Archive for the ‘John Ratcliffe’ Category

Democrats aren’t interested in bipartisanship when it comes to impeachment. Democrats don’t even care if their hearings take pot shots at teenage kids. Democrats don’t even care if they don’t have evidence that proves their charges. In the Democrats’ minds, they know that President Trump is evil and must be impeached and convicted. In the Democrats’ minds, they don’t need proof to impeach. They just need fanciful theories that support the Democrats’ bloodlust to impeach and convict President Trump. In this case, the fanciful theories that Democrats are relying on are found in the Findings of Facts section of the Schiff Report.

For instance, Finding of Fact #IV says “President Trump ordered the suspension of $391 million in vital military assistance urgently needed by Ukraine, a strategic partner, to resist Russian aggression. Because the aid was appropriated by Congress, on a bipartisan basis, and signed into law by the President, its expenditure was required by law. Acting directly and through his subordinates within the U.S. government, the President withheld from Ukraine this military assistance without any legitimate foreign policy, national security, or anti-corruption justification. The President did so despite the longstanding bipartisan support of Congress, uniform support across federal departments and agencies for the provision to Ukraine of the military assistance, and his obligations under the Impoundment Control Act.”

Saying that “the President withheld from Ukraine this military assistance without any legitimate foreign policy, national security or anti-corruption justification” isn’t proof. That’s opinion. The Constitution gives the President the authority to conduct foreign policy. Monies appropriated by Congress and signed by the President must be spent by the end of the fiscal year. In the case of the Ukraine appropriation, the money was sent to Ukraine with time to spare.

Saying that President Trump withheld aid from Ukraine without legitimate “anti-corruption justification” requires Democrats to look past the fact that, at the time, Ukraine was rated the third-most corrupt nation on the planet. Further, the NDAA required certification that Ukraine had met the anti-corruption standards.

Chairman Schiff didn’t mention that this happened with Pakistan, the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and from the nation of Lebanon. Why? Here’s Representative John Ratcliffe inquiring with State Department Undersecretary David Hale how often aid was withheld within the past year:

There goes that Schiff theory. Here’s another example of Democrat theory dressed up as proof:

In furtherance of this scheme, President Trump—directly and acting through his agents within and outside the U.S. government—sought to pressure and induce Ukraine’s newly-elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to publicly announce unfounded investigations that would benefit President Trump’s personal political interests and reelection effort. To advance his personal political objectives, President Trump encouraged the President of Ukraine to work with his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

Schiff’s Democrats don’t have proof of this accusation. In fact, the only proof in either direction comes from President Zelenskiy. He’s said twice that he was never pressured. This is third-hand testimony presented by Bill Taylor. It’s from one of the participants in the call. It isn’t surprising that Democrats have ignored President Zelenskiy’s statements that contradict their impeachment storyline. That’s what Democrats consistently do with exculpatory evidence. Either that or these Democrats insist that it’s just another discredited conspiracy theory.

It’s nothing of the sort. It’s an oft-repeated statement from Ukraine’s president. He was one of 2 people on the call. He knows what was said. He knows whether lethal military aid was tied to anything. That’s proof that would be admitted into any court in the United States. The Democrats’ hearsay testimony (like we heard from Bill Taylor) isn’t admissible anywhere in the United States.

The Democrats apparently want to become the first politicians to impeach a sitting president while using hearsay testimony. That isn’t just an abuse of political power. It’s corruption personified. If the same 232 Democrats vote to impeach President Trump who voted to open the inquiry, the American people will administer a punishment that will be studied for decades.

A while ago, Adam Schiff and other Democrats compared his secret impeachment hearings held in a SCIF in the basement of Capitol Hill to grand jury proceedings. That’s BS. They’re as similar as oil and water.

