Thursday, November 14, 2019

Jim Jordan Explains Why Trump Held Up the Money to Ukraine Without a Quid Pro Quo




Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, during the first public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Photo via AP)

In the first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) cleared up misconceptions about why President Donald Trump held up the military assistance funds that Congress had approved for Ukraine. Democrats insist that this delay was part of a corrupt quid pro quo — "bribery," "extortion," and whatever the next term may be — to force Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of former vice president and 2020 Democrat Joe Biden, as a political attack on his potential rival.

The Democrat narrative seems disturbingly plausible, but Jordan gave a far better explanation for why Trump held up the money.

"There was a delay on sending hard-earned tax dollars of the American people to Ukraine," Jordan admitted. "We’re not talking any country, we’re talking Ukraine. Ernst & Young said one of the three most corrupt countries on the planet. … So our president said, 'Time out. Time out, let’s check out this new guy. Let’s see if Zelensky’s the real deal. This new guy who got elected in April, whose party took power in July. Let’s see if he’s legitimate.'"

Jordan continued, "Now, keep in mind, in 2018 President Trump had already done more for Ukraine than Obama did. That’s right, President Trump — who doesn’t like foreign aid, who wanted European countries to do more, who knew how corrupt Ukraine was — did more than Obama because he gave them Javelins, tank-busting Javelins to fight the Russians. Our witnesses have said this, others have said this: 'Obama gave them blankets, Trump gave them missiles.' But when it came time to check out this new guy, President Trump said, 'Let’s just see, let’s just see if he’s legit.'"

"So for 55 days, we checked him out. President Zelensky had five interactions with senior U.S. officials in that timeframe. One was, of course, the phone call, the July 25 phone call," the congressman explained. "And there were four other face-to-face meetings with other senior U.S. officials. And guess what, in not one of those interactions — not one — were security assistance dollars linked to investigating Burisma or Biden."


So what happened during those 55 days? "U.S. senators, Ambassador [John] Bolton, Vice President Pence, all became convinced that Zelensky was, in fact, worth the risk. He was, in fact, legit and the real deal and a real change. And guess what? They told the president, 'He’s a reformer, release the money.' And that’s exactly what President Trump did."

Jordan's telling of events squared with the testimony of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, who admitted that there was "no linkage" of funding to Biden investigations in any of the three meetings he had with Zelensky during the time in question.

Jordan's version of events also makes sense considering the fact that Trump released the funding without Zelensky opening an investigation into Hunter Biden, Burisma, or alleged anti-Trump Ukraine meddling in the 2016 election. Yet Democrats will continue to push the quid pro quo "extortion" narrative, because it's politically convenient.

"Now over the next few weeks, we’re going to have more witnesses like we've had today that the Democrats will parade in here and they’re all going to say this: 'So and so said such and such to so and so and therefore we’ve got to impeach the president,'" Jordan continued. He summarized testimony from Gordon Sondland to make his point: "Ambassador Taylor recalls that I told Mr. Taylor that Mr. Morrison, who conveyed this message to Mr. Yermak, in conjunction with Mr. Pence’s visit to Warsaw, for his meeting with President Zelensky."

Whatever the Democrats say, the congressman insisted on four key facts that they cannot deny: "The call shows no linkage between dollars and the investigation into Burisma or the Bidens; President Trump and President Zelensky have both said on the call there was no linkage, there was no pressure, there was no pushing; Ukrainians didn’t even know the aid was withheld at the time of the phone call; and most importantly as has been pointed out, Ukrainians didn’t take any specific action relative to investigations to get the money released."

Jordan concluded by lamenting that Democrats will not bring in the whistleblower responsible for the whole impeachment inquiry.

"We will never get the chance to see the whistleblower raise his right hand," he said. "This anonymous so-called whistleblower with no firsthand knowledge, who is biased against the president, who worked with Joe Biden, who is the reason we’re all sitting here today, we’ll never get a chance to question that individual."

This conclusion reminded Americans of what Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) had exposed earlier. Not only does the Democrats' quid pro quo version of events not match up with the story of Trump's Ukraine policy, but the entire impeachment push began with a hyperpartisan whistleblower who is represented by a lawyer who celebrated a "coup" against President Trump and predicted his impeachment — in the days after his inauguration.

