Archive for the ‘John Ratcliffe’ Category

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.

I know that’s a silly-sounding headline but it’s starting to gain credibility. First, let’s start with Sharyl Attkisson’s article that explains the usefulness of quid pro quos and how it isn’t the sinister practice that the MSM and other Democrats are portraying it as.

Diplomatic quid pro quo, requiring certain actions, behavior or “conditions” in return for U.S. aid, is common, according to current and former diplomats I spoke with, and foreign policy guidance. “Under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, the President may determine the terms and conditions under which most forms of assistance are provided.”

That makes sense since we want this aid spent efficiently. We don’t want it sent to corrupt nations where the oligarchs get rich but the problem isn’t fixed.

Back to the Democrats’ notion that it’s improper, or possibly even criminal, for President Trump to hold out U.S. aid in order to achieve cooperation from Ukraine’s new president. On Tuesday, headlines were made from widely leaked closed-door testimony by William Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who assumed that position in July. Taylor reportedly testified he was “alarmed” that the Trump administration supposedly was withholding military assistance unless Ukraine committed to investigating 2016 election corruption, including alleged wrongdoing by the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Yet Ambassador Taylor is very familiar with the process of “conditioning” U.S. foreign aid. He spoke of it extensively in November 2011 after he had just been handpicked by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a new position as the State Department’s Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions, specifically Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.

“You’ll condition your aid based on the direction in which these countries are going? a reporter asked Taylor at a news conference. “Our assistance is part of our foreign policy. This is clear,” Taylor replied. He went on to give examples of how U.S. aid would be used as leverage. Quid pro quo.

This isn’t sinister or nefarious, which the Democrats have insisted. It’s just 2 nations acting in their own self-interest.

Second, the goods must actually be delivered. In this case, President Trump would have had to receive the requested packet of “dirt” on Biden, in order to trigger release the U.S. aid to Ukraine. So far, there is not an allegation that Part Two ever occurred. Without delivery of the dirt, there’s no quid pro quo. Just a quid.

This is a semi-controversial statement but I’ll say it anyway. Joe Biden has repeatedly said that neither he or Hunter Biden did anything wrong. That’s BS. Having the vice president’s son getting a $1,000,000/year salary for a no-show job that he wasn’t qualified for is the definition of doing something wrong. Having Vice President Biden insist that he didn’t know anything about his son’s situation isn’t credible.

After watching this speech, I’m left wondering how this clown could be the Democrats’ frontrunner:

Senate Majority Leader McConnell has signed onto Sen. Lindsey Graham’s resolution that urges “the House of Representatives to begin respecting the precedents and due process safeguards that have been abandoned thus far in impeachment inquiry proceedings.” Steny Hoyer said that there would be public hearings after the Democrats’ unconstitutional investigation. When that happens, expect John Ratcliffe to demolish the Democrats’ star witnesses during his cross-examination of them. The Democrats’ case isn’t that strong. Bill Taylor, the chargé d’affaires for Ukraine, for instance, only has second- and third-hand information. That’s worthless. The Democrats’ faux whistleblower got major things wrong, starting with the number of quid pro quos President Trump supposedly offered Ukraine. At one point in time, the Democrats’ faux whistleblower was the cornerstone of the Democrats’ impeachment case. Now, Democrats are doing everything possible to prevent this faux whistleblower from testifying. That isn’t a sign of strength. When the Democrats’ faux whistleblower testifies, complete with his anti-Trump biases, expect him to get annihilated on cross-examination.

From a strategic standpoint, Pelosi never should’ve announced the impeachment inquiry before the complaint was published. She essentially went by gossip surrounding the complaint. Building any case on that quicksand is foolish. Building a case for impeachment is downright stupid.

After this is behind us, expect voters to punish Democrats. This nation went through 4 years of torture for nothing. Democrats should pay a steep political price for that decision.

Republicans took an important first step in piercing Adam Schiff’s star chamber on Wednesday when Matt Gaetz, Steve Scalise and other Republicans stormed Adam Schiff’s SCIF Sanctuary. I don’t doubt that they’ll be prepared for a second such attempt. That’s why I recommend changing things up the next time testimony is taken.

Instead of storming the gates, Republicans who are allowed into Schiff’s SCIF should take mental notes of what the witnesses say on cross-examination. The minute the minute a witness says something that contradicts their opening statement, that Republican should exit the room, walk right up to a camera, then tell the camera what the witness just said.

If you say that House rules prevent that, I’ll counter that by saying that the Constitution trumps House rules. If you’re wondering what I mean by that, it’s simple. The section of the Constitution that I’m referring to is Article I, Section VI, often referred to as the Speech and Debate Clause. The important part of that clause states “They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

That means that a Republican congressman or woman leaving Schiff’s SCIF can’t be questioned for making a speech. That part of the Constitution has been upheld most recently in 1966 and 1972. Remember Harry Reid’s speeches on the Senate floor accusing Mitt Romney of not paying taxes for 10 years?