Most importantly, impeachment hearings involve the leader of the free world. The Democrats’ impeachment hearings have taken months, which have distracted President Trump from his important responsibilities. When a grand jury indicts a criminal, the only person getting penalized is the potential criminal. When the president gets impeached, the people get punished as much as the president does. (Does anyone think that China wouldn’t have caved by now on a trade deal if not for this impeachment fiasco?)

Next, when witnesses testify before a grand jury, they’ve actually witnessed something. Over half of the people that the Democrats deposed didn’t witness a thing about what the Democrats are impeaching President Trump about. Testifiers like Marie Yovanovitch, George Kent, William Taylor and others didn’t listen to the call. None of those testifiers has even met President Trump. Lt. Col. Vindman listened to the Trump-Zelenskiy phone call but hasn’t met President Trump. Lt. Col. Vindman raised a concern but that was determined to be insignificant. Later, Lt. Col. Vindman testified that the rough transcript was accurate.

Democrats have a very weak case. They’re whining that White House staff won’t testify. When they had the chance to take them to court to compel testimony, though, they declined to compel testimony through the courts. Democrats have frequently said that the White House exerting various privileges might add more articles of impeachment.

That’s why the White House has declined to participate in Wednesday’s hearing of the Judiciary Committee:

“This baseless and highly partisan inquiry violates all past historical precedent, basic due process rights, and fundamental fairness,” wrote White House counsel Pat Cipollone, continuing the West Wing’s attack on the procedural form of the impeachment proceedings. Cipollone said Nadler provided only “vague” details about the hearing, and that unnamed academics, and not “fact witnesses”, would apparently be attending.

“As for the hearing scheduled for December 4, we cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the president a fair process through additional hearings,” Cipollone said. “More importantly, an invitation to an academic discussion with law professors does not begin to provide the President with any semblance of a fair process. Accordingly, under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing.”

Thus far, Democrats have vetoed each of the Republican witness requests. They’ve blocked the CIA snitch from testifying because he knows whether Schiff’s office sought him out. They won’t let Hunter Biden testify because connecting him with Burisma’s corruption hurts their case. They won’t Joe Biden testify because explaining this away would prove difficult:

Democrats are afraid that good prosecutors like Matt Gaetz and John Ratcliffe will expose Biden’s corruption. It’s a safe bet that they’d make Biden look like a fool. That’s why Democrats can’t play this fair. Playing fair wouldn’t get the result they’ve wanted:

To summarize: Many Democrats wanted to impeach Trump from the get-go. Frustrated at their inability to get it done, they jumped on their last, best hope, taking shortcuts to ensure their preferred result and racing to beat the political deadline imposed by their party’s presidential contest. Through it all, they have insisted they are acting only with great reluctance and sorrow.

The question now is whether the public will believe it.

It’s time to step away from last week’s impeachment hearings to examine something significant. It’s apparent that Adam Schiff’s Democrats specialize in partisanship. It’s apparent because the supposed high crimes and misdemeanors President Trump was accused of committing kept changing.

In her article, Mollie Hemingway wrote “Before we get to the politics and how they were played by Republicans and Democrats, it should be noted that President Donald Trump has not been credibly accused of committing any crime, much less a high crime or misdemeanor. It’s almost shocking that Trump, of all people, keeps managing to do well on this score. Yet, as with the Russia collusion hoax, in which he was accused of being a traitor to his country, the lack of evidence for the charges against him is his ultimate saving grace.”

She continued with this:

What the charge is keeps changing, of course. The whistleblower initially suggested a campaign finance violation arising from a call Trump had with the president of Ukraine. That morphed into a quid pro quo for military aid to Ukraine, then extortion, then bribery, then obstruction of justice, then back to a quid pro quo, but this time only a quid pro quo for a White House meeting. The lack of certainty among even Trump’s critics certainly worked in his favor.

