Democrats, socialists and others with animosity toward this White House say they’ve found the smoking gun in Donald Trump’s released telephone transcript with Ukraine’s president — the supposed quid pro quo nugget of gold — and that it won’t be long now before impeach, impeach, impeach moves from message to reality.
Hmm. Really now. Funny how after eight years of Barack Obama quid pro quo-ing here, there and everywhere, it’s only now Democrats care.
It’s only now Democrats seem to have gleaned a sense of conscientiously objecting to what they perceive as abusing one’s high office to obtain political or personal favors.
Not that Trump’s call with the Ukraine president falls under that header. Hardly.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff may be out and about, trying to make some sort of federal case over the just-released five-page transcript of the telephone conversation by wildly saying, “It is shocking. … What those notes reflect is a classic mafia-like shakedown of a foreign leader.”
But don’t you believe it. Read it yourself.
And while reading, in between yawns, consider this, a headline from Green Biz, from March of 2011: “Barack Obama, Clean Tech and the Political Quid Pro Quo.”
The piece goes on to recount how the Center for Public Integrity published “a long, in-depth look at how some of the Obama campaign’s most prolific fundraisers have gotten loans, grants and special access to [his] administration,” to include a “deep look at how [Steve] Westly, former California state controller and venture capitalist … landed intimate access to the Obama administration.”
The Westly Group funded, among other companies, Tesla Motors. And all the while he was visiting the White House, serving as a member of the Obama administration’s advisory board on energy policy, and so forth and so on, he was raking in half a billion dollars in loans, grants and stimulus bucks for his green companies. That was money from the Obama Energy Department to Westly, the guy who wined and dined with Obama et al with eyebrow-raising frequency. Corruption? Quid pro quo?
As Green Biz put it, such intertwining of politics and business is “about the most commonplace form of political quid pro quo that exists.”
No biggie; nothing to see here; move on? Maybe. “Political sausage-making,” as Green Biz writes, is barely a blip these days.
But then there’s this.
“Barack Obama’s Ambassador Legacy: Plum Postings for Big Donors,” Public Integrity wrote, in a January, 2017, headline.
Legacy, indeed. Obama, according to Public Integrity, gave cushy ambassador posts to 31 campaign faithfuls who pulled in at least $50,000 for his reelection. He also doled out second-term ambassador slots to 39 who gave generously to his campaign, either in the form or money or political capital — or both.
The Washington Post made a whole map out of Obama’s campaign-cash-cows-for-ambassador-posts coincidences. Why not? Have some fun with it.
“This very telling map shows which U.S. ambassadors were campaign bundlers,” The Post wrote back in February 2014.
Quid pro quo?
Another headline above a September 2017 YouTube video asks the same question, different arena: “President Obama and Wall Street Quid Pro Quo?”
And then there was this, from the Wall Street Journal in August of 2016: “President Barack Obama on Thursday defended his decision to authorize a $400 million cash payment to Iran that coincided with the country’s release of American prisoners in January.”
There’s that whole quid pro quo label sneaking up again — or maybe it’s better known as That Time Obama Paid Ransom to Terrorists.
“[The] Obama administration insists there was no quid pro quo,” The Wall Street Journal wrote in a separate piece in August, 2016.
Guess it was just coincidence those Americans were released at the same time the White House was directing secret loads of cash onto an airplane bound for Tehran. Onto an unmarked cargo plane.
Quid pro quo?
Good question. Good questions, all. Just don’t ask the Democrats. They’re too busy sifting through the five-page transcript of Trump’s telephone call for something, anything — oh, God, please, please, anything! — they can sell as quid pro quo to take down Trump and go forward with their only election hope for 2020: impeach.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @ckchumley.
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