead devoid of economic and scientific fact. They are socialist believers stubbornly ignorant of Truth.
Ocasio-Cortez and her favorite presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, are purveyors of socialist falsehoods. They tout the benefits of failed economic policy that hates producers. They demand government redistribution of not just some wealth but all of it, as well as the means to create it.
This distorted thinking is captured by the Foundation for Economic Education’s (FEE) March 2019 analysis, “Socialism’s Three-Legged Stool — Envy, Ignorance and Faith.”
Today’s socialism is essentially, I want what you have, and you must be oppressing me since I don’t have what you have. Envy is not the basis of sound economic policy. It’s a toxic emotion that overlooks the contrast of those who’ve made good decisions versus bad; those who’ve sacrificed and saved in contrast to those who have squandered and spent. Envy expresses itself in resentment of those who accomplish and perform with the desire to see failure or at least the confiscation of the end result, such as wealth, from one’s success to be redistributed to all, regardless of effort or merit.
Ignorance is epidemic among those advocating the destruction of capitalism. Young adults know more about safe sex, safe spaces, and sexual orientation than of the proven economic model that has set the United States of America apart and recognized our citizens with the right to control his or her own personal property, wealth, and labor.
Finally, FEE observes, “When belief in religion wanes, faith seeks new vessels of adoration.” The socialists of today’s Democrat Party “swap asceticism aimed at purging their sinful passions for political activism on behalf of those they deem historically oppressed.” Put simply, their faith is a secularism that displaces deity with the politics of division — the deification of government.
It’s not just Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders who hate billionaires or any who are self-reliant, and it’s especially hypocritical that Sanders in particular enjoys vast wealth himself. The greater problem is the growing mass who have been raised to reject the faith, family, and freedom that built America.
When it comes to the Global War on Terror, America has a lot of thinking to do about the lessons we have learned and what the future course should be. The country must also confront the fact that it has left some of those who stepped up to protect this country high and dry.
In particular, we’re talking about Patriots who stepped up to get very committed, high-ranking members of al-Qaida to talk. To do so, they developed enhanced-interrogation techniques that ultimately succeeded against Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, among others. That success proved to be vital. Sadly, those who got KSM and other high-ranking terrorists to talk not only saw their efforts prematurely exposed but also have been dealing with an ongoing betrayal stretching over a decade of persecution by a Gitmo Bar that makes Hanoi Jane look like a piker.
The latest example is James Mitchell, Air Force architect of enhanced interrogation, being dragged into a courtroom last week. The Central Intelligence Agency is not a law-enforcement agency. Its job is to obtain intelligence however it can in order to protect American interests across the globe — not to mention the lives of Americans. Sometimes, those methods are not pleasant.
The fact of the matter is that in the wake of 9/11, America had a huge problem as it tried to not only recover from the first attack but prevent others. How do we make high-ranking, committed jihadists talk? We asked people, including Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, to develop techniques that would get those terrorists to spill their guts. Mitchell and Jessen did so. Those techniques were reviewed on multiple occasions — some were approved, some weren’t — by the Justice Department. Mitchell and Jessen then used the approved techniques.
When the terrorists talked, they divulged information that helped in the fight against al-Qaida. Unfortunately, the interrogation program was leaked to the press, which used it to attack George W. Bush. Then politicians chose to attack it — even when, immediately after 9/11, those same politicians fell all over themselves to back the CIA. The betrayal that started with leaks grew substantially worse in 2009, when Barack Obama tied the hands of the CIA with an executive order. The interrogators faced a Justice Department investigation and persecution from the Gitmo Bar.
Then there was a flawed hit piece of a report that attacked the men who got KSM to talk. Then-Senators Dianne Feinstein and John McCain compounded the betrayal by placing Obama’s hamstringing of the CIA into law. Now, Mitchell is forced to defend himself (which he did very ably), instead of being protected by the country that asked him to take on a difficult and important task vital to the War on Terror.
