At a campaign event in Rochester, N.H., former Vice President Joe Biden called on lawmakers to impeach President Donald Trump as he recited a litany of supposed abuses by Trump that could more appropriately be attributed to himself and to his power-mad comrade, former President Barack Hussein Obama.
On Oct. 9, the fading gaffe-a-minute contender for the Democrats’ 2020 presidential nod laid into a transformative figure who, in the greatest upset in American electoral history and with hardly any campaign infrastructure behind him, defeated the perennially scheming, venal, and thoroughly unlikable Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“With his words and his actions, President Trump has indicted himself by obstructing justice, refusing to comply with the congressional inquiry. He’s also convicted himself in full view of the world and the American people, Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation and committed impeachable acts,” Breitbart News reports Biden saying.
“You know to preserve our Constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, he should be impeached. That’s not only because of what he’s done. To answer whether he’s committed acts of [sic] sufficient to warrant impeachment is obvious. We see it in Trump’s own words. We see it in the texts from State Department officials that have been made public. We see it in his pulling much of the United States government into his corrupt schemes, individuals within the government, his appointees. But we have to remember that impeachment isn’t only about what the president’s done. It’s about the threat the president poses to the nation if allowed to remain in office. One thing about this president is absolutely clear, and I don’t think anyone can contradict this, he has seen no limits to his power regardless of what the Constitution says.
“He believes the entire United States government can be corrupted into furthering his personal political needs. He’s even willing to hold Congress and congressionally appropriated aid to a foreign nation hostage to his personal political demands. He believes if he does something, it’s legal, period. And perhaps most importantly, he believes there is nothing we can do about it. He believes he can and will get away with anything he does. We all laughed when he said he could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone and get away with it. It’s no joke. He’s shooting holes in the Constitution, and we cannot let him get away with it.”
So many lies, distortions, and misrepresentations in so few words.
Let’s unpack them together.
President Trump cannot have obstructed justice by refusing to comply with the congressional impeachment inquiry because there is no such thing.
A so-called impeachment inquiry unprecedented in the annals of presidential impeachment sagas was unilaterally declared Sept. 24 by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as news spread that President Trump asked the president of Ukraine to assist in a probe into the leftist plot to remove him office, as well as to investigate the shady dealings of Biden and his cokehead son, Hunter, who was dishonorably discharged by the U.S. Navy Reserve.
Pelosi was in such a frenzied rush to oust Trump she didn’t bother asking the House of Representatives, whose constitutionally-specified duty is to consider impeachment, to go on record on the matter. Even though the House had a recorded vote all three previous times it considered impeaching a U.S. president, Pelosi discarded 151 years of precedent in an extraordinarily risky act of political expediency.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone quite properly sent a letter Oct. 8 to Pelosi and the chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, advising them of everything they have been doing wrong:
“As you know, you have designed and implemented your inquiry in a manner that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process.
“For example, you have denied the President the right to cross-examine witnesses, to call witnesses, to receive transcripts of testimony, to have access to evidence, to have counsel present, and many other basic rights guaranteed to all Americans. You have conducted your proceedings in secret. You have violated civil liberties and the separation of powers by threatening Executive Branch officials, claiming that you will seek to punish those who exercise fundamental constitutional rights and prerogatives. All of this violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent. Never before in our history has the House of Representatives—under the control of either political party—taken the American people down the dangerous path you seem determined to pursue.”
Biden’s claim without evidence that Trump “has violated his oath of office,” “betrayed this nation,” and “committed impeachable acts” are the whole ball game here. If House Democrats, who only care about the Constitution when it benefits them politically to do so, want to impeach President Trump badly enough, they will have the chamber pass articles of impeachment formally accusing him of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” But Biden’s claim on its own is empty rhetoric.
Biden claims that “texts from State Department officials that have been made public” show Trump is worthy of impeachment. In fact, all the texts show is that U.S. diplomats disagreed over the president’s policies regarding Ukraine.
What Biden means when he says Trump is “pulling much of the United States government into his corrupt schemes, individuals within the government, his appointees,” and that he “believes the entire United States government can be corrupted into furthering his personal political needs,” only crazy old Uncle Joe knows.
Biden’s assertion that Trump “has seen no limits to his power regardless of what the Constitution says,” is patently false. Same thing for Biden’s claim that Trump “believes if he does something, it’s legal, period.” Trump has on multiple occasions acknowledged the limitations on his power as president.
And unlike Obama, Trump hasn’t announced he couldn’t do something only to turn around and do that precise prohibited thing later, as Obama did with his highly controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Before Obama created DACA in 2012 with the stroke of a pen, he acknowledged such a program would be unconstitutional. “I am not king,” Obama said in 2010, adding the subsequent year that with “respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case.” But Obama did it anyway, unilaterally, by executive action.
Trump is trying to limit the reach of the federal government over which he presides and is enjoying modest success.
Although federal spending is skyrocketing on Trump’s watch—unfortunately, there hasn’t been any real constituency in Washington for cutting spending for decades—the president has been shrinking government through deregulation. He pushed through a massive tax cut. He has signed onto the effort to get rid of Obamacare through the courts after federal Judge Reed O’Connor struck down the statute in December 2018. The case is now working its way through the appeals courts.
Biden claims Trump is “willing to hold Congress and congressionally appropriated aid to a foreign nation hostage to his personal political demands.” There is, of course, no evidence Trump did so with Ukraine, and even if there were, presidents routinely attach conditions to foreign aid. It’s the norm.
And it was Biden who bragged to a Council on Foreign Relations audience Jan. 23, 2018, that in March 2016 as vice president he had strong-armed the Ukrainians:
I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.
Democrats are fine with asking foreign governments to assist them in accomplishing domestic political objectives. In fact, it’s a tradition. The late Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts even reached out to the KGB in the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War to undermine President Ronald Reagan’s policies.
And a few months after Biden’s comments, Senate Democrats asked Ukrainian authorities to investigate President Trump on pain of losing U.S. foreign aid.
In May 2018, Sens. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Dick Durbin of Illinois, and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, sent a letter to Ukraine’s then-Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko asking him to keep open four investigations related to the Mueller probe or risk losing a foreign aid package.
The Democratic National Committee asked then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for help in its unseemly plot to sabotage Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.
Biden’s claim that Trump is “shooting holes in the Constitution” is rich coming from a left-winger who routinely wiped his posterior with that document when he was in office.
Throughout his agonizingly long presidency, Barack Obama serially abused his powers as the nation’s Chief Executive to undermine his political opponents. It might be said that every day of his presidency he committed at least one impeachable offense.
Obama used the IRS to target conservative and Tea Party nonprofits, along with Catholic, Jewish, and pro-Israel organizations. He brazenly lied about it, too. His Justice Department surreptitiously obtained telephone records for more than 100 reporters. He did nothing while Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius repeatedly violated the Hatch Act, an anti-corruption statute. He unilaterally read new language into the Obamacare statute several times instead of asking Congress to fix unworkable legislative language.
Biden can’t claim he didn’t know about what Obama did. He was complicit whether by deed or acquiescence.
Projecting his own flaws and wrongdoing onto President Trump won’t end well for Joe Biden.