Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is attempting to finesse the truth about President Donald Trump and Ukraine as he presents the Democrats’ case in the Senate impeachment trial.
In a speech that had the media swooning, Schiff accused Trump of trying to “cheat” in the 2020 election by making aid to Ukraine conditional on an investigation into Joe Biden, but no direct evidence has emerged that Trump tied the two together, Breitbart’s Joel Pollak asserts.
Schiff’s impeachment talking points
Schiff is leading the Democrats’ crusade against President Trump after playing a major role in the House phase of the inquiry. In the first day of opening arguments Wednesday, Schiff laid out his party’s key talking points — “cheat,” “cover-up,” and “national security” — in a bizarre narrative that borrowed heavily from the Russia hoax.
The Democrat claimed that Trump made a White House meeting and military aid to Ukraine contingent on the country opening investigations into the Bidens and alleged election interference in favor of Hillary Clinton. But Pollak argues that there is no direct evidence that any such arrangement was made, or that Ukraine felt any pressure from Trump.
Even the most direct testimony to date, from Gordon Sondland, Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, is inconclusive. Although Sondland initially said there was a “quid pro quo” regarding the desired investigations, he later clarified that he had no direct knowledge of any such arrangement and that Trump said he wanted “nothing” from Ukraine.
This is not the first lie Schiff has told throughout the impeachment proceedings. The Democrat has been criticized for inventing his own version of President Trump’s July 2019 phone call with Ukraine, for lying about his staff’s contacts with the Ukraine whistleblower, and for obtaining and publishing the phone logs of a Republican colleague, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).
Schiff again appeared to play fast and loose with the truth in a letter to Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) last week summarizing documents from Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-born associate of Rudy Giuliani.
The California congressman reportedly incorrectly cited a text referring to “mr Z” that Parnas sent to Giuliani as proof that the two were conspiring to pressure President Zelensky of Ukraine, when in fact Parnas was referring to Mykola Zlochevsky, founder of Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings, according to The Hill.
Criminalizing policy disputes
But there are also larger issues in play — namely, that if the case against Trump is really “overwhelming,” as Democrats insist, there would be no need to call additional witnesses. Democrats have cried “cover-up” as Republicans seek to limit the scope of the trial.
Moreover, the substance of Trump’s “crime” has been difficult to separate from nebulous policy complaints that Trump was not being sufficiently aggressive towards Russia. The Democrats have not named the crime Trump supposedly committed, but instead, they have tried to criminalize a policy dispute, Trump’s lawyers have argued.
There were hints of that Wednesday as Schiff, without much explanation, accused Trump of undermining America’s “national security” by temporarily withholding military aid to a distant nation that is faintly relevant to America’s national interest. The Democrat, clearly forgetting what year it was, began to fantasize about an invasion of the United States by Russia and said that aid to Ukraine was necessary “so that we can fight Russia over there, and we don’t have to fight Russia here.”
Rather confusingly, Schiff also cited disproven Russia collusion claims long after Robert Mueller discounted them, and he did so in spite of the fact that Trump is being impeached over matters involving Ukraine, not Russia.
Can Adam Schiff or anyone on his team explain, in plain English, why this president needed to be impeached, let alone removed from office?