America should have the backs of the brave men and women on the front lines of the War on Terror instead of allowing them to be stabbed in the back or second-guessed weeks, months, or even years later. We must never forget the lessons of the War on Terror, or they will be reinforced again with tragedy and cost us dearly in blood and treasure.
NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
UNFORTUNATELY, THE PALESTINIANS AREN’T INTERESTED IN PEACE: Trump’s Middle East peace plan expected to offer Palestinians conditional statehood (The Washington Post)
GOP TRAIN WRECK: Doug Collins to challenge Kelly Loeffler for Georgia Senate seat (Washington Examiner)
FOLLOW THE MONEY: House Democrats to vote to override state right-to-work laws, boosting labor movement (Washington Examiner)
A FINE ONE TO TALK: Authoritarian Hillary Clinton slams “authoritarian” and “Trumpian” Zuckerberg over Facebook’s speech stance (National Review)
DEFIANCE: Britain says China’s Huawei won’t be banned from its 5G network (The New York Times)
“WE’VE REACHED AN INFLECTION POINT”: Concerned Veterans for America pushes for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan (National Review)
POLICY: The myth that the U.S. leads the world in mass shootings (Foundation for Economic Education)
POLICY: The Medicaid expansion cheat (Mises Institute)
HUMOR: In major deal, The Babylon Bee purchases competing satire site CNN (The Babylon Bee)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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- Video: The Incredible True Stories From March for Life — Michael Knowles asked ordinary people why they hold dear the sanctity of life.
- Video: Is Gun Ownership a Right? — Yes, says Eugene Volokh, and there’s plenty of evidence to prove it.
- Video: 25,000 Nukes on Hair Trigger and the Miracle of Survival — Bill Whittle on how the Cold War influenced the second half of the 20th century.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Upright: “Effective bias and propaganda isn’t so much about what you say as it is about what you prevent from being heard. Control the flow of information to people and you control people.” —Peter Heck
Narrative buzzkill: “All Mr. Bolton reportedly adds is news of a conversation in which Mr. Trump made a direct connection between the two that nearly everyone already assumed. This still isn’t close to a high crime or misdemeanor.” —The Wall Street Journal
Friendly fire: “Now, I know I’m not the only Jewish candidate running for president. But I am the only one who doesn’t want to turn America into a kibbutz.” —Michael Bloomberg (“While Bloomberg, 77, did not mention [Bernie Sanders], 78, by name, there was no mistaking the reference to the socialist during remarks to potential Jewish Democratic primary voters. Sanders volunteered on an Israeli kibbutz, a communal farm, in the 1960s.” —Washington Examiner)
How? By putting your son on one of their boards? “We can help [the Chinese] with some of their problems.” —Joe Biden
Non compos mentis: “Let’s be clear: Transgender equality is the civil rights issue of our time. There is no room for compromise when it comes to basic human rights.” —Joe Biden
A blast from the past I: “There are many very patriotic Americans who are engaged in the intelligence community. For years, decades now, I have saluted their service. Wherever the decision is, whether it’s from the administration, as was the case in the Bush administration, to withhold information from Congress, I fought that. But you don’t fight it without a price because they come after you. And they don’t always tell the truth about it.” —Nancy Pelosi in 2014
A blast from the past II: “You take on the intelligence community, you’re a person of courage.” —Nancy Pelosi, 2014
Braying jackass: “[Trump’s spokespeople are] like the North Korean army in the Korean War — we should charge without rifles. They don’t even have weapons. They just come out. ‘Take me, take me. I’m willing to say anything for this president.’” —MSNBC’s Chris Matthews
The BIG Lie: “If Senate Republicans are not going to vote to call Mr. Bolton and Mr. Mulvaney and the other witnesses now, if they’re not going to ask for notes and emails, they’re going to be part of the cover-up too.” —Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
Letting the cat out of the bag: “[Impeachment] does have to do with the elections that are coming up later this year.” —Rep. Jason Crow
And last… “It is rather a surprise to learn that we are all going to die from a coronavirus pandemic considering we already died from swine flu, bird flu, SARS, and ebola.” —Matt Walsh
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