Funny: The dueling Republican and Democratic reports on the findings of the House Intelligence Committee hearings have one big thing in common: Neither offers hard evidence that President Trump committed a single impeachable offense.
Yes, Rep. Adam Schiff, who helmed the hearings, says otherwise. But he’s been seeing “more than circumstantial evidence” against Trump for three years now, since the early days of the “collusion” probe.
And he literally opened his public hearings on the Ukraine affair by asking, “If this is not impeachable conduct, what is?” Big surprise, then, that his report declares that Trump “placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the US presidential election process, and endangered US national security.”
The GOP report accurately noted that Schiff only created a “misleading public narrative” based on “hearsay, presumption and emotion”: Not one witness testified to the clear “quid pro quo” that Democrats advertised would be exposed, nor to the “bribery” they later talked of.
Yes, Trump wanted President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government to look into Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election, and into Burisma and its hiring of Hunter Biden. He had Rudy Giuliani and US diplomats push hard for such investigations, and raised it directly with Ukraine’s president in the now-famous July 25 call.
The Schiff report insists that chat was timed to bring the pressure campaign to a “crescendo.” In fact, the congratulatory call was prompted by the historic landslide win for Zelensky’s party in parliamentary elections just four days before.
Another telling omission: Democrats note that Trump canceled a trip to Warsaw, where he’d have met Zelensky for the first time, but don’t mention that he sent Vice President Mike Pence instead — because hurricanes were causing havoc on the East Coast.
Most important, Zelensky has repeatedly denied that he felt any undue pressure.
Yes, Schiff insists Trump wanted “sham investigations” — that is, ones that would frame Joe Biden, whom the report repeatedly terms Trump’s most “feared” 2020 opponent. Yet not a single witness or other piece of evidence has even hinted that Trump asked for such predetermined, fake results.
Ironically, it’s Schiff’s “investigation” that worked that way.
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