There are many key reasons why not a single Republican joined Democrats in voting to formally open an impeachment inquiry, and why two Democrats joined Republicans in voting against it. Jim Jordan revealed it for what it was, and explained the real reason why Trump held up the money.

Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Case for the Impeachment Defense


By Rudy Giuliani| The Wall Street Journal


President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in New York, Sept. 25. PHOTO: SAUL LOEB/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

My client’s call with the Ukrainian president was innocent, and the House inquiry is a travesty.

If your only sources of news the past two months have been CNN and MSNBC, you probably think President Trump has committed some heinous act that is deserving of being drawn, quartered and carted out of the White House.

That’s a false narrative built on selectively leaked testimony from Rep. Adam Schiff’s closed-door Intelligence Committee hearings. The manner in which he and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are conducting this impeachment investigation is unprecedented, constitutionally questionable, and an affront to American fair play.

The conversation my client, President Donald J. Trump, had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 was innocent. During a congratulatory call, the newly elected Mr. Zelensky brought up the need to “drain the swamp” in his country. 

Rooting out corruption was one of Mr. Zelensky’s campaign pledges, and Mr. Trump asked him to investigate allegations of corruption at the highest levels of both governments. It was a matter of serious mutual concern.

In particular, Messrs. Zelensky and Trump discussed Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. 

A Ukrainian court ruled in December last year that the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko illegally interfered in the 2016 election by releasing documents related to Paul Manafort. A January 2017 report from Politico implied that the officials released the information to hurt the Trump campaign. 

The site reported that a Democratic National Committee contractor, Alexandra Chalupa, dug for dirt on Mr. Manafort’s work in Ukraine. This past May, Valeriy Chaly, Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., told the Hill’s John Solomon that Ms. Chalupa came to the embassy looking for damaging information on Mr. Manafort. 

Ms. Chalupa has denied conducting opposition research with Ukrainian officials for the DNC but told Politico that she provided what information she found on Mr. Manafort to “a lot of journalists.” Needless to say, the matter could still use investigating.

Mr. Trump also briefly brought up his concerns regarding former Vice President Joe Biden’s conduct toward Ukraine while his son, Hunter Biden, worked for the Ukrainian company Burisma. 

Andriy Derkach, a member of Ukraine’s Parliament, told the press in early October that he had reviewed documents showing that Burisma transferred $900,000 to Rosemont Seneca Partners, a lobbying firm owned by Hunter Biden, and that the money was for lobbying Joe Biden.

In my view, the former vice president should be investigated for bribery, and at the very least both Bidens’ behavior deserves serious scrutiny.

For Messrs. Trump and Zelensky to discuss these issues was not only proper but an exercise of Mr. Trump’s responsibility as U.S. president as expressed in Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution: “to take care that the laws of the United States are faithfully executed.”

Moreover, Mr. Trump requested that Ukraine root out corruption; he didn’t demand it. His words were cordial, agreeable and free of any element of threat or coercion. 

Mr. Trump offered nothing in return to Ukraine for cleaning up corruption. If you doubt me, read the transcript. Allegations of Burisma-Biden corruption weren’t even a major part of the conversation. The focus was on Ukrainian corruption broadly speaking and out of a five-page transcript Mr. Trump spent only six lines on Joe Biden.

Moreover, Mr. Zelensky has made clear he felt the call was a perfectly normal, friendly and appropriate conversation, one in which he felt no pressure of any kind.

In an ideal America, politicians would be held to the same standard regardless of party, and this inquiry would be over. But the left’s inability to accept the results of the 2016 election and fear of Mr. Trump’s policy agenda have driven the Democrats into a frenzy. 

Call it Trump derangement syndrome or a corrupt double standard, but there can be little doubt that Mr. Biden would not be pursued so aggressively were he in Mr. Trump’s place. The dominance of the left-leaning media is one of the main reasons that Capitol Hill Democrats can get away with acting this way.
If the American people are allowed to see the facts of the matter, the truth will prevail. 

But if the allegations against Joe and Hunter Biden aren’t fully investigated, we won’t have equal justice under the law. 

