In their pre-hearing coverage of yesterday’s impeachment testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, the CNN pundit panel that contained no pro-Trump voices made some predictions. Again and again we were told, as we have been for weeks, that we should expect Democrats to argue the facts and Republicans to argue against the process, presumably because they cannot argue the facts.
Over the next several hours in statements and under questioning, GOP counsel Stephen Castor talked about almost every aspect of the factual record of impeachment. In fact, he addressed a much wider set of facts than the cherry-picked ones addressed by his Democrat counterpart, Daniel Goldman.
Castor addressed the July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, myriad meetings, and the reasons aid to Ukraine may have been delayed and why it may have been eventually released. He addressed claims made by various officials who testified. So, clearly after this exhaustive discussion of the facts from the Republican side, the CNN panel after it (which did have one Trump supporter) would have to admit that this occurred, that contra their predictions the facts were extensively dealt with.
Of course, that did not happen. Commentator Gloria Borger, who has been repeating this absurdity for weeks, was joined by several others who just flat-out lied about the facts being dealt with. This is a persistent myth going back at least to October, when The Atlantic ran an article titled “Why Republicans Are Complaining About the Impeachment Process” which argued, “There’s a reason Republicans have been making a great fuss about the process of the impeachment inquiry over the past few days. Unwilling, or more likely unable, to mount any substantive defenses of President Donald Trump’s behavior with regard to Ukraine, members have instead assailed the way Democrats are conducting the inquiry.”
It wasn’t true then and it most certainly is not true now. If it were true, there would have been at least one instance from yesterday’s hearing in which Castor refused to engage on a factual question asked by a Democrat. That never, ever happened. Yet this talking point, which is a huge bag of nonsense, persists.
Have Republicans argued against the impeachment process as well as the facts? You bet they have. This sham inquiry has at various times denied the White House participation, denied potential witnesses administration attorneys, denied House Republicans the right to call their own witnesses, and held secret depositions that Democrats selectively leaked.
But the suggestion that these are the only arguments Republicans are making, which might at one point have been an honest mistake, is now a blatant and outright lie.
Meanwhile, here some facts that Democrats refuse to discuss or bring witnesses in to testify to. Why did a Ukrainian gas company under investigation hire an unqualified Hunter Biden? Why didn’t then Vice President Joe Biden recuse himself on Ukraine when his office found out about this potential conflict of interest? Why were Ukrainian officials writing opinion articles in newspapers against Donald Trump? If this is the party of facts, don’t we need to talk about these facts?
“Republicans won’t talk about the facts” is a talking point that needs to die a swift death. It was William F. Buckley who said, “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” That’s exactly what is going on here. Republicans have been talking about the facts all along. Democrats and their allies just don’t like where those facts have been leading.
That is because the facts lead to the conclusion that Trump was acting within his legitimate authority regarding every allegation made against him. It was legitimate to ask for European allies to give more aid to Ukraine, it was legitimate to ask for investigations into corruption (even if it happens to hurt Joe Biden), and it was legitimate to delay the military aid, something experts testified is a common occurrence.
The entire Democratic demand for impeachment has now boiled down to a myopic and un-provable assertion that Trump’s sole interest in Ukraine was digging up dirt on Joe Biden. In order to make this assertion, they must ignore an entire universe of facts and conditions that prove their theory laughable. Republicans know this, and while they have reasonable arguments against the impeachment process as well, their main focus remains that the facts do not show what the Democrats want them to, no matter how many times liberal TV pundits say they do.