Sleight of hand consists of getting your audience to look at the hand that isn’t doing anything sneaky, while the other hand makes the “magic” happen. In the case of the Democratic Congress’s impeachment process, the sleight of hand is to get everyone focused on President Trump’s completely legal dealings with Ukraine, while Democrats continue to work the corrupt magic of sneaking money out of Kyiv.
First, let’s dispense with the notion that there was anything wrong or illegal or impeachable about Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine — even if there was a quid pro quo.
Here is your daily reminder that there is a standing US-Ukraine mutual legal assistance treaty in effect that justifies investigating 2016-era criminal activities in Ukraine (i.e., Crowdstrike). Read the treaty for yourself here: https://t.co/nWKA7Mk3zk
— What Will Democrats Lie About Next? – Stu Cvrk (@STUinSD) November 5, 2019
In essence, Democrats are pursuing impeachment against Trump for having upheld U.S. law as established by treaty with Ukraine under the Clinton administration. So there’s that, in case anyone on the left side of the aisle gives a damn. And as Byron York noted on Tuesday, “Trump appears to be making no effort to conceal what he said to Zelensky, be it about his belief that other countries should bear more of the burden of foreign aid or what he wanted Ukraine to investigate about the 2016 election and about former Vice President Joe Biden and son, Hunter Biden.”
So why all the fuss from our Democratic friends? Well, the answer is in the part about Joe and Hunter Biden.
I linked on Tuesday to the latest from investigative reporter John Solomon, but it’s worth breaking out more than just the lede. Solomon uncovered memos via the Freedom of Information Act showing that “Hunter Biden and his Ukrainian gas firm colleagues had multiple contacts with the Obama State Department during the 2016 election cycle.” And — this is the biggie — that includes one meeting “just a month before Vice President Joe Biden forced Ukraine to fire the prosecutor investigating his son’s company for corruption.”
Just three weeks before Burisma’s overture to State, Ukrainian authorities raided the home of the oligarch who owned the gas firm and employed Hunter Biden, a signal the long-running corruption probe was escalating in the middle of the U.S. presidential election.
Hunter Biden’s name, in fact, was specifically invoked by the Burisma representative as a reason the State Department should help, according to a series of email exchanges among U.S. officials trying to arrange the meeting. The subject line for the email exchanges read simply “Burisma.”
You really do need to read the whole thing.
In a new report out just this morning, Solomon concluded that “there is plenty of evidence that conflicts with the former vice president’s account, including Hunter Biden’s own story that he discussed the company once with his famous father.” The memos Solomon found also revealed that “the Obama State Department clearly saw the Burisma Holdings investigation in the midst of the 2016 presidential election as a Joe Biden issue.” That seems like a nice way of saying that the Obama administration knew that the Bidens were up to no good, and just wanted to wash their hands of the mess the Bidens had created.
Then there’s this next bit from Solomon’s report:
In multiple drafts of a question-and-answer memo prepared for Yovanovitch’s Senate confirmation hearing, the department’s Ukraine experts urged the incoming ambassador to stick to a simple answer.
“Do you have any comment on Hunter Biden, the Vice President’s son, serving on the board of Burisma, a major Ukrainian Gas Company?,” the draft Q&A asked.
The recommended answer for Yovanovitch: “For questions on Hunter Biden’s role in Burisma, I would refer you to Vice President Biden’s office.”
What it looks like to me is, not only was the Obama White House eager to be clear of the Bidens’ mess, so was the entire U.S. State Department. Just to be clear: This was a Democratic White House and a Democratic State Department clearly willing to let Joe and Hunter Biden twist in the wind, should the need arise.
Well, the need finally did arise — just three or four years later than planned.
As the Wall Street Journal’s Jessica Donati reported late last night, “Mr. Biden was appointed to the Burisma board in 2014, when the company and its owner faced allegations of corruption, and he remained there until April of this year.” That’s around the time that Democrats switched from the debunked RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA collusion narrative to the nonsensical Ukraine quid-pro-quo narrative.
But it’s Donald Trump, the guy using time-honored statecraft in order to uphold American law in pursuit of a corruption investigation regarding high-ranking U.S. officials, who somehow did something wrong.
Some sleight of hand, eh?