Politicians of both parties should insist on fairness. That necessarily includes defending the right of political opponents to have their say before the American people—even President Trump.

Mr. Giuliani is Donald Trump’s personal attorney. He served as mayor of New York, 1994-2001.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Trump-Ukraine Whistleblower Slapped With an Improper Fundraising Complaint


By Matt Vespa | Townhall.com


Source: AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

The Trump-Ukraine whistleblower’s identity remains a mystery. Who is this person? A name has been put out there, but there hasn’t been confirmation. Then again, let’s just say this guy fits the description perfectly, to the point where if this person is confirmed to be the guy—we all shouldn’t be shocked. 

This is the clown who filed a complaint that President Trump tried to shake down the Ukrainians political leadership into investigating the Biden family, specifically Hunter Biden, and his cozy position at an energy company despite having zero experience in this field while Joe Biden was serving as vice president. If they didn’t, the U.S. would withhold military aid. It’s an even shoddier impeachment case than Russian collusion, which is all a myth. 

House Democrats grabbed this and ran with it. We’re going to have an impeachment circus on the Hill. We already do, but this is going to be the grand finale. All because this whistleblower, who is a registered Democrat and reported CIA agent that also worked in the Obama White House and with a 2020 Democratic nominee, said something bad happened.

It was a call he did not listen in on; it’s all second-hand information. Oh, and did we forget to mention that he contacted the staff of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, who is quarterbacking this impeachment effort? Yeah, Schiff knew the contents of the complaint before it was formally filed. 

And now, we have a new tidbit about this whistleblower. He may have solicited improper donations (via Fox News):

A newly filed complaint to the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) alleges that the whistleblower whose allegations touched off House Democrats' impeachment inquiry may have violated federal law by indirectly soliciting more than a quarter-million dollars from mostly anonymous sources via a GoFundMe page.

The complaint, which was filed last week and obtained by Fox News, alleged the donations from roughly 6,000 individuals "clearly constitute" gifts to a current intelligence official that may be restricted because of the employee's official position pursuant to 5 CFR 2635.203 and other statutes. To date, the GoFundMe has raised over $227,000.

The complaint also raised the possibility that some of the donations may have come from prohibited sources, and asked the ICIG to look into whether any "foreign citizen or agent of a foreign government" contributed.

Tully Rinckey PLLC, the law firm representing the individual reporting the allegations, is closely guarding the identity of their client, though Fox News is told the individual is the holder of a top-secret SCI security clearance and has served in government.

"I have not seen anything on this scale," Anthony Gallo, the managing partner of Tully Rinckey PLLC, told Fox News, referring to the fundraising. "It's not about politics for my client -- it's whistleblower-on-whistleblower, and [my client's] only interest is to see the government ethics rules are being complied with government-wide."

So, now we have whistleblowers…whistleblowing…on other whistleblowers. Or actual whistleblowers trying to ensure that political hacks are called out for their alleged unethical behavior as they continue with the more odious plot of trying to undue to results of the 2016 election.  

Question for ABC and CBS: Will Ashley Bianco Get Her Job Back?


By Guy Benson | Townhall.com


If you're late to this mess, go watch the shocking tape of ABC News anchor Amy Robach venting on a hot mic about the network refusing to air the scoop she landed on Jeffrey Epstein in 2016 -- which she said was powerful and corroborated.  

The video of Robach's off-air comments was captured this past August, shortly after Epstein's alleged suicide in federal custody.  After it was made public, ABC News and Robach put out somewhat dubious statements about its contents, and the network didn't address the issue on air.  It did, however, take aggressive action to seek out and destroy the person responsible for leaking the tape.  

ABC leadership tracked down the perceived culprit, who had recently taken a producing job at rival CBS, and evidently urged their competitor to fire her.  CBS complied.  Neither network is commenting on the matter.  

In an exclusive interview with Megyn Kelly, Ashley Bianco insisted that although she was the person who marked the clip in ABC's internal system at the time (many people saw Robach's comments as they happened, Bianco says, including at affiliates that were taking the feed), she did not access it after that day, and did not leak it.