Let’s get this straight. Each of these charges is laughable. They’re laughable to the extent that extortion and bribery were suggested by focus groups commissioned by the DCCC, the Democrats’ campaign committee commissioned with losing the Democrats’ House majority in 2020. (That wasn’t what they were hired to do. That’s what will happen. It’s like the old Shakey’s Pizza saying — ‘We’re a non-profit. It wasn’t planned that way. That’s just how things worked out.’)

Seriously, though, Democrats kept switching from one ridiculous accusation to the next. They didn’t have proof for their accusations. Democrats simply relied on the MSM to sell the charges. That’s what happens when muscles atrophy. They relied more on the media, less on legitimate, well-researched arguments. The Democrats’ eutrophication was best displayed by Ms. Pelosi’s choice between Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler to spearhead the Democrats’ Impeachment Committee. Schiff is terrible but he’s significantly better than Nadler.

To impeach a president, you need evidence of a major offense that everyone looks at, then says ‘Yep, that’s an impeachable offense.’ The Democrats don’t have that. It’s like the football team with 3 QBs. That team really doesn’t have any. When you have 3-5 impeachable offense theories, you’re really not in the ballpark. You might not even be in the parking lot outside the ballpark.

Meanwhile, Republicans on the Impeachment Committee took apart the Democrats’ ridiculous accusations with ease. Jim Jordan demolished Bill Taylor. Mike Taylor demolished Gordon Sondland. Elise Stefanik took apart Ambassador Yovanovitch:


John Ratcliffe demolished Lt. Col. Vindman:

The MSM won’t admit that they’re propping up House Democrats but that’s what’s happening. Republicans don’t need propping up because they’re taking the Democrats’ testifiers apart with precision and discipline. It helps that the facts are on the Republicans’ side. It helps that the Democrats’ testifiers have relied on weasel-word testimony.

This morning, Rep. Conaway yielded his time to Rep. John Ratcliffe, (R-TX), to cross-examine Jennifer Williams and Lt. Col. Vindman. Rep. Ratcliffe started by asking if either of them had noticed the Democrats’ change during the impeachment inquiry from insisting that President Trump was guilty of a quid pro quo to being guilty of committing extortion to finally settling on “bribery.” Rep. Ratcliffe highlighted the fact that bribery wasn’t used until Speaker Pelosi used it. After that, Ratcliffe noticed that Pelosi’s use of the word opened the floodgates within the MSM.

Ratcliffe then stated that the words bribe or bribery weren’t used in either witness’s deposition. In fact, Rep. Ratcliffe said that the word bribery was used only once in 3,500 pages of depositions released thus far. Then Ratcliffe highlighted the fact that the term bribery wasn’t used in connection with President Trump. Ratcliffe stated that the only time the term bribery was used was in connection with Vice President Biden.

Ratcliffe’s presentation was, in my opinion, as powerful of a presentation as Rep. Chris Stewart’s cross-examination of Ambassador Yanokovitch:

The other standout cross-examination was Jim Jordan’s cross-examination of William Taylor:

I will update this post with the video of Rep. Ratcliffe when it’s posted. Thus far, the thing that’s most clear is that Republicans have made some significant points without jumping the shark with either Jennifer Williams or Lt. Col. Vindman. Another thing that’s clear is that Democrats haven’t gotten that bombshell testimony that they need to move public opinion.

UPDATE: Here is the video of John Ratcliffe’s cross-examination of Lt. Col. Vindman:

Of course, the MSM essentially ignored Ratcliffe’s cross-examination because it didn’t fit their storyline. Rep. Ratcliffe talked about how “last Thursday, in a press conference, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that President Trump had committed the impeachable offense of bribery, evidenced in the transcript of his July 25th phone call with President Zelenskiy. In concert with that, several Democrat members of this committee gave TV and radio interviews over this past week discussing how the President’s conduct supported his impeachment for the crime of bribery, all of which struck me as odd because for the longest time, this was all about quid pro quo, according to the whistleblower’s complaint.”