Sen. Reid wasn’t punished for slandering Mitt Romney:

Despite slandering a man from the Senate floor, Harry Reid retired a happy man. If the Speech & Debate Clause protected him while he slandered a presidential candidate, Republicans should use the Speech & Debate Clause to shine sunlight into Schiff’s SCIF. The only precaution I’d make it to not mention anything that’s legitimately classified.

If Democrats insist on fighting dirty, then it’s time that Republicans fight fire with fire. The first thing that I’d state as justification is that if Democrats won’t conduct transparent hearings, then Republicans will deploy the options that the Constitution gives them to provide transparency. I’d also state clearly that I’m prepared to stop the minute Ms. Pelosi and the Democrats actually implement a set of rules that don’t change from witness-to-witness and day-to-day. Mention that there’s lots of different ways to skin Democrats’ rats. It’s important to remind Ms. Pelosi’s Democrats that the Speech & Debate Clause extends to Republicans’ aids, too.

The point is to highlight to the Democrats that there’s an infinite supply of different ways to pierce Schiff’s SCIF. Each time Republicans utilize this option, they’ll expose the Democrats’ dishonesty. In fact, I’d tell the NRCC to highlight Schiff’s dishonesty in an online video. Start with Schiff’s parody speech. Then I’d transfer to the Meet the Press/”more than circumstantial” oldie. Remind people that Schiff is the most corrupt, dishonest politician in DC in several generations.

The point of this is to first level the playing field. Next, it’s important that Democrats understand that you’re just as ruthless as they are. Third, remind them that they’ve got much more to lose that they do. Tonight on Tucker Carlson’s show, Matt Gaetz said that Republicans need to understand that they can’t “use Marquee de Queensbury rules while a pack of rabid hyenas” are attacking you.

Finally, I hate to disagree with my friend Ed Morrissey, albeit ever so slightly. Ed wrote “No one should trust any of these reports until we see the transcripts. In fact, no one should put any confidence in this process until it gets conducted openly, honestly, and fairly.”

I’ll stipulate that we won’t know with certainty that we’re reading the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth until the testimony transcripts are made public. That being said, I’m pretty confident that I know the truth because John Ratcliffe has proven himself in the hearings I’ve watched to be an honest man with lots of intelligence. When he told Martha McCallum that he personally cross-examined Taylor and got him to admit that “neither this witness nor any other witness has provided any evidence that there was a quid pro quo, any evidence that the Ukrainians were aware that any military aid was being withheld on July 25th. Unless and until they can bring in a witness who is willing to say that there was knowledge by someone who speaks Ukrainian to that fact, a legal quid pro quo is impossible.”

Meanwhile, Adam Schiff, the Democrats’ Impeachment Chairman, has been caught lying multiple times. I’ll stipulate that we can’t trust Schiff’s statements but I’m fairly comfortable trusting John Ratcliffe because Ratcliffe has a history of being trustworthy and he was the man who questioned Taylor. Getting the information from the man who questioned Taylor matters because it isn’t hearsay like most of the information that’s gotten leaked thus far.

Finally, I’m willing to trust the transcripts.

For the past few days, Democrats have criticized Republicans for whining about the Democrats’ Impeachment Chairman Adam Schiff’s “process”, hinting that Republicans can’t win on the evidence. First, it’s important to admit that we don’t have any proof of wrongdoing. The leaked information suggests multiple things, all of which can be explained as either damning or thoroughly plausible.

Next, it’s essential to admit that Democrats, including the Democrats’ Impeachment Chairman Adam Schiff, have admitted that they’re acting as a grand jury. That’s a legitimate constitutional crisis for Democrats because the only federal personnel permitted to impanel grand juries are employed by the DOJ, which is part of the executive branch. Nobody in the legislative branch is constitutionally authorized to impanel a grand jury.

The question thus becomes whether Republicans are fighting for legitimate constitutional principles, for process or both. At this point, it’s apparent that Republicans are fighting for constitutional principles like separation of powers, due process and the right of the accused to confront their accuser. Further, Adam Schiff, the Democrats’ Impeachment Chairman, has admitted that he’s violated the Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine. Schiff is guilty of violating President Trump’s due process rights because we’ve heard from people who participated in the hearings that each day brings a different set of rules. It’s impossible to uphold a person’s due process rights when you don’t have a process.

