There were two especially notable testimonys made during the recent House impeachment inquiry that should have been ‘nothing to see here folks, let’s move on’ except that The Grand Poo-bah of the Intel Committee Chair Adam Schiff, haughty in his own insecurity and full of his usual self-regard, bugging his eyes in anticipation, continues to act as if he is living in a reality where facts and evidence are non existent.
In a series of mental meanderings, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s statement that two career diplomats had provided “corroborated evidence of bribery” was little more than off-hand ramblings with no evidence of exactly what was corroborated.
Upon questioning, Pelosi defined ‘bribery’ as the President’s alleged withholding of military aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into the Biden’s financial bonanza.
In contrast to Pelosi’s allegation, neither of the career diplomats aforementioned presented any “corroborated evidence of bribery” nor has any testimony confirmed that bribery occurred.
As Lord High Justice of the Misguided Society of Wild Goose Chases, the myopic Schiff Show moves on this week to the House Judiciary Committee with more disgruntled witnesses on Wednesday who have, as of the 2016 election, lost any objectivity or claim to legal scholarship.
In a recent WSJ op ed, GW University law professor Jonathon Turley referred to the impeachment inquiry as the “shortest investigation producing the thinnest record of wrongdoing for the narrowest impeachment in history.”
On the first day of the Intel Committee hearings, Rep. Jim Jordan questioned ‘star’ witness former Ambassador Bill Taylor who was expected to drop a “bombshell.”
Instead, channeling his best Clarence Darrow, Jordan caught Taylor in the admission that after Ukraine aid was held up until September 11, Taylor had three meetings with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky (July 26, August 27 and September 5); during which, Taylor agreed, that the subject of US financial assistance as a Quid Pro Quo for a Ukraine investigation into the Bidens or Burisma was never discussed.
Up against the wall with no place to go, Taylor identified former US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland as the source of his ‘clear’ understanding which turned out to be third or fourth hand hearsay and would be inadmissible in court.
Two days later, Jordan took his turn with another ‘star’ witness when Sondland testified that, contrary to his earlier statement that the White House required a QPQ with a public statement from Zelinsky for an investigation to occur, Sondland confessed there was no such agreement or public announcement by Zelensky.
As the only witness who had direct personal contact with President Trump on the subject of Ukrainegate, Jordan related Sondland’s earlier statement to Republican staff counsel that:
The President never told you that the announcement had to happen to get anything”
…and then Sondland’s personal verbatim conversation with Trump:
Sondland: What do you want from Ukraine, Mr. President.
Trump: I want nothing, I want no QPQ. I want Zelensky to do the right thing. I want him to do what he ran on.
When Jordan asked why his conversation with the President of the United States had not been included in Sondland’s prepared 23 page statement, Sondland replied
“it wasn’t purposeful, trust me.” By then, Sondland looked ready for a cold brewski.
As the entire witness script played out during the last two weeks before the Intel Committee, one common theme of almost all the witnesses was that they are (or were) long-standing (albeit unelected) veteran State Department bureaucrats.
Given their decades of experience and seniority, it became clear during their testimony that they are convinced of their own infallibility as better informed with a divine right to make foreign policy decisions more than a duly elected President of the US; especially Donald Trump.
How exactly do unelected, uninspiring State Department bureaucrats (or any Federal bureaucrats) become so deeply entrenched and so powerful to assume that their view on foreign policy is beyond reproach and matters more than a hill of beans? Therein lies a Separation of Powers conundrum of historic proportions for our teetering constitutional democracy to address.
James Madison had a considerable amount of concern about the potential for abuse of the Separation clause as articulated in five essays he contributed to The Federalist Papers (#47, #48, #49, #50, #51).
As the Intel Committee’s Democratic majority has not yet publicly released its report on the impeachment inquiry, the Republican minority staff report was released on Monday.
As the Inquiry moves to the Judiciary Committee, it will be essential to identify the specific Constitutional grounds for impeachment as set forth by the Grand Poo Bah.