Ever since President Trump tweeted about Ambassador Yovanovitch during Friday’s hearing, the MSM have been obsessed with the tweet as their latest shiny object. It’s time that the MSM that still are interested in things like credibility to stop obsessing over that shiny object. In the grand scheme of things, the tweet, which was ill-advised, is a major ‘so what’.

It doesn’t change the fundamentals of the Democrats case. That’s because the Democrats still haven’t presented anything resembling a piece of evidence of an impeachable offense. That’s because last week’s testifiers (they weren’t witnesses because they didn’t witness anything) took turns either admitting that they couldn’t identify an impeachable offense (John Ratcliffe asking Kent and Taylor) or Yovanovitch telling Chris Stewart that she wasn’t in Ukraine for President Trump’s phone call with President Zelenskiy in late July.

Why isn’t the MSM talking about Devin Nunes’ questioning of Ms. Yovanovitch at the start of the hearing? Right at the start, Ms. Yovanovitch admitted that she isn’t a fact witness:

The most memorable line in the hearings was Jim Jordan’s exchange with Ambassador Taylor:

What information does Ambassador Taylor have that’s important? It’s apparent that he isn’t a central figure in Kiev. Shouldn’t we insist that the MSM report things that are important to the impeachment case?

There’s a novel approach to evaluating whether Impeachment Democrats have made a legal case for impeachment. What information have George Kent, William Taylor or Marie Yovanovitch supplied that’s proof of an impeachable offense? There’s another test to this. The Impeachment Democrats’ theory on why President Trump should be impeached is because he withheld lethal military aid from Ukraine unless Ukraine investigated the Bidens. What proof have they offered that President Trump did that? Remember that second- and third-hand stories aren’t proof. They’re uncorroborated stories, even if other diplomats with other second- and third-hand stories agree with the original story.

This isn’t a shiny object but it’s important to the Democrats’ carefully-crafted impeachment story. Why isn’t there any reporting on why the Democrats set up the rules the way they did? Were they written that way because Impeachment Democrats didn’t want to give skilled people like John Ratcliffe, Elise Stefanik and Jim Jordan the opportunity to make Swiss Cheese out of the Democrats’ case?

Thus far, Democrats haven’t gotten questioned whether they’ve established a single important fact. That’s intentional. The MSM was the driving force behind impeachment. The MSM wanted impeachment far more than Ms. Pelosi wanted it.

When impeachment backfires on Democrats, Ms. Pelosi will wash her hands of the mess and say I-told-you-so. That’s true but she’s the one that caved. She’s the Democrat that didn’t fight for her position until the bitter end. In the end, Pelosi is just as guilty of dragging the nation through this divisive fight for no legitimate reason.

Democrats, Ms. Pelosi included, are the political definition of losers. All the shiny objects in the world won’t change that.

Byron York’s article about the “Democrats’ Colonel Vindman problem” highlights the things that Col. Vindman said that might hurt Democrats by the time Democrats wrap up Col. Vindman’s public testimony. Of particular interest to Republicans will be Col. Vindman’s verification of the July 25th Trump-Zelenskiy phone call.

Democrats have suggested that the rough transcript was doctored by the White House. Though that hasn’t gotten much traction, it’s still out there. Col. Vindman put that to rest.

Another problem that Democrats have comes from John Ratcliffe’s cross-examination of Col. Vindman:

“I’m trying to find out if you were reporting it because you thought there was something wrong with respect to policy or there was something wrong with respect to the law,” Ratcliffe said to Vindman. “And what I understand you to say is that you weren’t certain that there was anything improper with respect to the law, but you had concerns about U.S. policy. Is that a fair characterization?”

“So I would recharacterize it as I thought it was wrong and I was sharing those views,” Vindman answered. “And I was deeply concerned about the implications for bilateral relations, U.S. national security interests, in that if this was exposed, it would be seen as a partisan play by Ukraine. It loses the bipartisan support. And then for — ” “I understand that,” Ratcliffe said, “but that sounds like a policy reason, not a legal reason.”

