‘Sometimes people say, “Well I don’t know about Ukraine…” Well, our adversary in this is Russia. All roads lead to Putin…’
(Liberty Headlines) Despite three years of investigations that yielded no actionable evidence of collusion involving Russia and the Trump campaign, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revived the specter of the debunked conspiracy theory.
In doing so, she admitted that the current Ukraine scandal that Democrats used as pretense for impeachment hearings was of no consequence.
In her signature double-speak, it likely signals that House Democrats are aware that their recent hearings did not have the desired impact and are now plotting to call an audible or else attempt to tack on additional articles of impeachment related to the Mueller Report.
After declaring Democrats’ intention to draft formal charges—a move many believe they had long since initiated—Pelosi claimed Friday that “all roads lead to Putin.”
She asserted, without providing evidence, that President Donald Trump’s alleged pressure campaign on Ukraine was not an isolated incident but part of a troubling bond with the Russian president reaching back to special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings on the 2016 election.
“This has been going on for 2 1/2 years,” Pelosi said. “This isn’t about Ukraine. It’s about Russia. Who benefited by our withholding of that military assistance? Russia.”
The Great Deflection
Pelosi’s attempt to reframe the issue may be a last-gasp effort to explain why Americans should care that Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate rival Joe Biden while withholding $400 million in military aid that Congress had approved for the struggling Eastern European ally fighting a border war with Russia.
“Sometimes people say, ‘Well I don’t know about Ukraine. I don’t know that much about Ukraine,'” Pelosi said Thursday in announcing the decision to draft formal charges. “Well, our adversary in this is Russia. All roads lead to Putin. Understand that.”
However, Democrats—who as recently as the Obama administration dismissed fearmongering over the Russian threat (as President Barack Obama famously mocked his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, for espousing ’80s-era foreign policy concerns)—have been deploying the Russia boogeyman since Trump openly expressed his desire for a detente during the 2016 campaign.
That likely was intended to deflect from the fact that the Clinton campaign had itself been working with Kremlin agents through the Fusion GPS firm—as well as with the Ukrainian embassy—to smear Trump prior to the election.
Republicans maintain that the current impeachment ruse is more broadly intended to deflect not only the corruption within the ranks of the Clinton campaign and the intelligence community, currently being investigated by the Justice Department, but also a pre-emptive defense against the misconduct of Obama officials in Ukraine—the very ones Trump sought to investigate.
Democrats have continued, in fact, to double down on their own corruption in their effort to frame Trump, as House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff has repeatedly been exposed for his secretive whistleblower collusion and other unethical breaches of protocol that far eclipse what Trump is accused of.
Honing Their Narrative
At the same time, the Left has struggled to craft a cohesive narrative for their diehard base that can offer a unified theory to counter the corruption that Republicans have continued to unravel and expose.
Democratic lawmakers and aides are working behind closed doors over the weekend as the articles are being drafted and Judiciary Committee members are preparing for hearings and votes expected next week.
The articles are likely to encompass two major themes — abuse of office and obstruction — as the drafters strive to reach the Constitution’s bar of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” But they could be divided up into multiple articles.
They might also include a charge of “bribery,” based on Trump’s decision to withhold the military aid and stall on granting Zelenskiy a coveted White House visit the new president was seeking as a show of support from the U.S., its most important ally. The money was eventually released once Congress began investigating in September. The meeting never happened.
Obstruction articles could include obstruction of Congress, as the White House ordered officials not to comply with House subpoenas for testimony or documents in the impeachment inquiry. They could also include obstruction of justice, based on Mueller’s report on the original Trump-Russia investigation.
Democrats expect there will be two to four articles of impeachment against the president. Merging the Mueller findings into the overall charges by making the direct link to Ukraine might be one way to reach all sides.
Said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a member of the Judiciary Committee, “You know we have to explore the possibility that the Ukraine episode is not some kind of aberrational outburst but rather reflective of a continuing course of misconduct.”
Pelosi hopes that tracing the arc of Trump’s behavior from the 2016 campaign to the present will help balance her left-flank liberals, who want more charges brought against Trump, and centrist Democrats who prefer to keep the argument more narrowly focused on Ukraine.
Democratic leaders like House Majority Whip James Clyburn, meanwhile, have been priming the public for the likelihood that some Democrats may oppose it altogether, further undermining Pelosi’s current plan of attack.
Despite her duplicitous statement that it isn’t about Ukraine, Pelosi and her team are trying to field test the message that impeachment is indeed about Ukraine, but also about a pattern of behavior that could stoke renewed concern about his attitude toward Russia ahead of the 2020 election.
“It shows that a leopard doesn’t change his spots,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., a member of the Intelligence Committee, which drafted the 300-page report on the Ukraine inquiry that serves as the foundation for the impeachment proceedings.
On with the Sham
Meanwhile, although Pelosi continues to attempt to stall on the vote and buy time to perfect the message, pressure is weighing upon the House Democrats from both sides to hurry up and get on with it.
Senators currently involved in the Democratic primary—and those with difficult re-election campaigns ahead—are eager not to have it dwindle too far into the campaign season.
Meanwhile, seeing the futility in attempting to present its case to the partisan House, the White House is readying for a trial in the Senate that will not only exonerate Trump but will lay out the many abuses that the Democrats undertook in their unending pursuit of impeachment as a political weapon.
Trump’s team is hardening its argument that the president did nothing wrong. They say voters will stick with him at the Democrats’ expense next November.
Late Friday, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone informed the Judiciary Committee that the administration would not be participating in upcoming hearings, decrying the proceedings as “completely baseless.”
And Trump’s campaign announced new rallies taking the case directly to voters — as well as a new email fundraising pitch that claims the Democrats have “gone absolutely insane.”‘
“The Democrats have NO impeachment case and are demeaning our great Country at YOUR expense,” Trump wrote in the email to supporters. “It’s US against THEM.”