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Vigliotti: Here they go again: Democrats and impeachment

Although she had previously dismissed talk of impeachment as unhelpful and not necessarily warranted, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has, expectedly, yielded to pressure. On Tuesday afternoon, she announced she would seek an impeachment inquiry regarding the activities of President Donald Trump based on rumors and conjecture regarding a phone call between the American president and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.

The assumed narrative was set: President Trump withheld American aid to Ukraine in order to bully Ukraine into unjustifiably reinvestigating Hunter Biden, previously on the board of Ukrainian gas firm Burisma Holdings, and previously under an investigation which then-Vice President Joe Biden (Hunter’s father) pressured to a halt.

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But an unredacted transcript of the call was released, and the suspected series of events was demonstrated as concocted.

President Trump did not mention withholding or reinstating aid in exchange for an investigation. Many on the Left like to criticize conservatives and Trump supporters for not paying attention to global affairs. Clearly those same individuals missed Zelensky’s promises to root out corruption and reform Ukrainian politics.

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Why then would it be surprising that the president of Ukraine would agree a renewed investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Bidens’ activities was appropriate without American aid factoring into the decision at all? Zelensky himself even noted that there was no “pushing” by Trump for an investigation.

But the Left has, as the major and overarching guiding purpose of their existence at present, the defeat of President Trump. It only naturally follows that they would assume the absolute worst.

The concern seems generally less about Hunter Biden being on the firm and under investigation, than his vice president father derailing the investigation itself. Democrats are arguing that there was no wrongdoing, and that there is nothing at all worth looking into.

But if any of President Trump’s children (or a even a distant relative) was on the board of a foreign company under foreign investigation, and any member of the president’s administration (let alone the vice president) coerced that foreign power to stop an investigation, Democrats would have a far different opinion on the matter. They would be accusing President Trump of a litany of wrongs — and calling for an investigation of their own.

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But so much for fairness. While there is nothing explicit, some have contended that Trump’s delineation of American support of Ukraine, and Zelensky’s seeking military weapons, constitute unconnected pieces of a puzzle that add up to a quid pro quo. It is as if longstanding friendship and American support of Ukraine did not exist prior to this phone call.

If the call exhibited clear wrongdoing, then it would be proper and necessary to pursue justice. But there is no proof of any wrongdoing here. In fact, both Trump and Zelensky talk about wanting to counter wrongdoing and corruption. The Department of Justice has also announced it has already considered, and rejected an investigation into the particulars of the call.

But still the impeachment inquiry.

Notice how much of the emphasis since Pelosi’s announcement has been less on “impeachment” than it has been on “inquiry.” This is not accidental.

If nothing turns up, Pelosi can say she was open to impeachment if the inquiry had yielded anything — and in so doing, attempt to mollify the extremists despite the negative result. She can also tell voters at election time that she did not rush into impeachment, but wanted the inquiry to give the president a fair scrutiny.

If something does turn up, Pelosi can say she went into it with an open mind rather than blindly rushing down the road to impeachment by first privileging the inquiry investigation over impeachment itself. She could tell voters that everything has been given a congressional due process.

If nothing turns up but it is politically advantageous (and it will be for the Left), Pelosi can keep the open-ended impeachment “inquiry” going as long as they need it. Remember the longevity of the Mueller Investigation?

In other words, it really didn’t matter what the Ukrainian call transcript said. Pelosi now has her opening to proceed into impeachment territory under the premise of an inquiry. The extreme Left has been calling for impeachment under any condition for any reason, and now Pelosi has, in effect, formalized that rallying cry. Already, a number of Democrats are saying the call is proof enough to proceed.

But something else must be remembered, here. President Trump wanted the transcript released. He also wants full transparency with everything relating to the whistleblower complaint that brought the phone call to the nation’s attention — as well as transparency about the Bidens’ activities and the four Democratic senators who also wrote a letter to pressure Ukraine.

Under present circumstances, it would only make sense for everything to come to light. But while Trump is arguing for transparency, many on the Left are insisting the Biden component is immaterial. Considering that current events so heavily hinge on that Ukrainian investigation and all its aspects, why wouldn’t it be pertinent to review it?

And should any hard evidence of wrongdoing appear no matter the individual, the wrongdoing must be pursued. But in the midst of all of this, we have to go back to the start and remember one of the very Western cornerstones of our justice system: that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Even when it comes to politics.

Joe Vigliotti, a contributor to The Flip Side and a Taneytown city councilman, writes from Taneytown. His column appears every other Friday. Email him through his website at www.jvigliotti.com.

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