Saying that you’re worried about the conversation sounds ominous. Without pinning the source of the concern down, it might mean that Col. Vindman was worried for legal reasons. That’s certainly how Democrats tried portraying it. Rep. Ratcliffe’s cross-examination pinned that down as policy concern. That matters because you don’t impeach sitting presidents over policy disagreements. That’s a dispute best settled with elections, not impeachment.

This back-and-forth highlights another problem for Democrats:

At another point, Castor asked Vindman whether he was interpreting Trump’s words in an overly alarmist way, especially when Vindman contended that Trump issued a “demand” to Zelensky. “The president in the transcript uses some, you know, words of hedging from time to time,” Castor said. “You know, on page 3, he says ‘whatever you can do.’ He ends the first paragraph on page 3, ‘if that’s possible.’ At the top of page 4, ‘if you could speak to him, that would be great.’ ‘So whatever you can do.’ Again, at the top of page 4, ‘if you can look into it.’ Is it reasonable to conclude that those words hedging for some might, you know, lead people to conclude that the president wasn’t trying to be demanding here?”

“I think people want to hear, you know, what they have as already preconceived notions,” Vindman answered, in what may have been one of the more revealing moments of the deposition. “I’d also point your attention to ‘whatever you can do, it’s very important to do it if that’s possible.'” “‘If that’s possible,'” Castor stressed. “Yeah,” said Vindman. “So I guess you can interpret it in different ways.”

That isn’t a demand as much as it’s a petition or request. There’s lots of literary distance between demand and request. In fact, they’re close to being opposites. Saying that President Trump demanded an investigation is provocative. Saying that President Trump requested help with something doesn’t sound provocative.

That’s why Democrats intentionally chose the word demand. It isn’t surprising that Democrats used the provocative-sounding word considering the fact that they’re trying a weak case. You might even say that Democrats are trumping up the accusations because they know that the evidence doesn’t get them there. Then there’s this:

Vindman portrayed himself as the man to see on the National Security Council when it came to issues involving Ukraine. “I’m the director for Ukraine,” he testified. “I’m responsible for Ukraine. I’m the most knowledgeable. … Yet at times there were striking gaps in Vindman’s knowledge of the subject matter. He seemed, for instance, distinctly incurious about the corruption issues in Ukraine that touched on Joe and Hunter Biden.

“What do you know about Zlochevsky, the oligarch that controls Burisma?” asked Castor. “I frankly don’t know a huge amount,” Vindman said. “Are you aware that he’s a former Minister of Ecology”? Castor asked, referring to a position Zlochevsky allegedly used to steer valuable government licenses to Burisma. “I’m not,” said Vindman.

“Are you aware of any of the investigations the company has been involved with over the last several years?” “I am aware that Burisma does have questionable business dealings,” Vindman said. “That’s part of the track record, yes.”

If that’s the NSC’s definition of an expert, we should be worried. I’d make an exception if Col. Vindman was holding his cards close to his vest. I suspect that’s what Lt. Col. Vindman was doing.

Schiff steps in it

“Both those parts of the call, the request for investigation of Crowd Strike and those issues, and the request for investigation of the Bidens, both of those discussions followed the Ukraine president saying they were ready to buy more Javelins. Is that right?” asked Schiff.

Mr. Schiff just stepped in it mightily. An action can’t be both a request and a demand. Those words are close to being opposites definition-wise.

For the record, it’s obvious from President Trump’s softened language that request is the accurate word. Demand is a stretch.