Fighting back tears, Bianco said she's not the leaker, and that she was fired by CBS without any explanation or ability to defend herself.  

Some of her answers ("office gossip") sounded a bit strange to me (I also wondered about the timing of her leaving ABC just days before the Robach tape finally dropped, which ABC likely perceived as another piece of incriminating circumstantial evidence), but overall, she came across as a young woman frightened by the sudden and stunning loss of her career.  And her innocence in this caper appears to have been confirmed by the actual leaker, who released an anonymous statement through Project Veritas:

To those wrongfully accused: It is terrible that you have been lashed out at by the company. I know some may put the burden of guilt on me, but my conscience is clear. The actions of the company towards you are the result of their own and not anyone else. The public outcry, from coast to coast, of all people, creeds, and political affiliations, is clear. I have not one doubt that there will always be support for you, and you will have prosperous careers. For neither you, nor I, have done anything wrong...To ABC News: I sit right here with you all in complete shock. I, like many, are at a loss for words on how this has been handled. Instead of addressing this head-on like the company has in the past, it has spun into a mission of seek-and-destroy. Innocent people that have absolutely nothing to do with this are being hunted down as if we are all a sport. I challenge all of you to actually look inwards and remember why this company engages in journalism.

Bianco told Megyn Kelly that she'd never even heard of Project Veritas until this episode blew up her life. 

The true whistleblower specifically said that he or she selected Project Veritas as the recipient of the leak "for the sole reason that any other media outlet else would have probably shelved this as well. I thank all of them, and James [O'Keefe], for seeking truth."  

O'Keefe has also affirmed that the person through which he came to possess the Robach tape is not Ashley Bianco, and in fact is still employed by ABC.

This looks absolutely awful for ABC, with CBS playing a bad, supporting role.  Members of the news media operate on a creed of 'truth to power' journalism and transparency.  

ABC appears to have spiked important reporting, then raced to punish their own whistleblower (who reportedly has no legal recourse to challenge her termination), enlisting the cooperation of a top competitor in order to collect the wrong scalp in the process.  

They've arguably obstructed the truth about a powerful and dangerous man and his friends, they've retaliated against someone suspected of exposing that reality, and they've operated with opacity and against accountability.  How would they treat such actions if they were undertaken by a subject of their hostile reporting, be it a politician or another influential figure?  

And as for the young woman whose job was nuked -- apparently unjustly, based on panicked, rushed assumptions -- where does she go to get her reputation and career back?

If ABC has a better explanation for all of the choices they've made, they should make that case publicly, in a detailed and transparent manner.  They're doing the opposite, and one of the industry's top watch dogs is effectively snoozing through the whole thing.

------



CNN’s @brianstelter failed to cover the ABC News-Jeffrey Epstein story on @ReliableSources today. The network has yet to discuss it on-air to date.





-----


And the media wonders why huge swaths of the country doesn't trust them.

Monday, November 11, 2019

An American veteran's 'palladium' for liberty


By William Haupt III | The Center Square


Pamela Au / Shutterstock.com

“Our forefathers wisely knew that the U.S. Constitution would be utterly worthless to restrain government legislators unless it was clearly understood and could be enforced by the people.”
– Charles R. Olsen

After witnessing human indignity and lost liberties during World War II, when a Marine returned home he had one goal: He wanted to continue serving America and prevent it from succumbing to the evil malignities of socialism and fascism. He was not an academic, an author, a writer, or even a critic. But Charles R. Olsen shared a common bond with one of our wisest of founders, Ben Franklin; he was a printer. As he labored in thought how to prevent Europe’s tragedies from occurring here, he chronicled what had happened there. Each country where he fought to resurrect their liberty was subjugated by socialist regimes when the citizenry ceased participating in their judicial systems.

Charles R. Olsen, author of "The Citizens Rule Book," was an ordinary patriot who experienced the holocaust of a war that would have never taken place if citizens had been vigilant. When he set foot on American soil he realized our liberties are a gift from God, not government, and no earthly bureaucrat has the right or the authority to take them from us. As he proceeded to pen his thoughts about why America was so free and how to preserve its peace and freedoms, he remembered the words of Thomas Paine: “He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”

Experiencing first hand the horrors of fascism and socialism, he concluded the citizens allowed this to happen; one bad law at a time. None of these countries surrendered their freedom overnight. It took place candidly as a complacent citizenry looked on. Although some cared, too many did not. It was his desire to send Americans a message, to protect their freedoms and rights; they must recall their past heritage and participate in the judicial process.

