Blogger Candidate Forum is taking a break from the High Hollerdays to post a few thoughts on the impeachment inquiry. Needless to say, things are hotting up. Let us begin.
|Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi|
On Tuesday September 24,
Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi announce that the lower chamber of Congress would open a formal impeachment inquiry on the President of the United States Donald Trump. Speaker Pelosi delivered her remarks,
Today, I am announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry,.... The President must be held accountable. No one is above the law
Actions taken to date by the President have seriously violated the Constitution,.... (cnn.com; Sept. 24, 2019; date accessed Sept. 30, 2019)
This represents a huge step for Speaker Pelosi, who spent the better part of a year waiting for favorable auspices before announcing the inquiry. Now is the time but do not celebrate or commiserate just yet. We still have a long way to go and with an election edging closer everyday, a lot can and will happen. Let us take a step back and see what we know so.
|Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky|
The formal impeachment inquiry announcement was the denouement outcry from House Democrats after revelations that Mr. Trump, in a 25 July phone, pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate VPOTUS Joseph Biden and his son Hunter. We also now during that infamous phone, Mr. Trump offered the services of Attorney General William Barr and he offered a military aid package, already approved by Congress, in exchange for incriminating information on the Bidens. A few days prior to the call, Mr. Trump instructed acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to pause the disbursement of the $391 million aid package, citing concerns about improper use. For the record, there has been no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of the Bidens. The Candidate Forum had a chance to skim through the phone call notes and it is easy to infer that the president wanted some kind of quid pro quo agreement with Pres. Zelensky (cnn.com; Sept. 26, 2019; date accessed Sept. 30, 2019). As it turns out, the Ukrainians were not the only ones contacted.
|Russian President Vladimir Putin|
Yesterday, Vox reported that "House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) would like to obtain more of President Donald Trump's phone calls with world leaders--especially those with Russian President Vladimir Putin,..." (vox.com; Sept. 29, 2019; date accessed). Not exactly something President Putin is wants. The New York Times reported that over the past three years, Mr. Trump spoke eleven times over the phone with Pres. Putin (nytimes.com; Sept. 27, 2019; date accessed Sept. 30, 2019). The contents of those phone calls have mostly kept confidential. There are also reports floating around the digital void that Mr. Trump spoke with the leaders of China, North Korea, and Australia. One possible common denominator, entering into a hard quid pro quo agreement: real or imagined incriminating information on political rivals in exchange for aid packages or other like object of equal value. If this is true, then it is grounds for impeachment and trial in the Senate. We also know is an anonymous intelligence operative assigned to the White House filed a complaint regarding the inappropriateness of the phone calls.
|Who is the whistleblower?|
Not long after the July 25 phone call, an anonymous complaint was filed by an intelligence operative regarding the president's use of the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country (cnbc.com; Sept. 26, 2019; date accessed Sept. 30, 2019) in next year's election. You can find an annotated copy of the complaint at cnn.com. The House Intelligence Committee released a redacted version last Thursday (cnbc.com; Sept. 26, 2019), in which the Mr. Trump asks Pres. Zelensky to "do us a favor" and investigate VPOTUS Biden and his son Hunter. According to campaign finance law (fec.gov; date accessed Sept. 30, 2019) to "solicit help from foreign nationals, foreign governments, foreign businesses or foreign political parties" (cnbc.com; Sept. 26, 2019). Sound familiar? Remember we talked about this in connection to the Special Counsel's Report? Allow The Forum to briefly jog your memories.
The first volume of the Special counsel deals with attempts to collude with a foreign entity, in this case Russia. Members of the Trump campaign attempted to solicit the help of Russian operatives in order to gain incriminating information (real or imagined) on then Trump rival former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This went precisely nowhere because the Russians concluded that the Trump campaign had nothing to offer of equal value--i.e. soft quid pro quo. One election victory and three years later, the situation is different and Mr. Trump has the power of the presidency, enabling him to offer something of equal value.
This is just a few thoughts that The Candidate Forum has been considering for the past few days. On Wednesday, we will talk about how the impeachment inquiry is affecting the elections.