The Boston Globe is a proud member of what conservatives call “the mainstream media” (MSM). This group of newspapers and broadcasters have a “Liberal” bias and comprise the vast majority of news journalists in the country.
Newspaper journalism has professional guidelines which suggest that “news” reporting must have a firewall between it and “opinion” reporting. But the MSM has been blurring this line, perhaps for decades, but at least for years, and it has certainly gotten much worse under the current presidency.
While the MSM’s initial goal was to defeat Trump, and then to damage him so he couldn’t be successful, when that didn’t work they then moved to assist the Democrats in trying to remove him from office. This is why we’ve had a three-year impeachment charade. The goal now is to tarnish Trump to affect the 2020 election. The Democrats with the media’s help are doing what they accused Trump of doing in the impeachment trial, but 100x worse. They are trying to prevent Trump from running for re-election. Talk about interference.
Meanwhile, the media’s complicity has done real damage to their profession and what little integrity they hoped to hold on to. Much of the public views them as biased, and half of the public no longer uses their services because they have lost their trust.
Because of this bias in the news media, many Liberals who still read newspapers or watch the MSM networks are under mistaken impressions from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Adam Schiff, and a host of other Democrat politicians, that the Constitutional rights of an individual who becomes president no longer apply. These partisan Democrats are trying to directly affect the 2020 election because they can’t tolerate four more years of Donald Trump and they don’t see any of their candidates as potential winners.
So what this boils down to is the Democrats asking the Senate (and by extension, the public) to not allow Trump to be president because he asked President Zelensky to look into some obvious shenanigans involving the Bidens, one of whom was running for the Democrat nomination, while they sought to interfere in the upcoming election and having it decided by 535 members of Congress instead of 120 million voters.
Was the phone call “perfect”? Of course not. President Trump, our narcissist-in-chief, thinks he is perfect so anything he does must be perfect. He is not…but he has been a great president, flaws and all. His alleged wrongdoing was political in nature, not criminal. Donald Trump’s opponents probably don’t need yet another reason not to vote for him, but now they have one. He asked that a political rival be looked into by a foreign government when that rival was engaged in obvious corruption. Biden deserves an investigation, but it can’t be spearheaded by Trump while Biden is a candidate for his office and he is running for re-election. Trump’s sin, somewhat minor in nature relative to a presidential impeachment, is violating “the appearance of a conflict of interest.” Asking for his rival to be investigated might involve ulterior motives, but since we can’t know Trump’s motives, he is precluded from taking such action because of the appearance of a conflict.
Violating the “appearance of a conflict of interest” is normally a serious violation but nowhere near impeachment-serious. Censure is the strongest action the Congress should take in this matter.
Rudy Giuliani’s involvement is a footnote to this saga, but I would suggest he was very interested and focused on 2016, not 2020. He was investigating how Trump was targeted for defeat and whether foreign governments were involved. He tried to do this as a “private citizen” but that is obviously impossible. It was a bad plan. Trump won in 2016 and he should have allowed the Justice Department to do their probe and stayed out of it.
In my view, Trump asked for Biden to be investigated because he was interested in going after Biden’s corruption, not to get him in 2020, but to get him for 2016. The Obama-Biden administration is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the FBI, CIA, and Justice Department which spied on the Trump campaign. Trump is probably looking for payback, and I don’t blame him (but I would have suggested he drop it, had I been his adviser.)
The president’s legal team did a great job. I obviously didn’t hear all of their work (and could barely stand listening to the lies and spin from the House prosecutors) but a Senate “trial” is where the case is presented and the Senate votes. The burden of proof is on the House side, and they do their “due diligence” investigation before it goes to the Senate. The process must work this way, as there is no other way it can work. If the President does something impeachable, all of Congress cannot be paralyzed for a year or more while a “trial” takes place. So the House investigates and develops the case, deposes and interviews witnesses, gets documents, etc., and then it reviews all the evidence and decides whether to charge the president (“impeach”). If the articles of impeachment pass, the evidence goes to the Senate.
The Senate can do what it wants, but what it shouldn’t do is re-investigate the case. At a trial, with a jury ready to hear evidence, you don’t start the process from scratch. You don’t decide to start interviewing, deposing, and then having witnesses testify who have not even been questioned first because that process takes months. Is the “jury” supposed to sit there waiting for “months” while this goes on? From a practical point of view, how would jurors even remember the evidence if the trial goes on for several months or even a year or two?
If the Senate were to “call witnesses,” it would only be for those who have already testified in the House. The Democrats’ mantra that we can’t have a trial without witnesses and documents is extremely disingenuous. The House produced thousands of pages of documents and called dozens of witnesses.