“We can have all of the rights in the world but if we do not use them to our advantage, others will use them for theirs.”
– Charles R. Olsen

Since the first step in confiscating civil liberties is to take control of the legal process, the courts are the immediate target for all dictators. He wrote, “Your right as a juror is to cast your vote of guilt or innocence by only that which is right under the laws of God.” The First Amendment was born out of this concept. He recalled a passage he had read in the Minneapolis Star: "What Judges Don't Tell Juries.” Our Constitution gave the juries a role to protect us against political oppression. And this jurisprudence was never questioned. But through evolution and dilution of our liberties under bad laws, cases are won or lost interrupting laws that set precedents which have eroded democracy.

While judicial law states juries have the power to return a verdict of guilty or not guilty determined by “facts”, not just the rule of law, few jurors know it. He claims courts do not allow counsel or their defendants to inform jurors of this duty or right. And those who attempt to do this are considered in contempt of court. Because of this, juries that were originally conceived as a safety valve to soften bureaucratic rigidity by making common sense decisions, no longer act in that capacity.

“If the citizens educated themselves they could teach judges a lesson in civics."
– Charles R. Olsen

He considered educating citizens on the judicial process as the most important part of his booklet. He supported his beliefs with a compilation of quotes from our founders and salient select works to support constitutional law. Since all government is local, it’s our local courts that establish the basis for interruption of cases appealed to the Supreme Court. If they are not interpreted with wisdom as they pertain to law, our judicial system fails. This will open the doors to socialism, dictatorship and fascism. He explains that our nation's founders provided our court system to insure that we, not an army of politicians, judges, lawyers, and bureaucrats, are the ones running our nation. He said one juror can stop tyranny with a not guilty vote. And every juror should know; it is their duty to do this.

He explained we are moving quickly away from a country of republican law and headed toward a land of judicial law making. This is taking place in every court in the land because citizens forget; they are the judge and the jury. For when the process reaches the Supreme Court, it is out of their hands. When law is decided in the courts, it is no longer a “jury of peers” but a “jury of judges”; and that is no jury at all. It becomes a courtroom of unelected attorneys judging laws instead of citizens.

“Common Law is common sense and is rooted in the Ten Commandments.”
– Thomas Jefferson

Olsen believed voting is the most important right a citizen has to protect liberty. His most powerful vote is on a jury. He has more power than a president, Congress, and all Supreme Court justices. Congress only legislates, the president issues orders, and judges make decisions. But the jurors interpret law, and decide innocence or guilt. It is the citizens in court rooms across America that have the greatest influence on laws. And its bad decisions influenced by judges that empower the government over the citizen in determining law by setting bad precedent. Thus, those acting in the name of government are interpreting and rewriting law rather than a “group of common citizens.”

Cicero told us, “The people shall be the highest law.” Our most enlightened colonial citizen Thomas Paine also wrote a short pamphlet on “Common Sense” law for the average man. This resulted in a revolt against British tyranny. Charles Olsen was a working class printer who returned to our nation with a mission to save us from the sanguinely murderous horrors of war. He too realized it was the duty of common citizens to insure we decided the meaning of our laws, not the judges or the courts.

While witnessing fellow Americans die for the freedom of others on foreign soil, Olsen pondered: Who would do this for us if we stop defending the rights granted to us in our Constitution? Is it not the foundation of our liberty? Isn’t it better to defend it than lose it, then have to fight to win it back?

Olsen observed what happened when citizens were told to surrender their rights for the good of the state? Once they did, the state never worked for their common good.

