by Julie Kelly
After preparing a failed bill of particulars against the president—Russian election collusion, porn star payoffs, income tax evasion, obstruction of justice, the Emoluments Clause, the 25th Amendment, the Charlottesville rally, the two Michaels (Avenatti and Cohen), Deutsche Bank, Alfa-Bank, and Orange Man Bad—Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) finally has Trump dead-to-rights: A quid pro quo without the quid, the pro, or the quo.
The House of Representatives voted Thursday largely along party lines, with only two Democratic defectors, to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, will manage the initial stage of the sham inquiry; hearings are expected to begin in a few weeks. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), departing from tradition, handed off the impeachment grunt work to her most dependable grunt rather than to the House Judiciary Committee.
Pelosi pleaded the Democrats’ case on the morning of Hallowe’en, titillating her caucus of ghouls, witches, tramps, and thieves with tales about the scary monster in the White House.
“Sadly, this is not any cause for any glee or comfort,” Pelosi assured her gleeful Democratic colleagues. “This is something very solemn, something prayerful.”
But ringing in the ears of every Democrat and NeverTrumper across the land were the iconic words of #TheResistance hero Rep. Rashida Talib (D-Mich.): “We’re gonna impeach the motherfucker!” You will recall that the freshman Democratic congresswoman from Michigan didn’t waste any time before uttering that profundity. She shouted it on January 4, 2019, just hours after she was sworn in.
Lies In Plain Sight
Now, in a fair and just world where lying scoundrels are dispatched either to the unemployment line or to the set of MSNBC, Schiff long ago would have experienced a swift exit from the halls of power. Schiff lied to the American people and to Congress for more than three years that he had circumstantial and significant and direct and in-plain-sight and clear evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin to throw the 2016 presidential election.
Last month, he had to walk back his fake impersonation of President Trump after he made up the content and context of the hotly disputed phone call between Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He leaked nonpublic information to the news media to smear Team Trump, including the president’s son, and embarrassingly accepted a call from Russian pranksters who claimed to have naked photos of Donald Trump.
So, of course, Schiff is the perfect point man for a damaging, dishonest, and nakedly partisan crusade to oust the sitting president.
Acting as if no one has been paying attention to him for the past few years—if only we could unsee his 3,074 appearances on CNN and “Meet the Press”—Schiff denied that he would relish his role as the president’s impeachment tormentor. “I do not take any pleasure in the events that have made this process necessary,” Schiff said from the House floor on Thursday morning, presumably with all of his toes and fingers crossed.
That’s funny because Schiff himself is the person responsible for manufacturing all of the events that now animate this charade, including the fabricated controversy about an alleged “quid pro quo” between Trump and Zelensky. Not coincidentally, the nub of Schiff’s current impeachment fever dream, Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky, occurred one day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s disastrous testimony on Capitol Hill.
With the release of the flaccid Mueller report and a cringeworthy appearance by the doddering special counsel on July 24, Schiff’s fantasy of watching Robert Mueller haul Trump out of the Oval Office in handcuffs was gone. So Schiff scrambled to concoct another impeachment scheme: How the president withheld U.S. aid to Ukraine until the country’s new president agreed to investigate the son of Trump’s likeliest 2020 Democratic opponent.
A courageous “whistleblower,” a dogged inspector general, a patriotic ambassador, and a decorated military hero would play starring roles in Schiff’s newest “Get Trump” drama. All of the key figures, we have been assured by Schiff’s toadies in the media, are of unassailable character—just brave Americans risking it all to protect the Constitution and whatnot from a lawless, corrupt president.
But just like Schiff’s repeated promises of evidence of Russian collusion, it’s all a ruse. Schiff’s staff met with the “whistleblower” in early August before the complaint was prepared even though Schiff denied it in an interview.
But the “whistleblower” is not a concerned professional intelligence official, as he’s been portrayed in the press. He’s a Democratic Party operative. “Federal documents reveal that [Eric] Ciaramella, a registered Democrat held over from the Obama White House, previously worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan, a vocal critic of Trump who helped initiate the Russia “collusion” investigation of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election,” according to Real Clear Investigation’s Paul Sperry.
Ciaramella left the Trump White House in 2017 amid suspicions he was leaking information to the press; he ended up back at the CIA.
The Impeachment Narrative Is Falling Apart
Michael Atkinson, the Intelligence Community inspector general, also is an Obama holdover with clear ties to the Obama Justice Department’s probe into the Trump presidential campaign. As I wrote last month, Atkinson worked directly for two top Justice Department officials involved in the illicit investigation. Atkinson’s office also reworked their whistleblower form to validate Ciaramella’s hearsay complaint. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) called Atkinson’s closed-door Senate testimony last month “insolent and obstructive.”
Bill Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine who also has testified about his concerns regarding the Trump-Zelensky conversation, met with Schiff’s staff in late August in Ukraine as Schiff was hatching the “whistleblower” scandal. Taylor sent a text to his EU counterpart on September 9, claiming it was “crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” a charge his colleague quickly rejected. That text, coincidentally, was sent the same day Atkinson sent his letter to Schiff about a dispute over the “whistleblower” report. (Trump’s White House released the aid on September 11.)
The latest hero, Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council’s Ukranian expert, attempted to edit the call’s transcript. Vindman also admitted he shared copies of that transcript with several people, a potential violation of federal law since the document is classified government material.
Vindman has his own ties to the Obama White House: He worked with former U.S. Ambassador Mike McFaul, one of the authors of Obama’s Russian “reset” policy.
“I served with [Vindman] in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, where he was everything you would want in a military attaché: smart, knowledgeable about the country, fluent in Russian and absolutely dedicated to the mission of advancing U.S. national interests,” McFaul cooed in an October 30 Washington Post column.
McFaul was sworn in by his boss, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in 2012 and was an Obama confidant even after he left his post in 2014. McFaul also is friends with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, a central figure in the Russia collusion hoax.
So just as his impeachment drive is heating up, Schiff’s Ukrainian chimera is falling apart. Further, the transcript of Trump’s phone call is public; the funds were released to Ukraine nearly two months ago. Public opinion is almost evenly split among voters who believe Trump should be impeached over the call; those who think he did nothing wrong; and voters who want the House to stop investigating the president altogether.
But none of this matters to the California Democrat who, unfortunately, the American people will see a lot more of over the next several weeks. The Schiff Show is here, whether we like it or not.
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Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. After college graduation, she served as a policy and communications consultant for several Republican candidates and elected officials in suburban Chicago. She also volunteered for her local GOP organization. After staying home for more than 10 years to raise her two daughters, Julie began teaching cooking classes out of her home. She then started writing about food policy, agriculture, and biotechnology, as well as climate change and other scientific issues. She graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1990 with a degree in communications and minor degrees in political science and journalism. Julie lives in suburban Chicago with her husband, two daughters, and (unfortunately) three dogs.
Photo “Adam Schiff” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.