I found last week’s guest editorial by U.S.
Rep. Russ Fulcher about the impeachment of President Trump disturbing.
It sounded reasonable and knowledgeable.
Yet, a reader would hardly know that the central question is whether President Trump made gaining political advantage in the 2020 elections a higher priority than extending moral and financial support to a nation that serves as a buffer between Europe and the territorial ambitions of Russia.
Fulcher dismissed the President’s hold on $391 million in military aid to Ukraine. “It is also important to note that aid was in fact delivered to Ukraine, who gave nothing in return.”
Yes, the aid was released six days after a Washington Post editorial implied that Trump was holding up aid to Ukraine for his own political advantage and two days after members of Congress learned of the whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s “request” for dirt on the Bidens.
Trump stopped once people knew what he was doing.
Had Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky felt threatened?
Zelensky scheduled a Sept. 13 interview with CNN, presumably to announce the investigation President Trump was demanding. He canceled it when the aid was released Sept. 11.
Fulcher also wrote, “Witnesses were pre-interviewed and selected solely by democrats. Nearly all of them were not involved with the phone call between Presidents Trump and Zelensky in July of 2019.”
The House’s job was to determine whether there is enough evidence to warrant a trial in the Senate. In every court such investigations are not required to hear the defense.
The U.S. House, however, did ask President Trump to testify. Others who refused invitations included Mick Mulvaney, chair of the Office of Budget and Management; John Bolton, former chair of the National Security Council; and and Bolton’s former deputy Charles Kupperman.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman of the National Security Council was included in the July 25 phone call. He testified that he believed the President had committed a crime and talked with the NSC lawyer and was told to keep quiet. The call transcript was then treated as classified information. A summary written by the White House was released instead.
The House hearings, moreover, revealed that U.S. officials had been urging Ukrainians to announce an investigation of the Bidens and Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 U.S. election for six weeks prior to that phone call.
Fulcher uses careful editing to imply that most of the witnesses “selected solely by democrats” said the President did no wrong. Some said they would not call the President’s actions bribery; others were responding only about the President’s actions during the July 25 phone call.
Fulcher quotes European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland as saying President Trump told him, “I want no quid pro quo.”
Sondland’s full testimony, however, makes clear that there not only was a quid pro quo, but that he–along with Energy Secretary Perry, Special Envoy Kurt Volker, and Rudy Giuliani–repeatedly urged Ukrainian officials to go along with the President’s request.
Originally, Sondland thought the President was only withholding a “working phone call” and an invitation to the White House. When he learned in mid-July that the military aid was blocked, he asked why. He received “no satisfactory answer” but continued pressuring Ukraine to give Trump the investigation he wanted in hopes that would lead to the funds’ release.
Fulcher’s propaganda piece is an insult to the intelligence of every Idaho voter.
It sets him up as an authority figure dealing with a public too lazy or too dumb to comprehend the issues.