Even before seeing the transcript of the July 25 call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Nancy Pelosi threw the door wide open to the impeachment of Donald Trump by the Democratic House.
Though the transcript did not remotely justify the advanced billing of a "quid pro quo," Pelosi set in motion a process that is already producing a sea change in the politics of 2020.
The great Beltway battle for the balance of this year, and perhaps next, will be over whether the Democrats can effect a coup against a president many of them have never recognized as legitimate and have sought to bring down since before he took the oath of office.
Pelosi on Tuesday started this rock rolling down the hill.
She has made impeachment, which did not even come up in the last Democratic debate, the issue of 2020. She has foreclosed bipartisan compromise on gun control, the cost of prescription drugs and infrastructure. She has just put her own and her party's fate and future on the line.
With Pelosi's assent that she is now open to impeachment, she turned what was becoming a cold case into a blazing issue. If the Democrats march up impeachment hill, fail and fall back, or if they vote impeachment only to see the Senate exonerate the president, that will be the climactic moment of Pelosi's career. She is betting the future of the House, and her party's hopes of capturing the presidency, on the belief she and her colleagues can persuade the country to support the indictment of a president for high crimes.
One wonders: Do Democrats blinded by hatred of Trump ever wonder how that 40% of the nation that sees him as the repository of their hopes will react if, rather than beat him at the ballot box, they remove him in this way?
The first casualty of Pelosi's cause is almost certain to be the front-runner for the party nomination. Joe Biden has already, this past week, fallen behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren in Iowa, New Hampshire and California. The Quinnipiac poll has her taking the lead nationally for the nomination, with Biden dropping into second place for the first time since he announced his candidacy.
By making Ukraine the focus of the impeachment drive in the House, Pelosi has also assured that the questionable conduct of Biden and son Hunter Biden will be front and center for the next four months before Iowa votes.
What did Joe do? By his own admission, indeed his boast, as vice president he ordered then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to either fire the prosecutor who was investigating the company that hired Hunter Biden for $50,000 a month or forgo a $1 billion U.S. loan guarantee that Kiev needed to stay current on its debts.
Biden insists the Ukrainian prosecutor was corrupt, that Hunter had done no wrong, that he himself was unaware of his son's business ties.
All these assertions have been contradicted or challenged.
There is another question raised by Biden's ultimatum to Kiev to fire the corrupt prosecutor or forgo the loan guarantee. Why was the U.S. guaranteeing loans to a Kiev regime that had to be threatened by the U.S. with bankruptcy to get it to rid itself of a prosecutor whom all of Europe supposedly knew to be corrupt?
Whatever the truth of the charges, the problem here is that any investigation of potential corruption of Hunter Biden, and of the role of his father, the former vice president, in facilitating it, will be front and center in presidential politics between now and New Hampshire.
This is bad news for the Biden campaign. And the principal beneficiary of Pelosi's decision that put Joe and Hunter Biden at the center of an impeachment inquiry is, again, Warren.
Warren already appears to have emerged victorious in her battle with Bernie Sanders to become the progressives' first choice in 2020. And consider how, as she is rising, her remaining opposition is fast fading.
Sen. Kamala Harris has said she is moving her campaign to Iowa for a do-or-die stand in the first battleground state. Sen. Cory Booker has called on donors to raise $1.7 million in 10 days, or he will have to pack it in. As Biden, Sanders, Harris and Booker fade, and "Mayor Pete" Buttigieg hovers at 5 or 6% in national and state polls, Warren steadily emerges as the probable nominee.
One measure of how deeply Biden is in trouble, whether he is beginning to be seen as too risky, given the allegations against him and his son, will be the new endorsements his candidacy receives after this week of charges and countercharges.
If there is a significant falling off, it could be fatal.
Patrick J. Buchanan
The transcript of President Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky is yet another illustration of the rule: Never ask a question you don't know the answer to.
But on the basis of one drama queen's overreaction to a rumor she'd heard about what was said on a phone call she didn't hear (I'm assuming the whistleblower is Christine Blasey Ford), the Democrats have launched impeachment proceedings against the president.
I guess they figured it's easier than flying to South Dakota with picks and chisels and carving Trump into Mount Rushmore. But it will have the same effect.