Each day, Democrats insist that today’s testimony damaged the White House to the point that the damage is virtually irreparable. Now that we’re finally getting the transcripts, we’re finding out that Democrats have built the sturdiest house of cards ever built. This article highlights the flimsiness of the Democrats’ case:

William Taylor, the charge d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, told lawmakers in secret testimony two weeks ago that his opinions about an alleged quid pro quo demanded by Trump were formed largely from conversations with anti-Trump staffers within the diplomatic bureaucracy.
“[Y]ou’ve never spoken to Mr. [Rudy] Giuliani?” Taylor was asked.
“No, no,” he replied.
“Has anyone ever asked you to speak to Mr. Giuliani?”
“No,” Taylor said.
“And if I may, have you spoken to the president of the United States?” Taylor was asked.
“I have not,” he said.
“You had no communications with the president of the United States?”
“Correct,” Taylor said.

That’s what’s known as hearsay. It isn’t admissible in criminal courts in most instances. Certainly, it wouldn’t be accepted if it’s from someone who heard it third- or fourth-hand. Despite that fact, House Democrats keep insisting that their impeachment case is sturdy. That’s why the public hearings will be crucial in one respect. When John Ratcliffe, Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows or Devin Nunes get 45 minutes to cross-examine next week’s witnesses, they’ll expose the Democrats’ witnesses’ vulnerabilities. At this point, I’d consider Taylor to be damaged goods.

Despite Taylor’s statements, though, Schiff and other Democrats will insist that Taylor has damaged President Trump. Don’t be surprised if a gap opens between Democrats and the public. Here’s why Taylor is damaged goods:

“And this isn’t firsthand. It’s not secondhand. It’s not thirdhand,” Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., said to Taylor. “But if I understand this correctly, you’re telling us that Tim Morrison told you that Ambassador Sondland told him that the president told Ambassador Sondland that Zelensky would have to open an investigation into Biden?” “That’s correct,” Taylor admitted.

“So do you have any other source that the president’s goal in making this request was anything other than The New York Times?” Zeldin asked. “I have not talked to the president,” Taylor said. “I have no other information from what the president was thinking.”

As damaging as that is, it isn’t the only vulnerability. Here’s another vulnerability:

“So, if nobody in the Ukrainian government is aware of a military hold at the time of the Trump-Zelensky call, then, as a matter of law and as a matter of fact, there can be no quid pro quo, based on military aid,” Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor, said. “I just want to be real clear that, again, as of July 25th, you have no knowledge of a quid pro quo involving military aid.”

“July 25th is a week after the hold was put on the security assistance,” Taylor testified. “And July 25th, they had a conversation between the two presidents, where it was not discussed.” “And to your knowledge, nobody in the Ukrainian government was aware of the hold?” Ratcliffe asked. “That is correct,” Taylor responded.

This is the Democrats’ defense of Taylor’s testimony:

I won’t belittle Taylor’s service to the nation through the military. What he did was commendable. With that said, I don’t have any difficulty saying that I’m capable of saying that Taylor’s testimony is filled with holes simply because he didn’t participate in the phone call. What Taylor did, though, was verify that Ukraine didn’t know that the military aid was being withheld. If Zelensky didn’t know the aid was being withheld, that means that a quid pro quo couldn’t have been proposed.

Democrat Rep. Jim Himes was 8-years-old when Richard Nixon resigned as President. Now he’s insisting that “Trump’s actions worse than what was seen during the Nixon administration.” That means he’s joined Carl Bernstein in the ‘Worse than Watergate’ Club.

When Bernstein recites the line that X, Y or Z is “worse than Watergate”, he knows that’s good for a contract extension with CNN. When Himes says it, he sounds like a wet-behind-the-ears punk. Then there’s Himes’ flimsy explanation for his belief:

“These are abuses of power by any stretch of the imagination that requires a response,” Himes said, after claiming that “we are looking at abuse of power and a level of corruption here that makes the Nixon impeachment look like child’s play.” He supported that statement by claiming that Nixon himself did not participate in the Watergate break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters, and that “nobody died in Ukraine because Nixon held up aid to a very vulnerable nation.”

