I like the nickname “‘Take Down Trump’ Project.” It’s not mine — it’s the headline of an analysis by the Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Heninger — but it’s as apt and pithy as Devin Nunes’s equally excellent “low-rent Ukrainian sequel to Russia,” offered up during his opening remarks at yesterday’s impeachment hearings.
This charade we witnessed yesterday is an embarrassment: It, not Donald Trump’s presidency, will end up being a stain on U.S. history. Its ringleader, who reminded us in his own opening remarks that he lies as easily as he breathes, already impeached himself during phase one of the “Take Down Trump” Project, Russiagate, by insisting repeatedly that he had the goods on Trump but never delivering. If Nancy Pelosi were the great tactician everyone is suddenly claiming this doddering old woman to be, she would have named Jerrod Nadler to run the “impeachment” hearings, despite his having botched similar jobs in the past.
So what did we learn from installment one of TDTP? We learned from Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley that “hearsay can be much better evidence than direct.” Which is why courts reject it in the vast majority of cases.
We learned from New Yorker staff writer Susan B. Glasser that the GOP plan for success is to keep the impeachment hearings partisan. See, if you’re a Democrat, your nonstop attempts to unseat Donald Trump since Inauguration Day 2016 (in some cases before) is proof not of a personal vendetta but that you’re “civic-minded.” The petulant name-calling and physical violence the Left has displayed are proof somehow that they’re “patriotic” (to borrow a term that the Left ordinarily despises as much as they do the president).
Writing at Politico Magazine, John F. Harris summarized Day 1 this way:
There was breaking news from the hearings [Ed. – There was?], but … [i]n a more profound way, the day was a portrait — a vivid one, in an especially grave setting — of Trump being Trump: obsessive, hectoring, contemptuous of process and propriety, as bluntly transactional about military aid to a besieged ally as he would be about a midtown real estate deal.
Hmm. Imagine how many pejorative adjectives he would have used if Trump had actually been there.
One of the best, or at least funniest, analyses was that of Brett Bruen, former director of global engagement in the Obama White House, who wrote at NBC News that Trump “broke the rules of diplomacy” by using a quid pro quo (yes, the Left is no longer skeptical that quid pro quos are the standard currency of politics) for his personal benefit, not the benefit of the nation’s security. But how can Bruen possibly know this when Adam Schiff has declared that any mention of the Burisma scandal or either Biden is off-limits? Evidence of skulduggery on the part of Hunter Biden is mounting, and we already know that Biden’s father is by his own words guilty of the very “crime” for which the Democrats now want to impeach Donald Trump. Why is it a certainty that Trump’s motivation in re-opening an investigation into this affair was solely to hurt a political opponent who (facing stark realities) will pose no threat to Trump’s re-election and not the greater good?
In his must-read take on yesterday’s hearings, Heninger writes:
Nancy Pelosi was right the first time. The Democrats shouldn’t have done this. They should not have tried to make the already overwhelmed American public believe that Donald Trump’s umpteenth “norms” violation was a constitutional crisis. But no, the party’s leftmost elements insisted, and the Beltway press insisted. Mr. Trump had to be impeached.
Democrats made this mess and, when the history of early 21st-century politics is written, they will own it.