Now that the transcript has been released, it's The New York Times that doesn't want anyone to see it.
The transcript I'd like to see is the one of Nancy Pelosi reading the Trump transcript.
F@@@@@@CK! Whose f***ing idea was it to demand this goddamn transcript? F@CK! F@@CK! F@@@CK!
The absolute worst version for Trump -- i.e. the one being repeated non-stop on MSNBC -- is that he did exactly what Obama and Biden were doing to Ukraine: intimidating an ally into giving us something in exchange for the foreign aid we were giving them.
Biden himself bragged about getting Ukraine's prosecutor fired by threatening to withhold a big fat check from them.
The Democrats' argument is: No, no, no! When WE were pressuring Ukraine, we were doing it for good! Don't you understand? We're good; they're bad.
The other reason the media are going to have to bury this transcript is that Trump brought up a few items that the media have been hoping the public would never find out about.
Trump said: "There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it ... It sounds horrible to me."
Well, that's something the media haven't mentioned before. Ninety-nine percent of Americans will be hearing about the funny business with Biden's son, Hunter, for the first time with the release of this transcript.
Why did Vice President Biden order the Ukrainian president to fire the prosecutor investigating the Ukrainian company paying his son millions of dollars? Are Democrats claiming that this company was clean as a whistle and it was an absolute OUTRAGE that it was being investigated?
Ukraine was looking into the company that conveniently placed Hunter Biden on its board long before Trump came on the scene. Something must have made the Ukrainian prosecutor want to investigate Biden's company -- and it sure wasn't to curry favor with the Obama/Biden administration.
The second issue the media does not want anyone to think about is CrowdStrike.
What is CrowdStrike, you ask? That is the cybersecurity firm that is the sole source of the claim that the Russians hacked the DNC's emails -- which launched the conspiracy theories that tied our country in knots for the past three years.
The Russian collusion story was originally hatched by Hillary Clinton in the summer of 2016 to cover up the utter corruption revealed by the dump of Democratic National Committee emails on Wikileaks. As was her practice whenever a scandal threatened to engulf her, Hillary rushed out and told the press to investigate something else.
And "the great story" about the DNC email hack wasn't about a "vast right-wing conspiracy" -- as she claimed when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke. No, this time, it was a vast Russian conspiracy!
At the time, the entire media laughed at Hillary's Russian conspiracy nonsense -- The New York Times, New York Newsday, the Los Angeles Times and so on. But then Trump won the election, and suddenly the Russia conspiracy seemed totally believable. What else could explain how Americans could put this boob in the White House?
The subsequent three years of breathless Russia coverage was based entirely on the word of one cybersecurity firm, CrowdStrike, that the DNC's emails had been hacked by Russia. Recall that the DNC wouldn't allow the FBI or any other U.S. government official anywhere near its computers. That's precisely why so many cybersecurity experts doubted that it was the Russians: The FBI was never allowed to perform its own investigation.
CrowdStrike was founded by Ukrainian Dmitri Alperovitch (now an American citizen apparently -- because who isn't?) and funded by the fanatically anti-Russian Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk Foundation.
Talk about interfering with our democracy! Alperovitch and Pinchuk sent one political party and nine-tenths of the American media off on a wild goose chase into Russian collusion that, after years of accusations, investigations and embarrassing conspiracy-mongering ... turned up goose eggs.
The entire Russian insanity was launched by a couple of Ukrainians. I think a lot of us would like to get to the bottom of that.
This is why Trump said to President Zelensky: "I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say CrowdStrike ... I guess you have one of your wealthy people ... The server, they say Ukraine has it."(How'd you like to be the Ukrainian translator for a Trump conversation?)
Trump has been justly criticized for hiring his daughter and son-in-law at the White House. But at least when he pressures a foreign leader for a favor, it's to investigate corruption, not to get a prosecutor off his son's back. Maybe Biden's son was guilty, maybe he was innocent. But it is a fact that Joe Biden held up foreign aid to a desperately needy ally in exchange for their halting prosecution that implicated his son. It's not Trump's fault that Biden is now running for president.
I'll give the Democrats this: They've gotten so good at trying to remove Trump from office that, instead of three years, their insane accusations blow up in their faces within a week.