• Like Watching a Train Wreck: Democrats’ Impeachment Case Crumbles Before Them

    Surge Summary: As the Democrats’ impeachment mission against the president lurches onward, two pieces of information emerge which don’t help their argument: Congressman Adam Schiff knew about the whistleblower’s allegations before they became public, and at the time of the President’s phone call with the Ukrainian leader, that nation’s officials were unaware the aid package was being held up.

    Regardless of one’s feelings toward Donald Trump, it’s getting tougher and tougher to pretend the Democrat’s Ukraine/Impeachment effort against him is falling apart. Can anyone deny that, really?

    First, Mairead McArdle/National Review reveals:

    The whistleblower who raised concerns about President Trump’s July call with Ukrainian president Voldymyr Zelensky informed House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff of the call’s contents before he filed a formal complaint, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

    Note: The New York Times (!). No friend of the president. They confirm this “inconvenient” piece of information.

    The anonymous whistleblower told a House Intelligence Committee aide that he was concerned about Trump’s behavior on the call, and the aide passed that information to Schiff but did not reveal the whistleblower’s identity. The early accusations were reportedly vague, but the whistleblower made clear to the aide that he was determined to make them known.

    “Like other whistle-blowers have done before and since under Republican and Democratic-controlled committees, the whistle-blower contacted the committee for guidance on how to report possible wrongdoing within the jurisdiction of the intelligence community,” said a spokesman for Schiff.

    Over at Patriot Post, Mark Alexander and Nate Jackson elaborate:

    “The Democratic head of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, learned about the outlines of a C.I.A. officer’s concerns that President [Donald] Trump had abused his power days before the officer filed a whistle-blower complaint,” reports The New York Times in a blockbuster story that undermines what little credibility Schiff had left.

    Schiff and his PR team at the Times are building his defense in this matter around the assertion that the congressman never met with the whistleblower. Schiff asserted numerous times before Wednesday that he did not know about the complaint before the inspector general of the intelligence community (IGIC) notified his committee. He asserted on Sept. 17, when news of the complaint first surfaced, “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.” And according to Schiff’s intelligence committee spokesman, “At no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance.”

    Those smokescreen denials sound quite similar to the claims of the whistleblower’s attorney, Mark Zaid: “I can unequivocally state that neither any member of the legal team nor the whistleblower has ever met or spoken with Congressman Schiff about this matter.”

    Thanks to the Times, however, we now know this is a lie. And by Schiff’s spokesperson’s own admission, the congressman’s office referred the whistleblower to the IGIC. The Times adds, “It also explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.”

    Trump responded Tuesday to this curious development — that Trump-obsessed Schiff had an early heads up about these accusations – in characteristic fashion; by not holding back about the California lawmaker, saying it shows the chairman is a “fraud.”

    And perhaps going beyond what the facts can support:

     “I think that it’s a scandal and I’ll go a step further, I think he helped write it,” Trump said.

    Trump previously said on Twitter that he wants Schiff “questioned at the highest level for Fraud & Treason,” adding that the California Democrat “made up what I actually said by lying to Congress.”

    “Fraud & Treason”? Well, that remains to be seen. Still, this looks bad for Schiff and Co.

    The President would probably do well to heed Napoleon’s putative counsel: Never interfere with your enemy when he is in the process of destroying himself.

    Additionally, also over at NR, Zach Evans passes along this:

    Ukrainian officials were reportedly unaware the U.S. had held up military aid to the country until late August. That time detail is significant because it was one month after the controversial phone call between President Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, the one at the center of an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats into the president. This according to Wednesday’s BuzzFeed.

    The report appears to undercut the allegation that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to pressure Zelensky to conduct investigations that would damage presidential candidate Joe Biden.

    It appears that at the time of the July conversation between the two leaders, Zelentsky, along with officials in his government, believed that the U.S. still intended to deliver $391 million in aid from the Pentagon and the State Department to help fund its ongoing war against Russian separatists in the Ukraine’s east.

    True, a week before the conversation, in mid-July, Trump had instructed his chief-of-staff, Mick Mulvaney, to withhold the aid package but Ukrainian officials allegedly only learned of the decision weeks later, according to then-acting foreign minister for Ukraine Olena Zerkal.

    An anonymous U.S. official said that the Trump administration hadn’t informed Ukraine of its decision because it thought the issues causing the holdup were close to resolution.

    Those are two weighty components to the events under consideration. And they don’t help the Donkey Party’s case against Trump. It doubtless explains why some of his foes appear to be scrambling to find yet other reasons to force him out of office.

    Related Column: 

    Adam Schiff’s Trump-Derangement On Display During (and After) Intel Committee Farce

    H/T: Mairead McArdle/National Review

    H/T: Patriot Post/Mark Alexander and Nate Jackson 

    H/T: National Review/Zach Evans

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