xml:space="preserve">

I was saddened by the reports of the passing of Maryland’s 7th district congressman, Rep. Elijah Cummings. He was a career politician, but one of the relatively few who actually did work to better the lives of his constituents, and in Congress, for all Americans.

He spoke for those without a voice and gave hope to those who felt hopeless. He fought for what he believed was right and just. We may not see the likes of him for quite some time.

Advertisement

In the next installment of the continuing soap opera that is the current impeachment investigation, it seems that the more the president and his minions try to extricate themselves from the morass, the deeper into it they seem to go. The latest piece of damning evidence came when the acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, first stated that there was some quid pro quo suggested during talks with Ukraine, and later tried to recant those remarks. I’m of the opinion that his first statements contained more of the truth and that his attempts to walk back those statements were made after being coached on what he should say. Unless the statements have been carefully coached and practiced beforehand, the first ones are more often than not the truth, and whatever follows is simply spin to try to get away from the truth.

Just in the past week or so, several people involved in the Ukraine situation have defied the administration’s edicts barring anyone from testifying before the several House committees investigating it, and spoken before at least two of them. In each case, reports say, the former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and recently retired career diplomat and aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Michael McKinley, have corroborated the statements made by the unnamed whistleblower. Plus, they have raised questions about the involvement of Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, in the quest to get disparaging information on presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Special envoy Kurt Volker testified and provided text messages revealing that the State Department attempted to prod Ukraine’s leaders to investigate the connections between Hunter Biden and the Burisma gas company. Gordon Sondland, another ambassador who was privy to those text message exchanges, appeared before investigators. He said he came to realize that Giuliani likely was trying “to involve Ukrainians, directly or indirectly, in the president’s 2020 re-election campaign.”

On another matter that could be used as evidence of wrongdoing by Trump and his administration, he, and they, have chosen one of the Trump resort properties to host the next G-7 meetings. It is, by the way, constitutionally illegal for the president to enrich himself or his family as a result of his decisions. Hosting the G-7 talks will be worth hundreds of thousands — or even multiple millions — of dollars for the Trump Organization. Hotel rooms, meeting and conference room rentals, catered meals and banquets, and bar charges for the seven heads of state, their entourages, the associated security forces, and the various and sundry others required to carry on the talks will all stay at the Doral resort, and each of the governments will pay Trump. It’s a clear violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution. The Trumps have tried to assure us that they will only charge the governments the going rates and not gouge them, but unless they are providing all of this for free, the plan still falls within the parameters of the emoluments clause.

Then there is the matter of the Turkish invasion of Syria. Trump showed once again that alliances are only good as long as they meet his desires. Once he decides that it is no longer in his best interest he is willing to turn his, and America’s, back on those who have fought and died trying to help us stem the tide of possible terrorism. His actions in this situation have proven that he has no concept of foreign policy and diplomacy. He has essentially turned over the Middle East to the influence and control of Vladimir Putin, once again showing the U.S to be untrustworthy in its relationships with former allies. The world watches and wonders what ever happened to the most respected nation on the planet.

Finally, the Democratic debate of last week, at long last, provided us with some real exchanges and serious disagreements on how the various candidates would begin their administrations and how they would approach the myriad of issues before them. It was refreshing to see Mayor Pete Buttigieg take on Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders on their health care plans and Beto O’Rourke on his gun takeback ideas. Maybe we’ll finally get somewhere on deciding on a nominee. Personally, I’m still touting Marylander John Delaney, a moderate with real solutions. Unfortunately, he hasn’t resonated with enough people to be included in the last debate and may be fighting the uphill battle to remain even minimally relevant as a candidate. Maybe a Cabinet post or even the vice presidency could be in store. Reasonable folks need to have a voice.

Bill Kennedy writes every other week from Taneytown. You may contact him via email at wlkennedyiii@verizon.net.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement