01.28.2020 0

The President is exonerated, will the Senate Democrats be brave enough to admit it?

By Rick Manning

The Democrats never intended to convince the Senate.  I know this is hard to believe, but the Democrats, both House and Senate, wrote off convicting President Trump in the Senate well before they started the House impeachment hearings.  Their goal from the outset was to politicize the trial to such an extent that Republican swing state senators like Cory Gardner from Colorado and Susan Collins from Maine were put in a box between the Trump supporters they need to win re-election and the swing voters in their state who they also need to win re-election.

There is no other explanation for their decision to force Senators to sit through a presentation that repeated talking points every 90 minutes for three days. After all, their audience wasn’t the weary Senators waiting for a crime or even any evidence of a quid pro quo (which isn’t a crime), but instead viewers who were tuning in for an hour to find out what was going on.

Given that this has always been a political exercise, I hope that the President’s team will spend their time both dismantling the “case” of hearsay and supposition by the House Democrats with the actual facts: the real transcript rather than Adam Schiff’s imaginary TV script shows there was no malfeasance; there never was any demand of the Ukraine government to take action either for a meeting or to get arms; the Ukraine government made it clear that they never felt pressured; Ambassador Sondland testified that he was never told by the President or anyone that there was a quid pro quo; Senator Ron Johnson spoke directly with the President before Sondland ‘presumed’ a quid pro quo and the President told him that he didn’t want anything from the Ukrainians for the aid; and the aid was delivered in advance of the end of the fiscal year.

But beyond the facts which dismantle Schiff’s imaginings, there is a fundamental question, did the President have reason to believe that the Bidens might have been involved in a corrupt relationship in Ukraine, and why was it important to mention it?

Former Vice President Biden’s brag before the Council on Foreign Relations about getting the Ukrainian prosecutor fired by threatening to withhold a loan guarantee from the country would give any honest person pause about the raw exercise of power exhibited in demanding the firing of a state official in exchange for American money.  However, when the prosecutor was investigating a company which the then-Vice President’s unqualified son was being paid at least $50,000 a month for little to no work, there was, at least, an appearance of impropriety.

When there were reports that the US ambassador to Ukraine was not approving visas to the United States for subsequent prosecutors to come to America to provide evidence of corruption involving the Biden-affiliated company, there was also a need to tell President Zelensky that no one was off limits if that is where the evidence led.  You can’t claim that no one is above the law, and then impeach a President for signaling that this was true even in the case of Joe Biden.

Right now, no one knows for certain if there was anything improper which occurred due to a corrupt Ukrainian natural gas company’s purchase of Hunter Biden’s name, but it was right and proper for the President to make it clear that the investigation should go wherever the facts took it.

This is particularly important since Congress put, as a precondition for the Ukraine military aid to be released, that the President certify that they were dealing with their corruption culture.

It is also significant that it was the Trump administration which authorized the delivery of military aid, and it was the Obama administration which was permanently withholding any aid beyond humanitarian assistance.  Ironically, many of the very same Democrat House members, who are arguing for impeachment claiming  that delaying the aid created a potentially dangerous situation, voted against providing it at all.  Strangely, Representative Jerry Nadler voted against the bill funding the aid just a couple of months ago. He was joined by Representatives Lofgren and Jeffries in opposing the very aid that they are impeaching the President over.

The President’s legal team needs to realize that Donald Trump has been the victim of a three-year-plus political attack, and in the three days they have to address the Senate and the nation, they have a responsibility to hammer home the evidence and educate the public on the rightful powers of the presidency.

Any honest observer knows that President Trump did nothing wrong, so the President’s team needs to appeal to Democrats in the chamber like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema who might break ranks and provide a bi-partisan vote against conviction.  They also need to speak to the voters in those GOP Senate swing states in making the case that Trump is not only not guilty, he is absolutely innocent of the charges.

It is legitimate for President Trump to expect exoneration and not just a finding of not guilty since not a scintilla of evidence has been produced indicating that he came close to any line of wrongdoing.

The threshold is not just stopping the Democrats from getting to 67 votes for removal, it is to get a resounding bipartisan dismissal.

In the next week to ten days, we will discover if there are any honest Democrats in the Senate and who they are as this ugly partisan attempt to upend the electoral will of the voters comes to a close, and the Senate gets back to the important work of confirming judges over the angry voices of the obstructionist Democratic minority.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

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