Sunday, September 29, 2019

Blumenthal, Living The Weicker Dream

'Sentence first -- verdict afterwards' -- The Queen to Alice in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass

It’s difficult to know where to begin with the story “Blumenthal optimistic about GOP support in Senate for impeachment.” Perhaps one should begin by noting that no Republican in the U.S. Senate is Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi or U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal. Reversing a sustained determination to leave impeachment on the shelf, Pelosi last week announced that the House, now in Democrat hands, has begun an “impeachment inquiry.”

There are crucial differences between an impeachment inquiry and impeachment. Impeachment involves 1) the passing of a bill of impeachment in the House, and 2) garnering enough votes in a Senate trial to convict and remove from office the offender, in this case President Trump. Removal from office is the only sanction that applies to impeachment. Honest number runners would rate #2 at zero.

The chief purpose of an “impeachment inquiry,” a horse of a very different color, is to so weaken Trump before the 2020 election as to assure the election to the presidency of either former Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren or Vermont socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, the heart-throb of both the Democrat far, far, far, far left and Blumenthal, who favors a Sanders’ universal health care plan that would make a smoking ruin of Connecticut insurance industries.

Biden’s candidacy appears to be on shaky ground owing to a visit he made to Ukraine while Vice President in which he urged the firing of a prosecutor investigating the notoriously corrupt Ukranian gas company Burisma Holdings, which was paying his son Tucker a $50,000 monthly stipend as a Director of the company. In January 2018, Biden boasted before the Council of Foreign Relations, “I said, we’re not gonna give you the billion dollars [in promised U.S. aide]. They said, you have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said… I said call him [laughter]. I said you’re not getting a billion dollars. I said you’re not getting a billion. I’m gonna be leaving here [he looks at his watch] in about six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.”

It remains an unexplored question whether the prosecutor Biden successfully persuaded others to sack was investigating or impeding the investigation of corruption in Ukraine, though it does seem wildly counter-intuitive to suppose that Biden would want to sack a prosecutor who was DECLINING to prosecute a corrupt company from which his son was receiving handsome remuneration. Indeed, it is this very question Trump has implored Ukraine to investigate. At least one former prosecutor told the BBC that any such investigation must begin in the United States, after which Ukraine could help with the sharing of information.

At a Friday press conference in Hartford, Blumenthal said, “The votes [for impeachment] in the Senate are unknown at this point.”  Actually, no. If there was even the slimmest prospect in the Senate of votes favoring impeachment among Republicans, Pelosi would have moved immediately for a vote on impeachment in the House over which she presides.

“Yes,” Blumenthal continued, “the Republicans have a majority…but as the truth comes to the American people, I think my colleagues in the Republican Senate are going to respond in the same way as Republicans did during Watergate.” Former U.S. Senator and Governor could tell Blumenthal that the Watergate analogy is far off the mark though, of course, he would not presume to dash the ambitions of a Weicker wannabe.

Democrats urging impeachment appear to have set their standard in a “whistle-blower” complaint that relates to conversations overheard with regard to a telephone call between Trump and Zelensky. The anonymous whistle-blower is not a whistle-blower. As Blumenthal well knows from his more than two decades of service as Connecticut’s Attorney General,  a real whistle-blower must be a direct witness to the events that prompted the complaint -- even though protective Democrats hastily had changed the definition to include indirect, hearsay information provided by gossip mongers. Then too, the events described at second hand by the complainant are more properly detailed in the actual phone call, a faithful transcript of which has since been made public, and the transcript does not indicate that Trump offered Zelensky money grants in return for dirt on Biden.

Both cases – the case against Trump and the case against Biden – await further elaboration. They should both be pursued zealously by a truly non-partisan media, if one can any longer be found in the United States. Highly choreographed, partisan congressional investigations will very likely throw more shadow than light over the Trump faux impeachment, and Blumenthal’s confidence that Trump will be impeached before the 2020 election is itself a misleading feint in a contest of political will that so far has had little if nothing to do with facts and truth.    

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