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.

Politics: Republican primaries

by Judy Ferro

Gotta love Idaho politics. Primaries are behind us, and now Republican factions are arguing over who won.

Butch Otter can claim victory because he actually won the Republican nomination for governor.

But Russ Fulcher is also claiming victory for his anti-Obamacare, anti-Feds, anti-public schools faction.   Getting 46% of the vote against an incumbent in a state-wide race proves that they are gaining strength. Why, he even won in Ada and Canyon counties.

A look at other races, however, leave that claim in doubt. To start with, the Fulcher-faction didn’t win a legislative race against an incumbent in either Ada or Canyon. Statewide, six Republican legislators were defeated, three losing to challengers on the right and three to challengers from the center.

So Democrats look at Fulcher’s near-victory and suspect there is a growing anybody-but-Butch sentiment in the counties where Otter is most at home. This is a governor, after all, who has given us one expensive scandal after another—the broadband contract the Feds believe is illegal, the fraud and ill-run prisons with Corrections Corporation of America, the favorable tax rates reserved for cronies, and the wrongful termination lawsuit in the Transportation Department among others.

This could mean victory in November for Democrat A.J. Balukoff. A.J. has a stronger business history. He started out a pauper and made big bucks without marrying anyone’s daughter. Moreover, he’s served 14 years on the Boise School Board and opposed the Luna Laws. And it shouldn’t hurt that he graduated from BYU-Idaho.   He hasn’t won—or entered—any tight jeans contests and he won’t have that R by his name, but he would make the better Governor.

Unfortunately, the Fulcher-faction did win one statewide race—Lawerence Denney got 36% of the vote to win the four-way race for Republican nominee for Secretary of State. Remember Denney? As majority leader, he kicked out committee chairs who dared to oppose him on anything. He also used donations from fellow Republican legislators to fund their ultra-right opponents. And wasn’t he a major force behind the closed Republican primary?

So the question is did Denny win because his name was the most familiar or do voters really want to see his hard-core partisanship governing our state elections?

Are Idahoans so determined to vote for a Republican that they will risk getting Florida-style elections with purges of the registration rolls, restricted early voting and long waiting lines in precincts that don’t vote right?

The Democrat alternative is a relative unknown—Boise businesswoman and one-term Representative Holli Woodings. But she shares outgoing Secretary Ben Ysursa’s serious commitment to honest elections. Hopefully, that’s what Idahoans want.

The Democrats have other strong contenders for statewide races. Boise lawyer Nels Mitchell would work harder and smarter than Senator “Vote-no” Risch. Retired teacher and seven-term legislator Shirley Ringo has twice the smarts and twice the personality of Representative Labrador. Democrat Jana Jones worked in the Department of Education under Republicans Jerry Evans and Anne Fox as well as Democrat Marilyn Howard. Her opponent is relatively unknown even among Republicans. And Twin Falls CPA Deborah Silver would actually understand what is happening in the Treasurer’s office.

No, I’m not willing to admit that a primary closed to two-thirds of Canyon County voters has decided the statewide races. People are becoming aware that one-party rule has given us corruption and cronyism as well as a poor-paying jobs and a stagnant economy. Republicans are increasingly focused on the internal fight among factions rather than the well-being of Idaho.

There will always be voters who blindly vote the R by the name. Concerned citizens, however, will be voting for some Democrats this fall.