The impeachment of President Trump may resemble a reality TV show, but it only makes sense when the camera close-ups give way to historical perspective.
The impeachment hearings held in the U.S. House of Representatives gave Democrats a blank canvas on which to illustrate their deeply-held conviction of Mr. Trump’s nefarious nature. The impeachment trial conducted across the Capitol Building in the U.S. Senate has given Republicans a chance to paint an opposing picture of a president unfairly prosecuted and whose only crime was winning. Americans trying to make sense of the jarring spectacle should not forget that the impeachment saga is just the most recent skirmish in a lengthy campaign by the president’s enemies to rid the nation of their nemesis.
Rewinding the tape on the three-year Trump era, facts emerge from the torrent of never-Trump schemes like stepping stones across a raging river. It is plain that Mr. Trump was targeted for reputational annihilation by Obama administration officials determined to ensure the election of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” operation deployed domestic surveillance in an effort to link candidate Trump with Russians by following — and sometimes constructing — a latticework of increasingly tenuous connections.
Warrants securing permission to surveil the Trump campaign were falsified, recently earning a strong rebuke from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. In the meantime, though, the spying set off a chain of perverse consequences that trashed numerous Trump associates, among them National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, still fighting to redeem his name, and campaign manager Paul Manafort, now sitting in a Pennsylvania federal prison. Special counsel Robert Mueller, appointed to take out Mr. Trump, failed to produce evidence sufficient for the job. Ultimately, he could do nothing but clear the president. To this day, punishment for the perpetrators of the get-Trump crusade has been absent, save for a few firings.
Next came the Ukrainian imbroglio, which enveloped the Trump White House the day after the book was shut on the Mueller investigation. The timing points to clockwork, not coincidence. Democrats cried that during a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Trump tried to condition military aide for Ukraine on an investigation of political rival Joe Biden. With a few tweaks, the offending act was cast as Trump-Ukraine collusion, a re-do of the Trump-Russia collusion narrative that had just been debunked. From the same recipe, the president’s determined enemies whipped up articles of impeachment, charging the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
It’s human nature for victims of injustice to entertain raw emotions, and the president is not immune from human nature. It’s neither paranoia nor a conspiracy theory if they really are out to get you.
Just as Russians attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election but failed to infiltrate the Trump team, Ukraine became entangled in similar mischief. Most notably, then-Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly wrote an op-ed in The Hill prior to the election condemning Mr. Trump for purportedly downplaying Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The Hill also reported in 2019 that a Democratic National Committee contractor with ties to the U.S.-Ukrainian community asked the Ukrainian embassy for help in collecting political dirt on Manafort.
Additionally, the business deal that made Hunter Biden a highly-paid board member of a dodgy energy company, conveniently spared investigation by the intervention of father Joe Biden, made Ukraine worthy of the president’s concern.
As Mr. Trump’s legal team ably demonstrated before the Senate, the president had ample cause for raising the issue of the Bidens’ activities in Ukraine with that nation’s president during the infamous conversation that triggered the impeachment fandango.
Chief accuser Adam Schiff failed to validate his articles of impeachment, which were based on fuzzy second-hand suspicions of Trump critics. Contrary to his assertions to the Senate, there is no legal test with which to accurately measure whether the infinite complexity of the human mind is pursuing personal or national interests when those interests fully overlap. For the good of the nation, Mr. Schiff and his cabal of Trump haters are obligated to lay down their pitchforks and torches, allowing voters to pass their own judgment on the president’s fitness for office on Election Day. If, driven by their bitterness, they redouble their dirty plotting against the president, Americans would do well to drive them from office.
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