“In a socialist state no matter how it is framed, if government controls the courts and the laws, it controls you.”
– Charles R. Olsen

General Douglas MacArthur once said, “The soldier above all others prays for peace.” Frustrated veterans return to America after witnessing what can happen in a country when citizens do not do their civic duty at all levels of government. They lose a liberty each time a bad local law is passed or a good one is not defended. One returning veteran who wanted to maintain peace and freedom in America did something about it. He gathered documents and works of our founding and printed a pamphlet for every American to read: So they never forget that “Liberty once lost, is lost forever.”

Olsen wrote this book to impress on citizens that they have a duty to protect their rights, which are mostly abridged in our courts. What happens in these forums, determines what rights they lose when they are not on the jury in the Supreme Court. He included a copy of The Declaration of Independence, the Commandments, The Constitution and Bill of Rights. Over three million copies of his book have been sold by the Whitten family and distributed by The Informed Jury Association.

“These are the tools given to us by our founders and they are our only palladium for liberty.”
– Charles R. Olsen

William Haupt III is a retired professional journalist, author, and citizen legislator in California for over 40 years. He got his start working to approve California Proposition 13.




Violence in Chicago proves black lives don’t matter to liberal politicians


By Gianno Caldwell | New York Post


Last month, President Trump visited my hometown of Chicago to speak at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference. Sadly, the city’s top cop, Superintendent Eddie Johnson, skipped his event that day in protest. But he, and Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, should have attended to hear some hard truths. Trump has been criticizing Chicago leadership since 2016 for allowing the violence to become one of the worst in the world, earning the title in 2015 as America’s mass-shooting capital, and he continued to highlight Chicago’s problems during the conference.

In response, Chicago’s mayor suggested Trump focus on his issues in DC, and the liberal press touted the decrease in violence in Chicago in some apparent attempt to prove how out of touch Trump is.

The decrease? Through the end of October, there have been 2,242 shooting victims and 424 murders in Chicago. Last year, we had 2,462 shooting victims and 478 murders over the same period.

In my reporting for Fox News, the people I have spoken with feel so under siege by the gun violence that this tiny drop doesn’t even register to them, and any talk from a politician who mentions the reduction in murders is a smack in their face because going on their front porch could be a death sentence.

My friend Wendy Hill has a similar story. Her brother Emell was 23 and had no association with the gangs when, one Sunday this past October, he was followed home from a gas station and shot seven times in cold blood on his front porch while he attempted to unlock his door, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.

He lay breathless while his sister screamed and knocked on neighbors’ doors, crying for help. Emell died before he made it to the hospital.

My own younger brother has also been a victim of the violence in Chicago. During Memorial Day weekend in 2017, he and a couple of friends were parked in a car on the South Side when two men approached, pulled out automatic pistols and started firing. Bullets ripped through the car.

Shattered windows. Punctured steel. And, then skin. Later, the police would count 25 shell casings. My brother survived, but I could just as easily be discussing him in the past tense.

His best friend died in my brother’s arms that night; two more victims of the violence in Chicago.

There is another way.

First, Chicagoans — of all colors and tax brackets — most come together. Democrats have run the city (and state) for 50-plus years and consider 424 murders an “improvement.”

Blindly following the party, any party, is clearly not working. I’ll repeat it: Black lives don’t matter to these people, black votes do.

Until my fellow Chicagoans accept this hard truth, we can expect to remain one of the most violent cities on earth. And while I realize this issue is far beyond politics, it is clear the liberal solutions we continue to see offered by local leaders have failed.

Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, was mayor of Chicago from 2011 to 2019 and was nothing more than a failure.

He’d offered only promises, higher taxes and “sanctuary” for everyone but the — mostly — African Americans bleeding in our streets. He and the local Democratic leadership sought to decrease gun violence only via stronger gun laws, catapulting Illinois’ gun regulations to among the very strictest in the nation. (Someone should have warned Emanuel that criminals don’t obey the law.)

The current mayor, Lightfoot, seems cut from the same cloth, spending more time spouting anti-Trump rhetoric than actually tackling the real problems that her city faces.

Second, let’s end the narrative of “they’re not from Chicago” or “they’re a Republican,” so their thoughts don’t matter.

The leadership of Chicago should reach out to the “other side,” to any side — with an idea or funding to help.

President Obama never truly extended a hand to Chicago (his “adopted hometown”) to stop the violence. He had a unique opportunity to raise the issue of Chicago violence as a national crisis.

