For months, Donald Trump taunted Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats by daring them to impeach him. When the day came that Pelosi decided to open an Inquiry into his conduct, Trump was surprised and caught entirely flatfooted in his response. His surprise was somewhat surprising itself, because Trump is inevitably his own worst enemy and brings most of his bad press on himself. In this case, if he wanted to start an impeachment inquiry into himself, he certainly took the steps necessary to do just that.
Step 1: Announce in a nationally broadcast interview for all to see and hear that, if offered political dirt (“oppo research”) on an opponent by a foreign entity (ILLEGAL), you would certainly take it, and “maybe” tell the FBI after you reviewed it.
Step 2: On a phone call, solicit help from a foreign leader to dig up political dirt on a potential political opponent in your 2020 reelection campaign. It is a CRIME for foreigners to involve themselves in a U.S. election – as well as to request such involvement from them.
Step 3: Add emphasis to your request by holding up Congressionally budgeted and authorized foreign aid until that leader “plays ball” with your requested help. Congress has the exclusive power to appropriate taxpayer funds per the Constitution. Holding up (or redirecting) such funding, as well as hiding that fact from Congress, is Constitutionally ILLEGAL. Trading that funding as an inducement for that leader to commit an illegal action is somewhere between Extortion and/or Bribery – a CRIME.
Step 4: Hide the evidence of your criminal conversation with that foreign leader. Hiding or destroying evidence of criminal conduct is a CRIME of cover-up. Misclassifying the security level of the transcript of your phone call in order to further hide evidence is a CRIME.
Step 5: When a whistleblower reports your criminal activity through established and protected legal channels, threaten to a) disclose his/her identity, and b) retaliate &/or arrest &/or execute that person. Threatening a whistleblower with exposure and/or retaliation is a CRIME.
Step 6: Threaten those persons who gave information to the whistleblower with similar retaliation / arrest / execution for being “spies.” Attempting to influence testimony, tamper with or block witnesses from testifying freely and honestly in court or to Congress is a CRIME.
Step 7: Assert “executive privilege” to keep administration personnel from revealing actions, or conversations, about illegal activity. Similar to the restriction on attorney-client privilege, if the conversation is in regard to the commission of a crime, the right to executive privilege is VOID.
Step 8: Accuse the whistleblower of being a “partisan hack” driven by political motives, and basing his/her accusation on “2nd-hand knowledge”(i.e. hearsay). Then release your own “Notes” from the phone conversation that corroborates the whistleblower’s accusations nearly 100%. If the accusation is proven true, it does not matter what the whistleblower’s motivation was or what was the source of the allegation. The only relevant issue is that you admitted to being GUILTY as accused.
Step 9: Extend a web of conspiracy to achieve this political “dirt digging” objective by referring the foreign leader to various personnel within the U.S. State Department as well as the U.S. Attorney General for follow-up. Government employees are prohibited from doing political campaign work on business time; to do so is a CRIME. Assisting anyone in the commission of a crime is also a CRIME.
Step 10: Send your unpaid “personal attorney,” who is not a government employee and was supposedly hired to defend you against the Mueller investigation, overseas to work out with relevant people the details of the foreign political interference. Non-governmental, private citizens who purport to be acting for the government and seek to conduct foreign policy affairs with other countries are committing a CRIME.
Beyond the above CRIMINAL steps, not all bad decisions are a crime. Sometimes those bad decisions are just plain stupid.
Stupid 1: For three months, wage a reasonably successful media campaign to convince your base voters that the Mueller Report (erroneously) “exonerated” you from colluding with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. Then do a national television interview and say you would absolutely accept opposition research from a foreign power even though it would be ILLEGAL – such illegality supposedly made clear to you at the time. (See Step1 above.)
Stupid 2: Two months later, actually solicit such dirt from a different foreign leader, and then confirm that in your phone call Notes. This essentially said to American voters that, “I got away with it once. Why not do it again?” This arrogance made the allegation of 2016 cooperation with the Russians all the more plausible – if not likely.
Stupid 3: Continue to deny that Russia took actions to help with your 2016 election. The entire American intelligence community – along with several foreign intelligence agencies – as well as the Senate Intelligence Committee have all agreed that Russia did so. Your continued rejection of their conclusions, and (mis-)using the Attorney General of the United States to discredit all of these agencies, only confirms voters’ doubts about your intentions and your inexplicable continued fealty to Vladimir Putin. However it happened, you won the 2016 election. Declare victory once and for all and move on. Trying to rerun the 2016 election is likely to defeat you in the 2020 election.
It is truly sad, even if somewhat inevitable, that the last three years have brought us to this place. This impeachment inquiry is not just a matter of Donald Trump. There are many other casualties that are, and will be, caught up and hurt in this event. One is American democracy and our shared citizenship. Another are the various civil servants across the government who have been, or will be, dragged into this. Some will be innocent of motivation, simply trying to do their jobs as they know it, with their reputation shattered nonetheless. They deserve our compassion. Others will be active perpetrators, blinded by ambition for power and fame, their reputations deservedly shattered.
The biggest loser is Ukraine and Europe. For around 70 years, America has been the backbone of European peace and security – to our great benefit – by its NATO commitment to aid others if they are attacked. That commitment was extended to Ukraine on a bipartisan basis in 2014 when it was attacked by Russia. It is a “hot war” that Ukraine continues to fight to this day for its very existence. By his series of actions, Trump has pulled the rug out from under Ukraine in favor of satisfying Vladimir Putin. That alarming message to Ukraine and Europe – that America no longer has your back and can no longer be counted upon – will take years to correct. That is the biggest loss of all.
Taking all of the above together, this is why the Impeachment Inquiry is underway. Mr. Trump, you asked for this. You created the means for this. You got what you wished for. Now what?
© 2019 Randy Bell https://ThoughtsFromTheMountain.blogspot.com