The House did their “investigation” in less than three months from start to finish. The Mueller investigation into the last attempt to charge Trump and impeach him took over two years. That was a thorough and complicated job, of course, but even the evidence in the current impeachment would certainly take a lot of time.
When Ken Starr investigated Clinton, that took at least a year. And that was over a simple act in a White House side room, and then the coverup of that act by President Clinton.
Had President Trump been trying to hide his actions, he would never have released the transcript. He thinks the call was “perfect,” so obviously he sees nothing wrong with asking a foreign leader to investigate his political rival. That could be because he feared Joe Biden in 2020, but I seriously doubt that. Joe is being called a moderate, and I guess that term is relative when your opponents include two socialists. In my view, Trump’s actions and reactions go to his state of mind, which was all about the 2016 election, not the 2020 election. If he was trying to hurt his upcoming rival, he would not have agreed to release the call transcript which might be direct evidence of that.
From the transcript, which is still the best evidence we have seen in the impeachment trial, Trump was interested in the Biden investigation and in finding out more about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. If both events were about 2016, then Trump’s conduct clearly was not impeachable. Asking for an investigation (or help with one) into election interference by a foreign government or its citizens is routine and has been done in the Mueller investigation, just to name one. So the central impeachment question is about what was in Trump’s mind. Was he asking about the Bidens because of 2016 or 2020?
Now we get to John Bolton. Bolton reportedly has written that Trump was interested in investigating the Bidens in May of 2019. He wanted Bolton to work with Rudy Giuliani to get Ukraine to do investigations. Bolton, perhaps not believing a private citizen should be involved in potential matters of state like this, refused to go along. Bolton then wrote that in August 2019, Trump was still interested in having Ukraine do investigations, and he had a motive to hold up the foreign aid to encourage Ukraine to do so.
But all of this is already known. We have the call transcript and Trump clearly asks Ukraine to look into the two matters. We know the aid was held up, possibly as an encouragement to get Ukraine to do what Trump wanted. But if it was about 2016, there was nothing wrong.
John Bolton’s manuscript has not leaked out WHY Trump wanted Ukraine to look into the Bidens. Did Trump tell Bolton that it was because he feared “Sleepy” Joe in 2020 and was trying to leverage US aid to smear his rival with unfounded, made-up dirt?
But that is the only theory that would in any way justify removal from office. And there is no evidence of this.
Now even if Trump believed this, it is nearly impossible to prove. Trump and Bolton were not “friends.” They had major policy disagreements. Trump might confide to his wife his deepest, darkest fears about Joe Biden, but he won’t spill his guts to John Bolton. That is inconceivable. And if Bolton were ever to testify to that, much as I like Bolton, I would have to believe he was making it up because his feelings were hurt by being fired.
The burden of proof is on the House managers. They have a theory (Trump tried to interfere in the 2020 election) and have not come close to proving their case. Trump gets and deserves the Constitutional presumption of innocence.
Their theory is very hard to prove because there are no documents or witness testimony that Trump’s motive was about the 2020 election. We already know that what he did wasn’t a crime (no crime was charged in the articles of impeachment). It isn’t enough to show that Trump held up aid to get Ukraine to do investigations. Even if that is proven, the motive is unclear. And motive is what this case is about.
So in conclusion, what has come out about Bolton is already known. Going through a three-, six-, or 12-month process to resolve the “executive privilege” issues of having close, confidential advisers being forced to testify would paralyze the Senate. If the House wanted Bolton’s testimony, they should have sought to get it through the legal process. If that takes a year, so be it. It is what it is, and they could have removed Trump in 2021 had he been re-elected.
Instead, the House hurried the process because they wanted to tar Trump with being an impeached president. They had a very flimsy, circumstantial case which did not show election interference. They wanted the Senate to do their work, and are now calling the Senate’s process a cover-up. The partisan spin continues. The American public probably can’t wait for this saga to end.
It is possible the House continues to go after Trump, and several House members have indicated that future impeachments are still on the table. But I would note that in my non-legal view, President Trump could never be charged with this particular offense again once the Senate votes, because that would be “double jeopardy,” another Constitutional protection the President gets. The Democrats will have to come up with a brand new theory for their next impeachment hoax.
Allen Nitschelm is publisher of PublicEditorMA.com. He critiques the Boston Globe, mostly focusing on the bias in their news reporting. News articles are graded for bias, and the website has a listing of the average bias ratings for all reporters reviewed. See our website for more information and the four categories of articles we publish.
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