We’ve now got a leader in Washington who’s willing to work with Chicago to fully fund programs aimed at positive alternatives for at-risk individuals, using interventions shown to have long-term impacts on violent behavior. But “Trump’s not welcome in Chicago,” according to some Illinois politicians. If the president is serious about helping the people in Chicago, and I believe he is, we can’t turn any help away.

All too often, policy issues and decisions are being made with decades-old data and assumptions.

Of the top 30 causes of death in the United States, gun violence is the least researched.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, gun violence should have received almost $1.5 billion in federal research money between 2004 and 2015 and instead received a total of only $22 million.

The lack of research condemns policymakers to remain ignorant about many aspects of gun violence, including the most effective ways to reduce violence. There are thousands of studies waiting to be performed, and more than 100 medical organizations have beseeched Congress to restore funding for this research. We must add our voices to that demand.

“All over the world,” Trump scolded, “they’re talking about Chicago.” But Chicago is not an isolated problem. Detroit, St. Louis, Memphis, Baltimore, Kansas City, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Oakland.

Chicago is in a national crisis, and one murder is too many.

Posturing and politics must end. There’s been enough bloodshed. And the world is watching.

Gianno Caldwell (@giannocaldwell) is the author of “Taken for Granted: How Conservatism Can Win Back the Americans That Liberalism Failed” (Crown Forum), out Tuesday.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Schiff denies GOP request to have Ukraine whistleblower testify publicly, warns against 'sham investigations'


By Melissa Leon, Brooke Singman | Fox News


House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., rejected a request by Republicans to have the Ukraine phone call whistleblower testify at next week's public impeachment inquiry hearings, saying that their testimony was "redundant and unnecessary."

The GOP witness list, obtained by Fox News earlier Saturday, included Hunter Biden, the son of former vice president Joe Biden, and the anonymous intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint about a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky triggered the impeachment inquiry.

"The committee ... will not facilitate efforts by President Trump and his allies in Congress to threaten, intimidate and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm," Schiff said in a letter to Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif. " ... The whistleblower has a right under laws championed by this committee to remain anonymous and to be protected from harm."

"The impeachment inquiry, moreover, has gathered an ever-growing body of evidence -- from witnesses and documents, including the president's own words in his July 25 call record -- that not only confirms but far exceeds the initial information in the whistleblower's complaint ... " Schiff concluded his letter. "In light of the president's threats, the individual's appearance before us would only place their personal safety at grave risk."

Earlier in his letter, Schiff had warned Nunes that the impeachment inquiry and the House Intelligence Committee "will not serve as vehicles" for what he called "sham investigations into the Bidens or debunked conspiracies about 2016 U.S. election interference that President Trump pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit."

The impeachment inquiry began when a whistleblower reported that Trump had pushed Zelensky to launch an investigation into the Biden family’s dealings in Ukraine— specifically, why former Vice President Joe Biden pressured former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire a top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, where Hunter held a lucrative role on the board, bringing in a reported $50,000 per month.

Republicans noted that testimony from former State Department official George Kent raised concerns about "the appearance of a conflict of interest stemming from Mr. Biden's position on Burisma's board," and added that former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich was prepared by the Obama State Department to address questions about Mr. Biden's position on Burisma during her Senate confirmation process.

Republicans also planned to call the younger Biden's former long-time business partner, Devon Archer, who also sat on the board of Burisma. Republicans claim Archer can help the public to understand "the nature and extent of Ukraine's pervasive corruption information that bears directly on President Trump's longstanding and deeply-held skepticism of the country."

Schiff himself said in September the whistleblower would appear before Congress “very soon,” but in recent weeks has suggested that testimony is unnecessary.

"Because President Trump should be afforded an opportunity to confront his accusers, the anonymous whistleblower should testify," Nunes wrote in his letter to Schiff earlier Saturday. "Moreover, given the multiple discrepancies between the whistleblower's complaint and the closed-door testimony of the witnesses, it is imperative that the American people hear definitively how the whistleblower developed his or her information, and who else the whistleblower may have fed the information he or she gathered and how that treatment of classified information may have led to the false narrative being perpetrated by the Democrats during this process."

