- - Wednesday, September 25, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Sequels are rarely better than the original.

If we have learned anything over the last six days, as the feeding frenzy over the whistleblower has overtaken official Washington, it is this: Democrats want to impeach President Trump and they do not care if the facts support their cause.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally got with the program and announced she would support an impeachment inquiry. She has resisted impeachment for months as her caucus has grown restless. She was considering the House Democratic majority. I thought she was disciplined and strategic.

She got ahead of the facts and now she is trapped.

As the transcript of the July phone call between Mr. Trump and the Ukrainian president was released Wednesday morning, several key claims made by Democrats and their media allies unraveled.



There was no “quid pro quo.” We were promised that Mr. Trump was explicit. The transcript shows no evidence of that.

The president did not mention defense aid even once. We were promised that Mr. Trump withheld defensive foreign aid as a bribe to secure an investigation of the Bidens. He did not mention the subject of defensive aid once during the call.

The only investigation that Mr. Trump brought up himself, unprompted, was an investigation into foreign meddling in the 2016 election, as it related to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee email server. Democrats used to care deeply about this subject.

The Ukrainian president was the first to mention Mr. Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and he asked that Mr. Giuliani travel to Ukraine.

Despite news reports that Mr. Trump urged an investigation of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and his son Hunter as many as eight times on the call, the transcript shows he mentioned them only once. The Ukrainian president specifically said Wednesday he did not feel pressured by Mr. Trump.

This is far too thin for the extreme constitutional remedy of impeachment.

When the public is against the party pushing impeachment, pushing forward with this drastic step is bad politics. Republicans learned this painful lesson in the 1990s.

Democrats have now committed themselves to this extreme step, and they have set themselves up to fail their rabid base or pursue a path the public opposes.

It appears Democrats learned nothing from the Russia collusion hoax.

After more than two years of Democrats’ hyperventilating, Mr. Trump was cleared of collusion and conspiracy. Democrats and their media allies overhyped their claims and won Pulitzer Prizes along the way. But they failed in their objective, and soon we will learn more about the origins of the Russia collusion hoax and FISA warrant abuses.

I will make a prediction.

In the end, the Ukraine investigation and resulting impeachment inquiry will be far worse for Mr. Biden than it will be for Mr. Trump.

Will the former vice president’s calls to Ukraine be released? How many trips did he make there? With whom did he meet? How did his son, with zero experience in Ukraine or energy, secure a $50,000 a month contract with a Ukrainian natural gas company and a highly lucrative contract for his bank?

These questions deserve answers.

The whistleblower complaint has now been provided to the House and Senate Intelligence committees. The Intelligence Community Inspector General said the whistleblower had “partisan bias” in his or her background. We have also learned that the whistleblower never even heard the phone call directly.

Almost everything Democrats have said about this story is probably false.

Soon we will hear from acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire in his testimony before Congress. He will provide additional answers and context.

Instead of overhyping this story, Democrats should have been more careful and measured. But they could not help themselves.

Instead, their hatred of Mr. Trump led to them getting out on a limb. That limb was just sawed off.

• Matt Mackowiak is president of Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C.-based Potomac Strategy Group. He’s a Republican consultant, a Bush administration and Bush-Cheney reelection campaign veteran and former press secretary to two U.S. senators.

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