After hearing the Democrats’ spin that this process was damning, John Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor, set things straight in this interview with Martha McCallum:

It isn’t indisputable that Democrats have put a strong case together. When Bill Taylor is called as a ‘witness’, he admitted in his opening statement that he didn’t have firsthand information. If that’s in his 15-page opening statement, how can Democrats say that his testimony was explosive? In a judicial setting, his wouldn’t be permitted to testify because it’s hearsay, which isn’t permitted.

Republicans aren’t fighting for process. They’re fighting for the most important constitutional principles. The judicial system couldn’t exist if the right to defend yourself didn’t exist. The judicial system couldn’t exist if defendants’ attorneys weren’t allowed to cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses. The judicial system couldn’t exist demolish a witness’s testimony.

Apparently, that’s what John Ratcliffe did to Ambassador Taylor’s testimony. Adam Schiff isn’t interested in constitutional principles. Schiff’s interested in achieving a specific outcome. That outcome is overturning the 2016 presidential election. It doesn’t bother him if that overturns the will of the people.

Overturning the will of the people is horrific. In fact, it’s intolerable. What’s worse is overturning the will of the people while violating President Trump’s most important constitutional protections.

It’s infuriating to think that it’s happening in the bottom of a building known as the People’s House. This is proof that, with Adam Schiff, the Democrats’ Impeachment Committee Chairman, it’s amazing how low it can go.

Just 2 months ago, I didn’t know who Bill Taylor was. Now I know that he’s another career diplomat who doesn’t like it that President Trump is implementing the foreign policy that the American people elected him to implement. Tuesday, Taylor testified that “President Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate both election interference and a company linked to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son — and was willing to hold up military aid and a White House meeting to get a public announcement from the country that the probes were underway.”

Even if that’s true, that’s still a nothingburger. Unfortunately for Taylor, there was a man of integrity in the room during Taylor’s testimony. That man’s name is John Ratcliffe. Ratcliffe is a former US attorney who now represents TX-04. Tonight, Ratcliffe appeared on The Story to be interviewed by Martha McCallum. After Ratcliffe said that he couldn’t repeat what he said in the secret room, Ratcliffe figured out a legal way to say what happened during his cross-examination of Taylor. Here’s the video of that interview:

Predictably, Democrats described today’s testimony as “the most damning they’ve heard.” Ratcliffe had a different perspective. First, though, is part of what Taylor testified to:

“I was alarmed by what Mr. Morrison told me about the Sondland-Yermak conversation. This was the first time I had heard that the security assistance, not just the White House meeting, was conditioned on the investigations.”

In this instance, Taylor’s testimony was third-hand information at best. Third-hand testimony heard behind closed doors and which doesn’t come with a transcript of Congressman Ratcliffe’s cross-examination is virtually worthless.

Congressman Ratcliffe noted that “At the end of the day, this was about quid pro quo and whether the Ukrainians were aware that military aid was being withheld and on that most important issue, neither this witness nor any other witness has provided any evidence that there was a quid pro quo, any evidence that the Ukrainians were aware that any military aid was being withheld on July 25th. Unless and until they can bring in a witness who is willing to say that there was knowledge by someone who speaks Ukrainian to that fact, a legal quid pro quo is impossible.”

Ratcliffe also noted that “[Schiff] keeps trotting in career ambassadors who are alarmed at Donald Trump’s unconventional approach to foreign policy. Who’s surprised at that? And again, today, I found Ambassador Taylor to be very forthright. He had very strong opinions about Donald Trump’s approach to foreign policy, but again, the MSM keeps reporting that he provided evidence of a quid pro quo involving military aid is false. I questioned him on that and, under Adam Schiff’s rules, I can’t tell you what he said but I can tell you what he didn’t say. And he nor any other witness has provided testimony that the Ukrainians were aware that military aid was being withheld. You have a quid pro quo without the quo.”

Ratcliffe’s final major contribution of the interview came when he said this:

Martha, if this was a court case, the lawyers for the defense would be moving for a directed verdict. They’d be saying ‘this case isn’t allowed to go to a jury because the prosecution is missing an essential element of their case.’ There is no quid pro quo until someone from the Ukraine says ‘We knew that military aid was being withheld during that July 25th call and that testimony hasn’t come and it isn’t going to come.”

This impeachment case is collapsing, albeit behind closed doors. It isn’t just that the case is weak. It’s that the Senate is about to vote on Lindsey Graham’s resolution that essentially says that the House process has been a travesty:

Sen. Graham is right in pushing that the impeachment trial be dismissed without a trial if the Democrats’ Impeachment Chairman, aka Adam Schiff, isn’t willing to afford to President Trump the same rights that were granted to President Nixon and President Clinton. The House Democrats’ impeachment process is a travesty. It shouldn’t be treated like it was an honest investigation based on constitutional rights.