We’re now able to read both the “whistleblower” report behind the latest case of the vapors among congressional Democrats, and the presidential phone call on which it is largely based.
Everyone should read both, because they will figure large in political conversations over the next few weeks.
The former is a fascinating document. Prepared by a CIA officer detailed to the White House, it is a crazy quilt of innuendo, salacious gossip, intelligence community tittle-tattle and snitching, with the odd sprinkling of published fact. Most of its points involve phrases like “officials informed me,” or “I was told that,” or “it was publicly reported that…” It opens with three disavowals of direct, personal knowledge in the first three paragraphs. But it does use the magic words and phrases on which the appropriate congressional committees can hang more “investigations.” Almost as those it was prepared for that end, rather than to draw people’s attention to real wrongdoing.
Central to the report is a July telephone conversation between President Trump and Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the newly-elected president of Ukraine. Neither is a professional politician; one is a businessman, the other, a comedian who sometimes played politicians on TV, so their conversation was not tightly scripted, nor particularly circumspect. This makes its unredacted release, and the hue-and-cry that made the release necessary, unfortunate. Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron will not be amused.
Hurt feelings among allies are the least of the problems in the Democrats’ train-wreck obsession with reversing the results of the 2016 presidential election — an obsession controlling them since Nov. 9 of that year.
More significant are questions about information, viewpoints, contingencies and other products of conversation between political leaders. What other president or prime minister is going to want to speak on the phone with an American president in future, knowing that their private comments might become public as the result of political pique on part of the opposition?
It is for this and other equally valid reasons that presidential communications, both internal and with foreign leaders, have generally been off-limits to Congress since Thomas Jefferson was president. No matter. Congressional Democrats now want to tear down this separation of Executive and Congressional powers, and damn the consequences. Because, Trump!
The current kerfuffle also serves to deepen people’s cynicism toward their political leaders. Consider that Democrats are itching to impeach a president for little more than telling a foreign leader that prosecuting the son of a former high-ranking government official would be okay, while ignoring what that same high ranking official said himself, about a different leader of the same state in a 2018 speech: “I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a b-tch. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”
By “solid,” I suppose he meant someone not stupid enough to think the rule of law applied to Vice President Joe Biden’s kid. Why is the first considered “Mafia Don language,” while the second doesn’t even warrant mention? Because, of course, Trump.
Finally, there is the question of attitudes toward the organs of government and the bureaucracy. There has been much hand-wringing among the Progressive political class about the cumulative effects of presidential criticism of, in particular, the intelligence community.
This ignores the actions of the community itself, from the likes of the smirking Peter Strzok and his paramour Lisa Page to former CIA Director James Clapper, to the current “whistleblower,” a CIA officer at the White House.
To a person they loathe the president, in the “whistleblower’s” case this was expressed to the intelligence community’s IG, which is why the Director of National Intelligence had reservations about the “whistleblower” to begin with: in context this appeared to be just another in a long line of mischaracterizations and outright lies about the president’s actions, promulgated by a partisan hack for political advantage.
Because this is what hackery does: given enough of it, anything one says becomes questionable, even when true. Adam Schiff probably ought to consider that carefully before he fibs about Trump again.
There is also the overall effect of this nonsense, In time people may decide that the Federal government isn’t worth saving, because it ignores the people’s business. It’s just the political equivalent of small children whining because they didn’t win a game.
When that day comes, and it will, thank a Democrat for the country’s collapse.