The Democrats’ latest strategy to convince the American public that there is justification for calling witnesses and introducing new documents in the Senate impeachment trial is death by a thousand cuts. Sadly for them, the blades they have amassed couldn’t cut through soft butter.
The two new flash points are:
- the Government Accountability Office’s report Thursday claiming the Office of Management and Budget broke the law when it held up $214 million appropriated by Congress to help Ukraine.
- Giuliani associate Lev Parnas’s claim to being part of Trump’s inner circle.
On the release of the GAO report, Speaker Nancy Pelosi had this to say:
(In a separate video, Pelosi argues that the need for witnesses comes down not to “a question” of “proof” but “allegations,” whatever that means.)
The problem with the first piece of “damning” evidence is that the GAO’s opinion is not sacrosanct. The agency has rendered similar rulings in the past that went ignored by the president at the time. In 2016, the GAO declared that the Obama administration had broken its own health care rule in its handling of a little-known but important program called “transitional reinsurance.” Earlier that year, the agency claimed that the Obama White House violated the law in its engagements with China. In both instances, the White House issued a statement saying that it strongly disagreed with the GAO’s conclusion, and that was the end of it.
When these stories broke, Nancy Pelosi had no comment, much less opened an impeachment investigation into Obama. The media were similarly unmoved by the GAO’s opinion in Obama’s case but not in Trump’s. Via the Washington Free Beacon:
The Washington Post rallied behind the Government Accountability Office (GAO) after it released a negative report about the Trump administration’s handling of Ukrainian aid on Thursday. But the outlet brushed off similar findings from the agency in 2014, calling them nothing more than a “political talking point” aimed at the Obama administration.
Lev Parnas’s claim that he and Trump are BFFs is no more compelling. To prove that he has been Trump’s “ally and his asset on the ground in Ukraine,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he’d post a photo of himself with Trump every time the president claims not to know him.
The mainstream media have been eating up the story, posting photos of Parnas standing next to Trump, in most of them making a thumb’s up gesture. MSNBC even ran this video provided by Parnas’s attorney (beginning at 1:16):
But not a single photo can be found of the two men chatting intimately, or even facing each other— just images of Parnas standing beside Trump mugging for the camera like so many of the president’s supporters accorded a chance to pose with him: