President Donald Trump’s opponents are using the same failed tactics to derail the president’s agenda for the crime of winning the 2016 election. On Sunday, The New York Times published leaked details of former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s upcoming book accusing Trump of tying nearly $400 million in military aid to extracting politically motivated investigations into the Biden family.
Never mind that the book leak arrived on the same day that it became available for online pre-ordering, came unsubstantiated, and surfaced from a former White House aide with an axe to grind over his removal. The late leak is reminiscent of previous attempts to sabotage the Trump presidency with unfair operations pushing shady allegations via anonymous sources with no actual evidence paraded as “bombshells” in a compliant media.
The American people have now seen this kind of rollout happen throughout Trump’s time in the Oval Office. It happened with Russia, it happened with Ukraine, it happened with Brett Kavanaugh, and now it’s happening with impeachment.
Earlier this month, Washington Examiner Chief Political Correspondent Byron York predicted the precedent playing out after former Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas took his turn trotting out new accusations of Trump’s alleged wrongdoing in the media.
From now until the trial is over, and perhaps beyond, Republicans expect Democrats to come up with some new something on a regular, if not daily, basis. GOP defenders are beginning to see the next month in the Senate not so much as an impeachment trial but as a replay of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings: a fait accompli that becomes a cliffhanger with new and progressively more spectacular allegations. None of them were true, but they threw Republicans on the defensive and plunged the confirmation into chaos for a while.
For Democrats facing an uphill climb in a Republican-controlled Senate, why not try the same thing at the very highest level, an effort to remove the president?
That new “bombshell” evidence from Parnas proving an apparent quid pro quo between the president and Ukraine? An undated note repeating a claim made by a guy who has been indicted for fraud.
It’s also worth noting that Parnas is the guy who claimed House Intelligence Committee ranking Republican Devin Nunes of California met with Ukraine prosecutor Viktor Shokin in Vienna in December 2018. Nunes, however, proved he was on a congressional trip to Malta and Libya meeting with government officials and has since filed a lawsuit against CNN for defamation after reporting that the meeting ever actually took place. Remember when Michael Cohen went to Prague?
It’s a formula that has become all-too-familiar over the course of Trump’s presidency. While it might seem like ages, it was only less than a year and a half ago that Democrats were playing the same game in an effort to disrupt Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.
As it looked increasingly likely that Kavanaugh was on the path to successful confirmation by the Republican-controlled Senate in fall 2018, Democrats brought forward uncorroborated and even contradicted allegations of sexual assault against the highly respected judge from more than 30 years ago.
Psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford was the first of several women to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, yet offered no proof that the two had even ever met. Ford was also unable to recall exactly where and when the alleged episode happened, and not one of the four alleged witnesses she named to the event supported Ford’s claims.
Three other women notably came forward with stories of sexual misconduct and were propped up as Me Too heroes in the media, including a former government employee name Julie Swetnick represented by Michael Avenatti, who is currently on trial for extortion.
Swetnick claimed Kavanaugh was operating a serial gang rape operation throughout the Maryland suburbs as a teenager. Judy Munro-Leighton later confessed to fabricating a rape story by Kavanaugh to Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris.
Of course, the American public failed to get behind the accusations and demand Kavanaugh’s nomination be revoked. Instead, the delay tactics backfired on Democrats, who paid an electoral price by losing Senate seats in states that were seen as prime pick-up opportunities to flip control of the Senate.
Now Trump’s opponents are repeating the mistakes of the past by delaying the impeachment process as long as they can to tarnish Trump’s reputation.
There is no chance Trump will be removed from office at the conclusion of the Senate impeachment trial. Nancy Pelosi knows it, Chuck Schumer knows it, Mitch McConnell knows it, the White House knows it, and even the media knows it. In a desperate attempt to keep the impeachment process ongoing, and arguably to rig the Democratic primary for former Vice President Joe Biden by keeping rival senators off the campaign trail in the weeks before the Iowa caucuses, Speaker Pelosi went as far as to withhold the impeachment articles from the upper chamber for weeks after they were passed.
Assuming Bolton’s latest around of accusations in his book are true that Trump wanted Ukraine military aid tied to demands for investigations beneficial to U.S. interests, that’s hardly grounds for removal.
To begin, Trump never pressured Ukraine for a “favor” to investigate the Biden family in a bid to disrupt Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. While Democrats with the help of a complicit media have hyped a false narrative that Trump demanded Ukraine interfere in the next U.S. presidential election in a July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, an honest reading of the call’s transcript reveals no such arrangement.
The revelation from the transcript’s release show Trump urging Zelensky to weed out corruption in his own country and investigate Ukraine’s origins in promoting the Russian collusion conspiracy theory that did irreparable harm to the United States. Part of that corruption happens to center on Hunter Biden’s role serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company raking in $50,000 to $80,000 a month, despite no prior experience in the industry, while his father dictated U.S. foreign policy towards Ukraine.
It’s hardly a bad thing to tie foreign assistance to actions that favor U.S. interests, let alone a “high crime and misdemeanor” worthy of an impeachable offense.
The last-minute Bolton book leaks should come at no surprise to Washington observers, and there will likely be more revelations of no substance to emerge this week as “bombshells” paraded in the press either this week or next as the Senate impeachment trial wraps up absent new witnesses.