Peggy Noonan's Reading Comprehension Problem [Substantially Revised]

Peggy Noonan (Image credit Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia)

What follows is NOT the column I originally wrote and which appeared on PJ Media for a few minutes and simultaneously went out in a group email. I was alerted to a substantial error in my text thanks to the kind offices of Eugene Volokh. In that column, I excoriated Peggy Noonan for misreading the Trump-Zelensky transcript. I was wrong. I had misread it. I had written that Zelensky first brought up Biden in the phone call when it was the reverse. Zelensky brought up Giuliani, which then led Trump to bring up Biden. Originally, the president had been talking about what I am almost certain was his greatest interest, the CrowdStrike company (of which more in a moment).


In making this mistake, I inadvertently proved, or at least demonstrated, the accusation I had leveled at Ms. Noonan, that we all see what we want to see. I sincerely apologize to her.

Nevertheless, I still adamantly disagree with her column — “Democrats Set a Bear Trap” — and find it to be tendentious middle-of-the-road claptrap, excusing a movement to impeach a president for no reason other than Trump-hatred and a deranged lust for power on the part of Democrats and their media allies. Adam Schiff — the congressman from the most feces-laden district in America — is the disgraceful public face of this attempt while Pelosi seems to have been co-opted by the left wing of her party that behaves like inmates in an asylum for jihadists.  (Tucker Carlson perhaps said it best when he remarked that Democrats had attained the extraordinary achievement of being both “flakey and authoritarian at once.”) Noonan writes:

The charge is that the American president went to the leader of Ukraine and invited him to take part in the 2020 presidential election by investigating one of the president’s likely competitors. Mr. Trump might have added pressure by delaying U.S. aid.

Likely competitor? Biden? Even if the former vice president could hold off the obviously increasing dementia he was exhibiting, many already knew about his corruption vis-a-vis China and Ukraine and the role of his bizarre children out of a Southern gothic novel. And this leaves out multiple plagiarisms, etc. He was like a (corrupt) lamb headed for the slaughter. If Trump were to be concerned about anybody, it would have been Warren, the inevitable nominee even when this conversation was held. But she was never mentioned in the phone call.


Instead Trump brought up something very early far more significant to him and ultimately to his Democratic Party and media opponents — CrowdStrike. If you read the transcript, he was focussed on it before anyone was mentioned:

The President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.

President Zelenskyy: Yes it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a President, it is very important and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United States and Ukraine. For that purpose, I just recalled our ambassador from United States and he will be replaced by a very competent and very experienced ambassador who will work hard on making sure that our two nations are getting closer
No Biden, only CrowdStrike (in the transcript with a lowercase s). Biden doesn’t come up until minutes later, almost as a segue, after Zelensky had mentioned Giuliani.
Why was CrowdStrike on Trump’s mind? Because it is one of the linchpins in the investigation into the provenance of the Russia probe, much of which is starting to emerge.
Among other things, this is the cloud-based company that assured Comey’s FBI (they apparently never checked themselves for some reason) that it was Russia behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s server. CrowdStrike has done very well lately, but the question remains — why would the FBI outsource an investigation like this? Why didn’t they handle it themselves? They’re supposed to have excellent cyber facilities.
And why would the Ukrainians then know anything about this? Well, CrowdStrike was also involved with promulgating a calumny against Ukraine that the Ukrainian army had inadvertently, via computer error, killed thousands of their own troops. This was ultimately walked back by CrowdStrike, which is owned by a noted Putin opponent. A Ukrainian oligarch is also involved. CrowdStrike is deeply in the mix of Russiagate.
Interesting, huh? And complex. I certainly don’t know the ins and outs of it, nor does Noonan, I would wager. But something’s there and it could be very disturbing. No wonder Trump wanted to know. Peggy evidently doesn’t. So far, anyway.
By the way, if Trump does get impeached based on something as negligible as this there is probably no president in the past who couldn’t have been similarly impeached and likely none in the future who wouldn’t be — assuming anyone ever wants to run again.
On a radically different subject, I would like to offer my thanks to C. Peeples for her (I think it’s a she) Amazon review that just appeared of my new novel, The GOAT. I can’t recall anything that has gratified me more in decades of writing than this review from someone who is completely unknown to me:
I purchased this book because I think Roger L Simon is a terrific thinker and writer, and I love to read his political commentary, but honestly, I bought it mostly to support him, thinking I would not like it much. What a surprise I was in for. A great story, beautifully and compellingly written, far more than a book about tennis, it is a compelling page turner, funny and poignant, and a terrific reminder that it is never too late to do the right thing. A wonderful book, with no political message at all, that will leave you smiling and pensive about your own life choices.
Roger L. Simon — co-founder of PJ Media — is a novelist and screenwriter.


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