Peggy Noonan's Reading Comprehension Problem [Substantially Revised]
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