Republicans are also requesting that the "more than half a dozen sources" the whistleblower cited in their complaint to the Intelligence Community Inspector General, whose identities also remain anonymous, attend for a public deposition.

The list of witnesses also includes Nellie Ohr, a researcher at opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the now-infamous anti-Trump dossier; Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American consultant for the Democratic National Committee who allegedly met with officials at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C. to discuss incriminating information about Trump campaign officials; ex-National Security Council official Tim Morrison; former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker; and high-ranking State Department official David Hale.

Earlier Saturday, the president again called the impeachment inquiry a “witch hunt” and said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Schiff and Biden should be added to the list of witnesses who would be called to testify.

"The witch hunt continues, lot of witch hunt continues,” he told reporters. "The Republicans have never been so united and I think the people of our country have never been so united.”

Fox News' Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

_________________


RELATED ARTICLE

THE UKRAINE SCANDAL SPREADS

BY JOHN HINDERAKER | POWERLINE

I take it as a given that Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma paid the Biden family a $3 million bribe. 

That follows from the facts that:

1) Hunter Biden doesn’t speak Ukrainian or have any experience in Ukrainian business, 
2) Hunter Biden has no experience in the natural gas industry, 
3) Burisma nevertheless paid Biden more than $83,000 a month (!) for three years to serve on its board of directors, a role that usually is only nominally compensated, and 
4) Joe Biden at the time was responsible for Ukraine policy in the Obama administration. But there may be even more to the scandal than that.

John Solomon has been an indispensable source here, in part because of his own Freedom of Information Act requests. His most recent revelations concern Burisma’s relationship with the U.S. Agency for International Development, an arm of the State Department:

A State Department official who served in the U.S. embassy in Kiev told Congress that the Obama administration tried in 2016 to partner with the Ukrainian gas firm that employed Hunter Biden but the project was blocked over corruption concerns.

George Kent, the former charge d’affair at the Kiev embassy, said in testimony released Thursday that the State Department’s main foreign aid agency, known as USAID, planned to co-sponsor a clean energy project with Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas firm that employed Hunter Biden as a board member.

At the time of the proposed project, Burisma was under investigation in Ukraine for alleged corruption. …

Kent testified he personally intervened in mid-2016 to stop USAID’s joint project with Burisma because American officials believed the corruption allegations against the gas firm raised concern.

The time line is important here. Hunter Biden started getting money from Burisma in 2014. In February 2016, Burisma’s top-shelf international lobbying firm used Hunter’s name to fast-track an appointment with a senior State Department official to deny reports of corruption involving Burisma:




A few months later, by mid-2016, the Obama administration had in place a plan for USAID to partner with Burisma, until Kent intervened to block it.
More:

Kent’s stoppage of the USAID project adds to a growing body of evidence that Burisma and its corruption issues were causing heartburn inside the State Department during the end of Joe Biden’s tenure as Vice President.

Another State official has reportedly testified he tried to warn Biden’s office that the Burisma matter posed a conflict of interest but was turned away by the vice president’s aides.

***
Kent’s newly released testimony also confirmed several other elements of my earlier reporting about Ukraine, including that the U.S. embassy exerted pressure on Ukrainian prosecutors not to pursue certain investigations.

***
For instance, Kent acknowledged signing an April 2016 letter that asked the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office to stand down an investigation of several nonprofits that had received U.S. aid, including the AntiCorruption Action Centre of Ukraine, or AnTac.

Kent also confirmed my reporting that AnTac was jointly funded by the State Department and one of liberal megadonor George Soros’ foundations.

So Obama administration corruption relating to Ukraine may well have extended beyond Burisma’s $3 million bribe to the Biden family. 

President Trump was entirely correct in wanting this Obama/Biden administration corruption to be investigated, but the Democratic Party press seems to have succeeded, bizarrely, in painting Trump as the villain of the story.

Who says the “mainstream” press no longer has any power? 

The Biden family’s self-enrichment is a great example of the swamp against which Donald Trump ran for office, and America’s reporters and editors, with few exceptions, are swamp members in good standing.