The 2019 impeachment of President Donald Trump was the culmination of a years-long campaign to accomplish the top item on the Democrats’ policy agenda: the conviction of public enemy No. 1. But four years later, it’s clear Democrats had an ulterior motive.
House Democrats launched the impeachment inquiry immediately after the collapse of the grand conspiracy to frame the president as a Russian agent. After a more than two-year investigation run by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, neither Mueller nor his investigative task force, which was composed of mostly Democrats, found any evidence that the president’s 2016 campaign team, let alone the president himself, colluded with the Kremlin to compromise American elections.
Trump then found himself at the center of another impeachment hoax related to Ukraine, which centered on a transcript of a phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. An anonymous whistleblower tipped off the same corrupt actors who were behind the Russia-collusion hoax to allege the president was leveraging American military aid for deep-state investigations of political opponents. The whistleblower, whose identity was protected by the press and congressional Democrats, was identified as Eric Ciaramella by RealClearInvestigations.
Trump, the story went, withheld $400 million in military assistance to Ukraine in exchange for politically motivated investigations of Hunter Biden. The younger Biden had been leveraging the family name to conduct lucrative overseas ventures, including a stint on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, where he raked in excessive compensation despite no prior experience in the industry.
As soon as the story hit the airwaves, Trump publicly released the transcript in question. But the call showed no “quid pro quo,” the basis on which Democrats launched their impeachment for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” What Americans found instead was Trump demanding that the foreign leader of one of the world’s most notoriously corrupt countries rid the government of corruption and investigate Ukraine’s peddling of the Russia hoax that did irreparable harm to the United States.
But the dreamed-up “quid pro quo” was an impeachable abuse of power, according to Democrats who spent the weeks and months that preceded the coronavirus pandemic keeping Washington distracted with a show-trial impeachment. Recent revelations related to President Joe Biden’s foreign influence-peddling offer clues into why the Democrats were so quick to manufacture an impeachment scandal instead of bringing up the topic with Trump’s Ukrainian counterpart. Two years ago, Federalist editor Mark Hemingway outlined how the entire first impeachment was an operation to get ahead of the bombshell allegations that have come to plague the new president’s first term. The Biden family’s influence peddling just simply couldn’t have been investigated.
“If impeachment failed to tarnish Trump as much as Democrats hoped, it appeared successful in delegitimizing valid questions about alleged Biden corruption,” Hemingway wrote. “After impeachment, the mainstream media showed almost no interest in investigating Biden family business ties, which were largely characterized as a series of unsubstantiated and debunked allegations.”
In other words, the 2019 impeachment saga was more about protecting Biden than indicting Trump.
Fast-forward to last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, made public the bombshell FD-1023 FBI document, escalating Republican calls for a Biden impeachment. The document suggests President Biden engaged in a $10 million bribery scheme with an executive from the Ukrainian energy firm where Hunter Biden sat on the board, a legitimate “quid pro quo” that warrants investigating. Findings from the document, which was clawed into public view from the FBI, hint that the FD-1023 is just the tip of the iceberg.
A pair of whistleblowers from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also detailed widespread interference in their criminal probe of Hunter Biden for lawmakers on Capitol Hill last week. Veteran agents Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler came forward publicly to reveal how the Biden administration hampered their investigation into the Biden family, which resulted in them recommending multiple felonies.
In June, Hunter Biden accepted a plea deal with Delaware prosecutors limited to two misdemeanor tax crimes and a single felony charge over illegal firearm possession. The latter would be forgiven after 24 months of sobriety, an agreement that would be in jeopardy if the mysterious White House cocaine were linked to the first family’s son, who wrote a book on his struggle with drug addiction. Serious felony charges, whistleblowers said, were left off the table in violation of DOJ policy. Whistleblowers also said the FBI kept the FD-1023 from federal tax investigators despite the document’s referral to the Delaware attorney’s office from former Attorney General Bill Barr.
“I still think that a special counsel is necessary for this investigation,” Ziegler said last week.
At this point, the credible bribery allegations also warrant a congressional impeachment inquiry.