Of poisoned wells

Of poisoned wells

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By: Allen Nitschelm on November 24, 2019 | Media Criticism

This is a review of the following Boston Globe Article:
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The public hearings of the House Intelligence Committee on presidential impeachment are over, perhaps, and the expectation is that despite underwhelming evidence and lack of bipartisan support, the Democrat-majority Committee will vote along party lines to write a report and send it to the Judiciary Committee, where another process will begin. Judiciary is expected to perhaps hold more public hearings, vote on articles of impeachment, and then give it back to the full House for another party-line vote to impeach President Donald Trump. All this could happen before the end of the year, as Democrats are in quite a hurry to impeach the President as quickly as possible so as to cause as little disruption to the Democratic primary now taking place.

That primary is also in disarray. As the field of candidates very slowly dwindles because of Democratic National Committee rules for who can advance to the next public debate, new candidates continue to enter the race as they see the frontrunners stumble. Anything could happen between now and next November. Personally, I’m waiting for former President Obama to make his endorsement. That he is “chafing at the bit” is not surprising. He left on a fairly popular note in his Party only to see the Party move Far Left. Biden would probably have wrapped this up had Obama endorsed his former VP, but for some strange reason, Obama just can’t do it. Maybe it’s because his heart is really with Liz and Bernie, despite trying to project a more moderate philosophy as a candidate and president.

Politics are at the center of the impeachment hearings, make no mistake about it. That is because the process has been corrupted by the Democrats in charge, and in this article, I want to explain why. It has not been clearly explained by Republicans although they know it is unfair and have tried to impress voters with a list of the process violations. The Democrats counter with their narrative, and the public is left scratching its head.

When the impeachment inquiries started with secret testimony, Chairman Adam Schiff likened it to a “grand jury.” And I think this analogy is key to understand what has happened, and why it is unfair.

In a grand jury, the prosecutor gets to present a very one-sided case without the defendant present or their attorney participating. The idea is that the state has to be able to show reasonable cause for arresting someone. If, given the most advantageous setting and the lowest bar to cross, prosecutors can’t convince ordinary Americans that a target is worth arresting, investigating, and charging with a crime, then they haven’t met a bare minimum burden of proof.

Here is the key: because the testimony is secret and the defense can’t present their evidence, all grand jury proceedings are SECRET. And I think this is the link that Chairman Schiff wanted people to think of when he made his analogy. This is analogous to a grand jury because we are holding secret meetings to build our case. We are interviewing witnesses to decide whether or not to bring charges. We are “investigating,” not “prosecuting.”

All that would be fine, except for one inconvenient fact. Adam Schiff then started releasing sworn testimony. He released (unclassified) versions of the secret testimony. And then, he allowed Republicans to only recall witnesses to publicly testify who had already given their depositions in private. In other words, all public witnesses have been “screened” by his committee, and he got to decide which would be allowed to present their testimony to the public.

Now, Republicans were then given equal time to question Schiff’s witnesses. But that is a fundamentally unfair process, because it allowed Schiff to skew the facts and witnesses around the presumed guilty party. Selective leaking of just certain witnesses is also a violation, but it is nothing compared to being able to call only prosecution witnesses to the public witness stand. It is a gross violation. It makes the entire process invalid.

Had Schiff actually conformed to and followed the rules of the Grand Jury, perhaps one could make the case that the pre-investigation was necessary to determine if an investigation was warranted. But then, during the public phase, both sides should be able to call their own witnesses. You can’t have a “secret” grand jury that is one-sided, release the testimony, then have a “public” grand jury that is one-sided, and still insist that the process is fair.

This is a political process, not a criminal process. The normal grand jury rules of secrecy have been discarded. This two-step (first secret, then public) are both violations of a grand jury process when the first is selectively leaked to the public and the second is held in public, because only one side is allowed to be fully represented and to present its case.

Lucky for President Trump, the Democrats’ case for impeachment is extremely weak. Like previous attempts, this one is going to go nowhere. The Senate will never convict based on the so-called evidence that has been discussed. But if we look at things that way, it assumes that the process has been inherently fair and it has not.

What Chairman Schiff and Speaker Pelosi have concocted is a way to sway public opinion for impeachment. They present all this testimony that is pre-screened and as damaging as possible to the president, and they don’t allow his side to counter it with their own witnesses and their own questions to those witnesses. And then they watch the polls about impeachment. If they see that the public is convinced by their unethical show trial, they might gain confidence that they are convincing Americans that the President should be impeached. That was their play and it failed, but only because their evidence was so weak, hearsay, and circumstantial. Plus, no crime was committed. The best they can say is that President Trump was thinking about and trying to do something wrong, but he was thwarted by concern from his staff and other officials. Having “bad thoughts” is not impeachable, only “bad deeds” are.

To sum this up, Adam Schiff was trying to “poison the well” of American voters prior to a Judiciary Committee process to move forward on impeachment.

I am going to close with a link that I urge everyone to read, which is the letter from Senator Ron Johnson. Johnson is a “fact witness” who met with President Zelensky and discussed this matter with President Trump. He sounds truthful. His letter was requested by Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan, and is not under oath, but read the letter and decide if it is a consideration.

Someone like Sen. Johnson would surely have been called as a witness for the defense. His testimony would have made the Nightly News. His facts directly contradict some of the narrative that the Democrats have presented. I won’t go into all the details, but one thing that stuck out to me was when he talked with the President at the end of August or very early September and the President told him the several reasons why aid was being withheld to Ukraine, and it had nothing to do with an investigation of the Bidens, Burisma, or the 2016 election. This conversation occurred before the whistleblower complaint and House inquiry went forward, so it rebuts the narrative that Trump only released the aid because he was caught.

Here is the Johnson letter link: https://www.axios.com/ron-johnson-ukraine-jim-jordan-devin-nunes-6cd5a357-e8cd-4445-9498-76481c5ee9a0.html

What this shows, to me, is that people can have different interpretations depending on various factors. This means that people who are testifying about their opinions and assumptions are not necessarily “lying,” they are reporting what they perceive as the truth. But that truth changes depending on one’s perspective. What the Democrats in the House have done is showcase a parade of witnesses who all feel, for whatever reason, that President Trump did something wrong. Had the Republicans been in charge, perhaps their parade of witnesses would all have been “Ron Johnson”-type believers, and then the public perception would have been totally different. This is why someone’s opinion is not considered evidence and why we shouldn’t impeach a president based on opinions and conjecture and assumptions and people putting “2 and 2 together to get 4.”

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