News and Commentary

SHAPIRO: The Theory Of Impeachment Keeps Changing
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs the media on September 10, 2019, at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP)

On Wednesday’s episode of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” Shapiro talks about how the Democrats have not maintained a consistent message on why Trump should be impeached. Video and partial transcript below: 

Back on Thursday and Friday, the theory of impeachment seemed to still be sort of, that President Trump had engaged in a quid pro quo with the Ukrainian government, in which he basically threatened to withhold aid — American aid, military aid to Ukraine — in exchange for the Ukrainian government checking out his chief domestic political opponent, Joe Biden. Well as it turns out, over the past couple of days it appears — and I’m just catching up on the news — it appears that the theory of impeachment is now changing.

It is malleable that Democrats weren’t able to come up with a quid pro quo they were seeking on the specific transcript of this phone call that Trump had with Ukraine, and so now they’re attempting to construct another impeachment-based crime — obstruction of justice. They’re trying to come up with some rationale [for] why they can blame the Trump administration for blocking the investigation. Now, [it] doesn’t matter that the Trump administration turned over the transcript, doesn’t matter [that] they turned over the whistleblower report, doesn’t matter that the witnesses who have been requested by the House thus far have basically been scheduled so far as I can tell, including the former ambassador to Ukraine, as well as other American officials from the State Department who are active in Ukraine. 

Still, the Democrats are pushing forward with the idea that if we can’t get them for the underlying crime, we’ll get President Trump for obstruction. That seems to be one angle, and then there’s the generalized Democratic angle, and you can see this happening in the press, which is that impeachment isn’t truly about what Trump did here. Impeachment isn’t truly about any specific criminal allegation; impeachment is about trumping a poo-poo head. Really, that’s the case, and as we’ll see today, the Democrats keep broadening out the case. 

So we are now seeing them begin to speak with more and more wild language about what a bad guy Trump is. Well, Trump may be a bad guy according to Democrats, [but] that is not an impeachable offense. Being somebody that people don’t like, being somebody who acts in ways you don’t like, that’s not impeachable. I didn’t like Barack Obama, and he was not impeached. Bill Clinton was impeached, but that was for a specific crime, that was not because people didn’t like his tax policy in 1994. We had an election to fix his tax policy in 1994.

So as you will see, as the impeachment proceeding moves forward, it seems less like Democrats are honing in on any one theory of impeachment and then getting to the heart of it. [Rather], it seems instead that, like an octopus, the tentacles are just reaching out in every direction and hopefully they can snag something that will be sufficient to move the public so that the public isn’t anti-impeachment, and it doesn’t blow back on Democrats.

So along those lines today, the media are making a very big deal out of the fact that Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, has now confirmed that he listened to President Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president, which isn’t a big surprise. There are a lot of people who were listening to that phone call, the secretary of state very often frequently listens to phone calls that the president has with foreign leaders, but this was the first time that Pompeo had openly acknowledged that that is something that happened before. He’d been asked about the whistleblower complaint. He said, I never saw the whistleblower complaint so I have no specific answers about the whistleblower complaint. But he never said that he was on the call itself. So Democrats of course are jumping to — oh, this means that it was a cover-up. Except that it’s not a cover-up, since he just said it. 

The Democrats keep doing this. They did it with Mueller, they did it with the whistleblower, they did it with the transcript of the phone call, and now they’re doing it with Pompeo. They keep claiming that there is a cover-up at right about the point when the Trump administration blows the whole thing into public view. So here’s Pompeo explaining: Yes I was on the phone call with Ukraine. 

Pompeo: I was on the phone call. The phone call was in the context of, now I guess I’ve been the secretary of state for coming on a year and a half, I know precisely what the American policy is with respect to Ukraine. It’s been remarkably consistent, and we will continue to try to drive those set of outcomes. That’s what our team, including Ambassador Volker, were focused on — was taking down the threat that Russia poses there in Ukraine. 

Okay, so he was immediately asked, of course, whether Trump did anything inappropriate on the call and he just declined to answer the question. Why? Well, because the fact is that the president could have done things that are inappropriate but not impeachable. But the fact is the Pompeo also works for Trump, [who] is particularly thin-skinned when it comes to this sort of stuff. He doesn’t like when his own officials are out there saying that he does stuff that they don’t approve of — this is what happened to John Bolton, and Mike Pompeo isn’t about to fall into that trap. 

Okay, so this follows hard on the Democrats claiming over the past 48 hours that Pompeo is somehow holding up their access to State Department officials. So The New York Times reported yesterday, “the Trump administration clashed on Tuesday with leaders of the House impeachment inquiry over their demands to question State Department officials who might have witnessed President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine for political advantage.”

Now, notice again that the language here used by The New York Times has been used consistently by the media now, is that Trump was pressuring Ukraine, as opposed to requesting Ukraine, which is a more accurate description of that phone call. Pressuring Ukraine, I mean that assumes the [very] question that is in doubt. The question in doubt is whether there is a quid pro quo, not whether Trump asked for something, but whether there was a quid pro quo. When you use the word pressured, the assumption is that there is something credible on the other end of that pressure — namely, a threat. So you notice the word “pressure,” whenever the media use the word “pressure” and not the word “requested” or “asked,” you know then that [that] is the media infusing their own bias into the story.

In any case, The New York Times says, “In the first skirmish in what promises to be an epic impeachment struggle between the executive and legislative branches, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lashed out at three congressional committees that are seeking to depose diplomats involved in American policy toward Ukraine. Mr. Pompeo called their demands for confidential interviews ‘an act of intimidation.’”

Now the reason that he says that is because he is saying you’re not giving them time to get lawyers and deal with State Department lawyers, which by the way — if that sounds like somebody covering up, or somebody covering their butt — let me assure you: I know people who were questioned by the Mueller Report, I know a lot of folks inside the administration … It cost them tens of thousands of dollars with lawyers in order to be questioned because anybody who goes in to be questioned by a government committee under oath without a lawyer present at their side to advise them on what they should and should not say is a fool. You would be a fool, too, and that has nothing to do with truth telling or not truth telling, it’s like going to deal with the IRS without any lawyer on the line. Doing that is a fool’s errand.

They are literally putting you there so that they can then charge you with some form of perjury or misleading statement, and then they can use that to pressure you to say things you don’t want to say. Pompeo was saying, okay we need time to get all these people, the lawyers that they want, and the Democrats naturally, because they are attempting to gin up some sort of belief that there is a cover-up going on, they are saying that Pompeo is engaged in the cover-up. But again, the two biggest officials who are being questioned so far have already set dates on which they are to be questioned.

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