Fulcher misrepresents impeachment issues

I found last week’s guest editorial by U.S.

MSNBC ohoto

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.

Impeachment

I hope people understand that Democrats didn’t want to impeach President Trump.
Sure, some did. A half-dozen progressive organizations are sending out emails saying, “We did it! Donate here.”
But Democrats have walked away from many chances to impeach the president.
They don’t see Mike Pence as an improvement. This isn’t a parliamentary system where we vote again. Impeachment won’t stop Senators from churning out judicial appointments, border agents from caging children, or Russians from playing havoc with computers of Federal and state agencies.
House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi has kept the Democratic House focused on legislation that makes Democratic values clear. Now over 50 House bills await action in the Senate–bills to lower prescription drug costs and protect Americans with preexisting conditions, to fight government corruption and protect the right to vote; to fight global warming and protect our water and natural resources; and to save net neutrality, stop violence against women, and end our involvement in Saudi attacks on Yemen.
Every Democratic House member facing a 2020 campaign has a voting record showing  they’ve worked to preserve and extend values Americans agrees upon.
One up-and-down vote on Trump himself will overshadow all that.
Now that the President has created a crisis and Pelosi has opened a query about impeachment, Democrats are worrying about the President resorting to war to increase his popularity and Republican politicians are sending out polls to beef up their donor lists.
Even the President’s staunchest supporters should understand that his recent actions scream for impeachment.
The Mueller investigation made it clear that foreign intervention in a U.S. election was very, very bad, but not an impeachable offense unless it could be proven that the President had taken part in it–and 272 contacts between Trump campaign staffers and Russians wasn’t absolute proof.
Yet, President Trump claims he didn’t know that asking the newly elected leader of Ukraine to do opposition research for him would cause a problem.
And that’s the politic way of describing it.
First, the President held up $391 million in military aid to the Ukraine. Then, when Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, asked about the funds, with plenty of government officials listening, Trump said he had a favor to ask.
Even though the Ukraine had already investigated and found no foul play in Joe Biden’s urging for the firing of prosecutor Viktor Shokin in 2015, if Zelenskiy really wanted his weapons, he could certainly find some proof–as a favor for his new friend Donald Trump.
And, no, having spent lots of money at a Trump hotel would not suffice.
Trump continued to sit on the aid funds for another two months–and released them only after the New York Times reported details of the July 25 phone call.
I don’t know which explanation is harder to believe–that the President doesn’t yet understand that asking for a foreign government to help with his re-election campaign is a crime or that he wanted to force impeachment actions.
Frank Bruni, a Democratic columnist for the New York Times, writes, “President Trump deserves to be impeached. But the prospect terrifies me, and it should terrify you, too.”
“A dangerously polarized and often viciously partisan country [will] grow more so.” Impeachment will crowd out the issues that need attention like infrastructure, health care fixes, and education.
And the worst case scenario?  “Trump paints himself a martyr, eludes conviction in the Senate, frames that as exoneration and watches his fans mobilize and turn out as never before.”
Democrats faced a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation and chose to uphold our laws.

Note this editorial by Judy Ferro published by Idaho Press – 2019