Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Blogger Candidate Forum: The First Report Is In

Hello Everyone:

Sometimes current events dictate that Yours Truly's previously scheduled post has to be postponed because of current events.  In this case, the House of Representatives Foreign Intelligence Committee released its report summing up the findings of testimonies from the public hearings, conducted at the beginning of November.  Blogger Candidate Forum felt that it was necessary to step in today and report on the 300-page document and congressional Republicans' preemptive rebuttal.  Therefore, part two of a post on dead malls will postponed to another day.  One more thing, The Candidate Forum is quite dismayed over nominee candidate Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) dropping out of the race.  What started out as a campaign full of promise, quickly disintegrated because of lack of funds.  Another thing that caught The Candidate Forum's attention was an article in Vanity Fare magazine speculating the president standing down from election.   More on that later but for now shall we talk about the House Intelligence Committee report?

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Today, the Democratic majority House Intelligence Committee released its much anticipated report, summarizing the evidence it collected during two weeks of impeachment inquiry testimony, as well as closed door testimony.  The report cited two specific incidences of misconduct by the president: "obstruction of the House inquiry and withholding an official White House meeting and U.S. military aid from Ukraine on the condition of investigating a Trump political rival" (nbcnews.com; Dec. 3, 2019).  At a press conference, Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) outlined the committee's conclusions,

This report chronicles a scheme of the President of the United States to coerce an ally, Ukraine, that is at war with an adversary, Russia, into doing the president's political dirty work (Ibid).

The report was prepared by both the House Oversight and Foreign Affairs committee, explicitly did not suggest or recommend articles of impeachment, instead it emphatically implies that obstruction could be an one of the articles.  The report also explicitly pointed out that "past presidents who were the subject of impeachment inquires, unlike Trump, complied with subpoenas and requests for information from Congress" (Ibid).

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The finding of obstruction is described as a campaign of intimidation and casts Mr. Trump's efforts to flout congressional oversight as "unprecedented because of his refusal to hand over documents and make certain witnesses available.... it also noted that

the House gathered overwhelming evidence of his misconduct from courageous individuals where willing to follow the law" (Ibid)

The report went on to say,

...No other President has flouted the Constitution and power of Congress to conduct oversight to this extent...

...If left unanswered, President Trump's ongoing effort to thwart Congress' impeachment power risks doing grave harm to the harm the institution of Congress, the balance of power between our branches of government, and the Constitutional order that the President and every Member of Congress to protect and defend... (Ibid)

Here are two facts: First, Ukraine desperately needed the already earmarked $391 million military aide package as well as a face-to-face White House meeting between President Volodymr Zelensky and Mr. Trump.  Second, the president desperately wanted damaging information on potential political rival Vice President Joe Biden--real or imagined--as well as an investigation into a debunked conspiracy that Ukraine, not Russia was behind the 2016 election interference.

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House of Representatives Republican leadership

The House of Representatives Republican leadership was prepared with a preemptive rebuttal.  The "pre-buttal" takes aim at the impeachment inquiry, arguing "that the entire impeachment inquiry,..., was unfair and did not provide Trump or his legal team the opportunity to respond to allegations..."(npr.org; Dec. 2, 2019; date accessed Dec. 3, 2019).

The Republican report repeats the claim that Ukraine was behind the 2016 election interference, a theory debunked by American intelligence agencies and with resolute certainty by former National Security aide Fiona Hill.  Instead, the House Republicans argued that "President Trump acted out of 'genuine' concern about corruption in Ukraine and wariness about foreign aid in their defense of the president's actions..." (washingtonpost.com; Dec. 2, 2019; date accessed Dec. 3, 2019)

The 123-page draft report (Ibid) details Republican investigators' assertion that "Democrats failed to make the case that Trump committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by withholding military aid and a highly sought-after White House meeting to compel Ukraine to launch investigations into his political opponents" (Ibid).

The Republicans also say that the president's decision to ignore House documents requests and witness subpoenas pertaining to the president's dealings with Ukraine.  Rather, the draft reports contends, "the impeachment effort is 'an orchestrated campaign to upend political system'--one 'based on the accusations and assumptions of unelected bureaucrats who disagreed with President Trump's policy initiatives and processes" (Ibid).  Perhaps the House Republicans should re-read The Constitution and federal law because nowhere does it say the complaining parties have to be elected officials.  The reports reads,

The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, and none of the Democrats' witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor (Ibid)

The draft report will serve as the initial blueprint for defending the president as the impeachment questions moves on to the House Judiciary Committee hearings, set to start tomorrow.  From there, a floor vote and eventual trial in the Senate. A trial in the Senate could get pretty ugly, pretty fast.  The thought of that spectacle has The Candidate Forum wondering if there is an alternative.

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Mr. Donald Trump

This morning The Candidate Forum was scrolling through the Apple News feed when he came across a story posted by Vanity Fair (vanityfair.com; Dec. 3, 2019), encouraging the president to make the ultimate impeachment deal: abdicate.  Abdicate? you say.  That is for monarchs, right?  Yes, but William D. Cohan makes the following argument,

...arrange for a meeting, say at Camp David, with House leaders--... and cut a deal with them, literally for the history books.  In exchanges for the House leadership agreeing to drop impeachment proceedings, Trump would agree not to stand for reelection in 2020 and leave office, without commotion or regret, in January 2021 (Ibid).

Read the above statement over again.  In exchange for standing down from reelection and leaving office in January 2021 without so much as a peep.  The Candidate Forum is not sure if Mr. Cohan is joking or serious but it may be the best way for the president to claim that he did a good as president and leave on high note.  He could make himself the hero of his own story.  The president could claim he left a strong economy and did not get the United States involved in new conflicts.  The president could even designate his own successor, in this case, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.  Oh the delicious irony of the possibility of the Republicans, not Democrats, fielding the first female of color candidate for president.  Now would be the perfect time to cut some sort of deal with the Democrats because the impeachment process will only get worse, especially if it carries over into the election cycle.

Stay tuned for updates

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