Our View | Democrat Strategy: Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

By The Signal Editorial Board

Shoot first, ask questions later.

That’s the M.O. of Democrats in Congress who seem especially desperate to find something, anything, that will give them cover to impeach President Trump. And now, the Santa Clarita Valley’s own representative, Democrat Katie Hill, has joined the witch hunt.  

The latest iteration is the kerfuffle over Trump’s phone conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

A so-called “whistleblower” — who wasn’t even present for the conversation — alleged that Trump tried to extort cooperation from the Ukrainian president to investigate actions of Democratic presidential hopeful, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son, in their dealings with the former Soviet republic. As the “whistleblower” put it, Trump threatened to withhold $400 million in military aid unless the Ukrainian president cooperated. 

Then a funny thing happened. Trump called the bluff and released a transcript of the conversation, in which Trump made no such threat.  

In fact, as the president correctly pointed out this week, Biden himself is guilty of doing the very thing the Democrats are accusing Trump of doing. Biden bragged about it in a videotaped interview. Predictably, there’s not much noise coming from the left side of the aisle about that.

So, here we go again. Congress is back in session and all you hear is “impeach the president.”

The Democrats became unglued with anticipation that they would now have something to impeach the president on. They held a press conference saying they would start a formal impeachment inquiry because of these whistleblower allegations. They had no idea what the facts were but they decided to start “formal investigations.”

The problem is that such a “formal investigation” is really just a dog and pony show when it comes to impeachment. They either impeach or they don’t. To impeach they will have to get a majority of the House to vote for it. The “formal investigation” is just politics. It was a tool for Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to keep her party together and appease the radical wing of the party.

It’s just the latest instance of the Democrats throwing everything at the wall, determined to find something that sticks.

The Russian collusion hoax fell through with the Robert Mueller report. So did any obstruction charges — no evidence. 

So now we have the “whistleblower.”

The transcript of Trump’s conversation with Zelensky shows that, while the president did ask for an investigation, there was no quid pro quo, there was no offer in return for anything, there was no money mentioned.

The president was asking for an investigation of former Vice President Biden for going on camera and bragging about forcing the last Ukrainian president to fire a prosecutor — while leveraging $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees.

Biden, who was in Ukraine at the time, told the Ukrainian president that if he did not fire the prosecutor in six hours the United States government would withhold the $1 billion. 

In a videotaped panel discussion for the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018, Biden boasted that the Ukrainian prosecutor was fired within that six-hour period: 

“I said, ‘I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars,’” Biden recounted. “We leave in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch, he got fired.”

Well, indeed. 

The Ukrainian prosecutor was believed to be looking into the dealings of Burisma Holdings, a large gas company doing business in Ukraine, the same company that had Biden’s son Hunter Biden on its board of directors.

Hunter Biden — yes, the same Hunter Biden who was discharged from the U.S. Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine in 2014 — was receiving up to $50,000 a month to serve on the board, even though he had no industry experience and no Ukraine experience. 

And he had his father, the vice president with $1 billion worth of aid in his back pocket as leverage, there to run interference for him.

The president has a right and duty to ask for an investigation where there is such clear-cut evidence of wrongdoing.

Yet, Congress turns a blind eye to that while continuing to waste time and money on politically motivated investigations targeting the president, including the two-year, $30-million Mueller probe. 

As Katie Hill herself has acknowledged, impeachment “is as political as anything else.”

Yet, there the congresswoman was this week, jumping on the impeachment bandwagon. 

A Quinnipiac University poll — taken last weekend, with the Trump-Ukraine controversy dominating the news — reported that 57% of Americans were not in favor of impeachment.

The American people and Santa Claritans want Congress to work on real problems. They were elected to work on immigration reform, infrastructure, the opioid crisis, health-care costs and trade issues, like the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement.

We have those and many other real problems that need to be addressed.

When Katie Hill was elected she said she would work across the aisle in a bipartisan manner to find solutions to these problems. Yet, you could measure her bipartisanship — and the House’s progress on these issues — with a pocket ruler.

It’s long past time for Congress to work on these and the other real issues they were elected to handle, rather than preoccupying themselves with politically motivated, time-consuming and costly efforts to take down a president they don’t like. 

And, if the American people want a new president, there is an election in a little over a year. 

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