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Adam Schiff’s Report Exonerates President Trump.

U.S. POLITICS

Adam Schiff’s Impeachment Report Exonerates President Trump.

Democrats not only failed to prove their case; they revealed President Trump acted “perfectly.”

Today, Nancy Pelosi announced that the Democrats were moving forward with their three-year-long quest to impeach President Trump. This, despite the catastrophic failure of yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing, where liberal law professors Noah Feldman, Pamela Karlan, and Michael Gerhardt were completely outmatched by Professor Jonathan Turley.

Democrats assert—without evidence—that President Trump’s motivation in seeking investigations of Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election and Burisma was his own personal political interests.

Turley’s primary point was that the Democrats were proceeding to impeachment with a very narrow case and an incredibly thin factual record. He argued, persuasively, that the President should only be impeached based on a proven crime, and with a bipartisan consensus on what the facts are.

Every fact in the Democrats’ case has been contested—starting with whether or not Trump demanded a quid pro quo from Ukraine. But the most obvious example of Democrats presuming, not proving, the necessary facts is their complete failure to demonstrate Trump had “corrupt” intent. Democrats assert—without evidence—that President Trump’s motivation in seeking investigations of Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election and Burisma was his own personal political interests.

They should read Adam Schiff’s hastily assembled report. It proves the converse: President Trump was acting in the interests of the American people.

“FINDINGS OF FACT”

Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

“FINDINGS OF FACT”

The very first “key finding of fact” in Adam Schiff’s report is that President Trump “solicited the interference” of Ukraine in the 2020 election, and that he did so “for the benefit of his reelection, to harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and to influence our nation’s upcoming presidential election to his advantage.”

In their zeal to defend the righteousness of “official United States policy” towards Ukraine, Schiff and his civil servant witnesses accidentally exonerated the President.

This is not a “finding of fact”; it’s a conclusory allegation. Asserting that President Trump was motivated by personal political benefit in his dealings with Ukraine is something that Schiff must prove with testimony and other direct evidence.

Not surprisingly, Schiff failed to do so. Only one of the witnesses, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, spoke directly to the President about Ukraine; in their single conversation on the matter, President Trump told Sondland he wanted “nothing” from Zelensky.

Instead, in his zeal to defend the righteousness of “official United States policy” towards Ukraine, Schiff accidentally exonerated the President.

BEING SKEPTICAL OF UKRAINE IS NOT A CRIME

Volodymyr Zelensky and Viktor Orban.

BEING SKEPTICAL OF UKRAINE IS NOT A CRIME

On page 59, Schiff’s report contains a section that devastates the case for impeachment. There, after railing against Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for disliking Ukraine, Schiff suggests that it was Trump’s conversations with Orban that informed Trump’s decision-making.

If President Trump was asking for a favor “on behalf of the people,” then his behavior was “100 percent acceptable,” or, to use the President’s own preferred description, “perfect.”

Schiff quoted diplomat George Kent, who said that Orban’s “animus towards Ukraine is well-known, documented, and has lasted…two years.” Schiff also endorsed Kent’s conclusion: that President Trump’s conversations with Orban and others accounted for Trump “changing” his view and developing a “negative assessment of Ukraine.”

This conclusion completely undermines the claim that President Trump acted solely in his personal interests when dealing with Ukraine.

If President Trump agreed with the “interagency consensus” on Ukraine—that they were a pure, valiant nation—then it might be fair for Schiff to simply presume that Trump’s demands of Ukraine were made out of greed.

But, in Schiff’s telling, President Trump came to view Ukraine as corrupt after discussing the country with Orban and others. Trump’s requests for investigations into Ukrainian election meddling and Burisma, therefore, are best understood as testing Zelensky’s anti-corruption bona fides—and were therefore in the interests of the American people.

In other words: if President Trump thought Ukraine was corrupt, he didn’t commit an impeachable offense.

PRESIDENT TRUMP // WHY INTENT MATTERS

President Donald Trump.

WHY INTENT MATTERS

Since the impeachment fracas began, everyone has focused on whether or not there was a “quid pro quo” between Trump and Zelensky. As a result, the question of intent—whether Trump was actually acting in his own personal political interest—has been elided.

But intent matters, especially when we are talking about the President’s foreign policy decision making. Neal Katyal and David Koppelman, in their recently released pro-impeachment book Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump, explain this well:

“[An] implicit quid pro quo request is 100 percent acceptable when the president is asking for a favor on behalf of the people. If, for instance, President Trump asked England to share intelligence on a terrorist organization with the exchange for the US sharing intelligence on a terrorist organization with the CIA in exchange for the US sharing intelligence about future threats to England, that would of course be aboveboard, as he would be eliciting intelligence to protect the American people.” (P. 86)

Professor Katyal goes on: “The problem arises when the president asks a foreign power for a personal favor—one that doesn’t align with the interests of those he represents.”

Katyal is right; if President Trump was asking for a favor “on behalf of the people,” then his behavior was “100 percent acceptable,” or, to use the President’s own preferred description, “perfect.

President Zelensky and President Trump.

President Zelensky and President Trump.

EVERYONE TRADES HORSES

Horse-trading is part of American politics – like it or not. American Presidents make requests of foreign countries all the time, and must be able to do so to make foreign policy.

American Presidents make requests of foreign countries all the time, and must be able to do so to make foreign policy.

The Democrats themselves know this. For example, while on the campaign trail, Mayor Pete Buttigieg suggested that American military aid to Israel could be withheld if Israel did not change its policy on settlement building in the West Bank. While unwise, such a decision would certainly be within the authority of the President, and not an illegal “bribe.”

This calculation doesn’t change even if while asking for a favor “on behalf of the people,” the President incidentally benefits politically.

For example: imagine (heaven forbid) that Hillary Clinton had won the White House in 2016. Imagine further that, in exchange for softening the American position towards Russia, Hillary asked Putin to investigate alleged Russian election meddling. Would anyone see this as part of a corrupt quid pro quo?

Of course not. And while Hillary might benefit politically from such an investigation, that would be incidental to a broader American foreign policy interest in stopping Russian election meddling.

Just so here. President Trump might benefit politically from investigations into Ukrainian election meddling and Burisma. But that, too, is incidental to a broader American foreign policy interest ensuring that American aid dollars to Ukraine are well-spent, and that the country ceases meddling in American elections.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt

President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

IN THE INTERESTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

President Trump speaks for America with regard to Ukraine; as the Supreme Court recognized in United States v. Curtiss-Wright Corp., he is the “sole organ” of the United States in foreign affairs. No matter how much career State Department officials wish it were otherwise, President Trump has the right to come to a “negative assessment” of any country, and set “official US policy” with that assessment in mind.

President Trump did not bribe Ukraine. He did not extort Ukraine. He did not “abuse his power.” He acted in what he saw as the American people’s interests, not his own personal interests.

Adam Schiff’s own report asserted that President Trump developed a negative view of Ukraine as corrupt as a result of conversations with Rudy Giuliani and Viktor Orban. Thus, speaking for the American people, he expressed a desire for Zelensky to meet his campaign promises to fight corruption.

The most obvious examples of that corruption—to President Trump—were Ukraine’s election meddling, and Hunter Biden’s no-show job on Burisma’s board of directors. President Trump saw these investigations as perfectly legitimate asks; that’s why made the requests on a conference call with thirty people listening in.

President Trump did not bribe Ukraine. He did not extort Ukraine. He did not “abuse his power.” He acted in what he saw as the American people’s interests, not his own personal interests.

Adam Schiff’s report proves it.

Written By

Will Chamberlain is a lawyer and the publisher of Human Events.

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