Anyone that lived through that nightmare knows that breaking into the Watergate Hotel wasn’t the thing that sparked the outrage of a nation. Between the antiwar protests and President Nixon telling the FBI that they didn’t need a warrant to surveil the protesters, that’s what sparked Watergate. That’s what constitutes a true abuse of office. That’s what constitutes a true constitutional crisis.

The Democrats’ insistence that President Trump needed help with dispatching Biden is beyond laughable. Have they seen his campaign of gaffes? Have they seen his flat-footed debate performances? Do Democrats think that President Trump is the least bit worried about ‘Sleepy’ Joe Biden? That’s completely different than Nixon’s attitude in 1972.

Nixon was paranoid about whether he’d defeat McGovern. That’s why he ordered the break-in of the DNC Headquarters. President Trump doesn’t have that worry about Biden. What worried President Trump is the history of corruption in Ukraine. Unlike other presidents, Trump insisted on holding up aid until he was certain that the aid was going to the people who would use it to combat Russians.

By the time President Trump brought up the Bidens, the call was almost over. If he was that worried about Joe Biden, wouldn’t he have mentioned it earlier, rather than as an afterthought?


This is very good news if it happens:

Himes said that he predicts public, televised hearings will begin “some time in the next two or three weeks,” but said they still need to interview more witnesses behind closed doors before that happens. Himes did say that transcripts of the closed hearings will be released.

The transcripts of the depositions should be interesting. We’ll get to see who’s been spinning wildly and who’s been telling the truth. It’s difficult to picture Adam Schiff being truthful. It’s easy picturing John Ratcliffe being transparent, though.

I can’t wait for this manufactured fiasco to be over. If I don’t hear Jim Himes or Carl Bernstein insist that the next scandal is “worse than Watergate”, that’s just fine with me.

On Friday, Liz Cheney dropped a put-up-or-shut-up bombshell right into Speaker Pelosi’s lap that puts Pelosi in an impossible situation. Ms. Cheney made the following demands:

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., on Friday called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to release the full transcripts of all depositions in the Trump impeachment inquiry, and demanded the end to what she called “selective leaking” of documents to the media.

“Despite the vote in the House on October 31, House Democrats continue to conduct the partisan effort to impeach the President in secret,” Cheney wrote in a letter to Pelosi.

“Your duty to the Constitution and the American people, as well as fundamental fairness, requires that you immediately release the full transcripts of all depositions taken since you pronounced the beginning of an impeachment inquiry on September 24, 2019,” the letter says.

During Thursday’s impeachment debate, Pelosi indicated that she wants more transparency and accountability:

Ms. Pelosi needs to prove that “transparency and accountability” are more than just pleasing-sounding words. If she wants to give vulnerable freshmen Democrats a shot at re-election, she needs to be sincere. Thus far, she’s been the opposite of sincere. That won’t convince people that you’re fair-minded. It’ll convince people that you’re playing a game.

Playing a game during something serious like impeachment is the best way to tell people that Democrats aren’t serious about making Americans’ lives better. That’s the fastest ticket to the minority. This gamesmanship won’t help Democrats retain their majority, either:

“I get it, my friends across the aisle want to talk about process, process, process,” Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said. “But it’s interesting that not one of them wants to talk about the president’s conduct — and that speaks volumes.”

Let’s be clear about this. With the transcripts hidden in Schiff’s SCIF and the witnesses’ testimony, aka the witnesses answers to questions, off-limits to the public, how much substance is available to talk about? Further, with Schiff’s interrupting of witnesses and acting like Lt. Col. Vindman’s defense attorney, it’s impossible to get beyond process.

Mack McLarty nailed it with this:

McLarty said he believes that Trump is trying to do a version of what “President Clinton was able to do pretty successfully with the benefit of history,” which is to say he is still “engaged in [fighting] and working for the American people.”

“President Clinton was able to compartmentalize that if you will, and he chose to have separate tracks. To date, President Trump has not chosen to have separate tracks,” said McLarty. “But, I think it’s important that the American people feel that their president is still engaged in working with them and has his eye on the ball of the myriad of issues, challenges and problems.”

