In recent testimony during his confirmation hearing, the nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Russia said, “Soliciting investigations into a domestic political opponent — I don’t think that would be in accord with our values.”
Never? Let’s do a quick thought experiment. Remember when Donald Trump said he could shoot somebody on 5th Avenue and still maintain his support? Suppose a candidate for office did shoot somebody and the only witness was a Russian national who then hopped a plane back to Moscow.
Now suppose that the only way to prosecute this candidate would be for his political rival (the incumbent president) to request cooperation from Russia to extradite this material witness back to the United States to participate in a trial. Should he do it?
Partisanship Is the Deciding Factor
Obviously, in today’s climate, the answer depends on one critical fact: Whose side is the candidate on? If the candidate aligns with the left, then investigating a political opponent would be totally beyond the norms established by our cherished traditions. But if the candidate opposes the left, then the deep state will step in “to protect the country from that menace.”
You see, it’s perfectly fine for Hillary Clinton to use her campaign funds to hire foreign national Christopher Steele to investigate Trump using (probably made-up) Russian sources. And there’s nothing wrong with the FBI using those partisan Steele smears to investigate the Obama administration’s political opponent.
Crossfire Hurricane, the official operational title for the investigation, employed assistance from the British government and an Australian diplomat. So the left believes there’s nothing wrong with asking a foreign government for help to investigate a domestic political opponent — so long as that opponent is Trump. After all, “Nobody is above the law, not even Donald Trump.” But if the shoe ends up on the other foot and Trump is the one investigating, it’s a constitutional crisis!
If you listen for more than a few minutes, you realize what’s really going on here is that Trump failed to prostrate himself before the “dedicated career professionals” who possess the “experience and expertise” that Trump supposedly lacks in foreign policy. Read your Constitution. Article II vests the power of foreign policy in the elected president. These “dedicated career professionals” aren’t even mentioned in the Constitution.
Maybe the framers made a drafting error in the Constitution? Or maybe we shouldn’t have a national impeachment circus over the hurt feelings of bureaucrats.
Unelected Bureaucrats’ Opinion Is Irrelevant
Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, another National Security Council staffer, has expressed “alarm” that the president might ask a foreign country for help in a criminal investigation. Who cares what Vindman thinks?
So he was “extremely disturbed” by the phone call with the president of Ukraine? Vindman doesn’t want Trump investigating Biden. If Biden were to shoot somebody on 5th Avenue, it seems Vindman would demand justice and swift punishment for anyone who dared to investigate the shooting. If a tree falls in a forest, it makes no sound if the president can’t investigate.
Who cares what Eric Ciaramella thinks? Paul Sperry recently outed the original Ukraine leaker (“whistleblower”), a hero of the resistance, who (I’m shocked to learn) is “a registered Democrat held over from the Obama White House. Further, he previously worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan.”
Wait, the whistleblower is a John Brennan acolyte? Is this the same John Brennan who may be prosecuted for falsely certifying the constitutional compliance of U.S. surveillance? John Brennan who sought to include the discredited Steele dossier in the National Intelligence Assessment? John Brennan who lied to Congress? John Brennan who created a serious constitutional crisis by spying on the Senate to evade oversight?
Clearly, Brennan desperately needs a distraction to prevent Americans from reading the forthcoming inspector general report on FISA abuse. This “scandal” certainly appears made to that order.
Who cares what Marie Yovanovitch thinks? She’s the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who, some believe, used her position to spy on conservative journalists and pundits. Her removal as ambassador was “a political hit job,” which means her politics did not align with the elected president’s politics. Uh, that’s how it works. Elections have consequences, and presidents get to pick their foreign policy team to match their foreign policy goals.
Who cares what the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon D. Sondland, thinks? He was “very disappointed by the president’s direction that we involve Mr. Giuliani,” adding that the men and women of the State Department “should take responsibility for all aspects of U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine.”
Except nobody in the State Department stood for election, and that attitude is likely the exact reason the president wanted somebody he could trust to ensure his foreign policy is actually implemented. Sondland proved these fears true by publicly bashing the president’s approach to foreign policy instead of following the Constitution and deferring to the president’s authority to set that policy.
Who cares what U.S. diplomat William Taylor thinks? His opening statement to the Rep. Adam Schiff-led secret impeachment hearings was selectively leaked to reveal an “irregular, informal channel of U.S. policy-making with respect to Ukraine,” that operated “mostly outside of official State Department channels.” That probably hurt Taylor’s feelings, but who cares?
Taylor was also shocked that somebody in the Trump administration held up military aid. There are several legitimate diplomatic reasons to hold up the aid. Who cares if Taylor disagrees with the decision? Again, if one of those reasons involved ensuring cooperation with an American DOJ-led investigation into the Biden family, who is Taylor to obstruct that? I thought nobody was above the law — not even a vice president.
Impeachment Isn’t About Protecting the Constitution
On the same day Democrats voted to retroactively endorse the impeachment inquiry, Tim Morrison, a National Security Council official (who listened to the actual phone call), testified, “I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed.”
As Sean Davis noted, “Morrison also pointed out key factual inaccuracies in testimony provided by William Taylor, a State Department official who works in the U.S. embassy in Kiev, Ukraine. Morrison said that, contrary to Taylor’s claims, Morrison never met with the Ukrainian National Security adviser in his private hotel room.” Taylor’s challenges with the facts follow the factual inaccuracies of the original whistleblower and the false claims of his sponsor and coach, Schiff.
While the hurt feelings engendering the bureaucratic outrage are real, the supporting facts have tended not to matter as much to the get-Trump conspirators. The entire impeachment exercise is a demonstration that Washington doesn’t want to take orders from the voters. These privileged bureaucrats are so high on their self-righteousness that they actually think they’re protecting the Constitution by obstructing the foreign policy of the elected president.
If they don’t like Pax-Orangeman, they can resign. There’s plenty of money in book deals and CNN contributor fees to piously exhibit their highest loyalties: their egos.