“How serious is this?”
That’s a common question asked by people around the country who are only marginally following the Democrats’ impeachment circus in Washington.
They hear that President Trump has done terrible things, such as “endanger national security.” But when they look past the constant “bombshell” headlines, they find nothing there.
Mr. Trump held up some aid to Ukraine for a few weeks after a phone call with Ukraine’s president in which he asked him to look into corruption in his own country, including some that involves Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. And that’s a threat to America’s national security and an impeachable offense?
When Democrats launched their kangaroo court, violating the most fundamental rules of fairness, some Trump officials refused to testify. So, “obstruction.” Meanwhile, Joe Biden is on tape laughing in 2018 to a Council on Foreign Relations audience about threatening to withhold $1 billion in aid to Ukraine if a prosecutor was not fired. Never mind that this prosecutor may have begun looking into Mr. Biden’s son Hunter’s cushy, $50,000 a month slot on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma while Mr. Biden was vice president.
An excerpt from Mr. Biden bears repeating every time the Democrats accuse President Trump of “strong-arming” a foreign country’s leadership for political gain:
“I said, you’re not getting the billion … I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a b-tch. (Laughter.) He got fired.”
On Oct. 9, Ukrainian Member of Parliament Andriy Derkach displayed documents showing that Hunter Biden’s lobbying firm was paid $900,000 from Burisma. Rudy Giuliani noted in the Nov. 13 Wall Street Journal that the invoice “said the money was for lobbying Joe Biden.”
This is the real scandal, along with the Democrats’ collusion with Russians in 2016 and the anti-Trump corruption of the FBI and other security agencies.
In a July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Trump asked him to continue dealing with corruption in his country. He mentions impending aid to Ukraine. Near the end of the call, he references the Bidens this way:
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son. That Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”
The Democrats say that because Joe Biden is now running for president, he is above being investigated for conduct while he was Barack Obama’s vice president, including his dealings with Ukraine. So, if you’re a crook, just run for president and no one will be allowed to investigate you. Sounds like the Clinton playbook.
Mr. Trump has every reason to want to get to the bottom of the scandal in which the FBI spied on his campaign in 2016, using a Russian-sourced dossier. FBI officials also covered up the Hillary e-mail server scandal and led what appears to be a coup attempt even after the election.
Since the two-year Mueller inquiry into possible Russian collusion collapsed, we keep hearing Democrats allege that Republicans deny that the Russians tried to interfere in the 2016 election.
This is nonsense. Of course, the Russians tried to mess things up. They’ve been doing it for years. They posted phony messages on social media critical of both candidates, but more so of Hillary Clinton. It’s doubtful this had any meaningful impact on the election.
Speaking of Hillary, the Russians’ most effective ploy was to tempt her and the Democratic National Committee into buying a dossier that was supposed to smear Mr. Trump. The now-debunked document was used to persuade a FISA court to authorize surveilling a Trump campaign official. Scandal, anyone?
As Adam Schiff’s kangaroo court has unfolded, with Republicans barred from presenting defense witnesses or exculpatory materials and with much of the proceedings held in secret, it’s becoming clearer that the Republicans’ charge of a “show trial” is gaining merit.
The term originated in the Soviet Union during the 1930s, when Joseph Stalin pretended to follow the rule of law while eliminating rivals and enemies. The defendants were guilty before the “trials” even began, had no defense and were convicted with coerced “confessions.”
Stalin had duped Franklin Roosevelt via his closest adviser, Harry Hopkins, who told the president, “It is ridiculous to think of Stalin as a Communist. He is a Russian nationalist.” Evidence later surfaced indicating strongly that Hopkins was an actual Soviet agent, according to historian Paul Kengor, author of “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”
Joseph Davies, Roosevelt’s ambassador to the Soviet Union, justified Stalin’s show trials in his 1941 memoir, “Mission to Moscow,” which Hollywood made into a pro-Communist film.
Davies wrote: “It is generally accepted by members of the Diplomatic Corps that the accused must have been guilty of an offense which in the Soviet Union would merit the death penalty.” Oh, OK then.
We’re far from Soviet show trials, which ended mostly in executions. But the reckless disregard for fair play and shockingly selective inquiry is enough to justify using the term now.
• Robert Knight is a contributor to The Washington Times.
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