“I think as Americans we’re all concerned about our government, about our country and about the people in our country and how we can make our country better. So, in that regard, no one welcomes this kind of controversy, further division within the country, and an impeachment process,” he said.

Each time Schiff, the Democrats’ Impeachment Committee Chairman, acts like the Democrats’ key witnesses, it’s proof that Democrats aren’t fair. Then there’s this:

Chairman Schiff has likewise refused to allow any inquiry by Republicans into these material facts which may bear on the credibility and motivation of the whistleblower and perhaps Chairman Schiff,” Ratcliffe said. “Republicans have been and continue to be deprived of the ability to investigate these material facts which can only be ascertained from the sworn testimony of Chairman Schiff, his staff and the whistleblower.”

If Schiff and Pelosi don’t release the transcripts of the witnesses’ testimony, the American people will know that Democrats aren’t serious about anything other than shoving impeachment down the American peoples’ throats.

If Speaker Pelosi sincerely believed in the Constitution’s protections, she wouldn’t have published this set of impeachment rules. Every ‘right’ granted to President Trump and/or Republicans, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler are allowed to take away. It isn’t that President Trump and Republicans weren’t ‘given’ some rights. It’s that the rights that they were given can also be taken away.

Unless the House makes the Republicans’ rights ironclad, Senate Republicans should publish a statement5 minutes after the House votes on Ms. Pelosi’s rules. The Senate’s statement should state without hesitation that the Senate won’t recognize the House’s articles of impeachment until a) all hearings from this point forward must be public, b) all GOP witness requests must be granted, c) all transcripts from previous witnesses must immediately be made available to the members of the Intel, Foreign Affairs, Oversight & Reform and Judiciary Committee members.

Without those rights guaranteed, the Senate should emphatically state that the House’s witch hunt won’t be taken as a legitimate investigation. Further, the Senate should emphatically make known that, because the House investigation wasn’t legitimate, the impeachment will be considered invalidated upon arrival to the Senate. That would send the signal to Ms. Pelosi and the freshmen Democrats that they’ll be taking a vote that’s meaningless. The message to the House would be that these vulnerable freshmen Democrats would cast a provocative, meaningless vote that immediately endangers Ms. Pelosi’s freshmen. Ms. Pelosi is lots of things but being an incompetent bean-counter isn’t one of those things. She’s very good at what she does, especially counting noses.

The minute the testimony transcripts are made public, including the cross-examinations of each witness, Republicans should examine the contents of those transcripts. The minute Republicans find testimony that doesn’t match Schiff’s spin, Republicans should highlight the discrepancy between Schiff spin and the transcript.

This hearing explains why Ms. Pelosi didn’t pick Jerry Nadler to be the public face of the Democrats’ impeachment investigation:

Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler have repeatedly told us that the Mueller Report would provide the proof to impeach President Trump. It didn’t. Next, Schiff and Nadler insisted that having Mueller testify would breath life into their witch hunt. This cross-examination by John Ratcliffe ended that pipe dream:

That’s why Pelosi wouldn’t let Nadler or Schiff conduct their hearings in public. These aren’t talented people. They’re idiots that got embarrassed in public. That’s why President Trump’s rights were violated. The dominant denigrating description for Schiff’s proceedings was that of a kangaroo court. I’d argue that the better fit is that of the Three Stooges, although I’m open to the argument that the Three Stooges were way funnier than Schiff and Nadler.

It isn’t that Republicans are afraid of fighting this faux impeachment on the merits. It’s that the argument over constitutional principles was easier. If Democrats think that John Ratcliffe, Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows aren’t confident in their ability to utterly dismantle the Democrats’ case, they’re foolish.

It’s time for Republicans to fight for these foundational constitutional principles. The Democrats’ frequent violations of President Trump’s rights aren’t just a threat to President Trump. They’re a threat to future presidents, too.