No Minister

Ukraine, Russia and Impeachment as Coup

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Understand this plainly: Trump was impeached, ostensibly, for asking about this corrupt arrangement. But no one is ever impeached for engaging in it. Nor can our elites, who almost all benefit from this system one way or another, muster the integrity to do, or even say, anything against it.

In the run up to the 2022 US Mid-Term elections, I regretted hearing whispers about the possibility of impeaching President Biden. Even having failed to gain control of the Senate I still read comments to the effect that an in-depth investigation of Hunter Biden and the family business might still lead to impeachment of the President.

That would be incredibly stupid, but then it was stupid of the GOP to impeach Clinton in 1998 and even more stupid of the Democrats to impeach Trump in 2020, although I can understand their desperation in the pre-Covid days when a roaring economy, no domestic eruptions and no wars meant a likely Trump victory that year. Of course there’s no point in covering the unhinged vengeful second impeachment of Trump after he’d lost the election.

But before discussing what might happen to Biden, it pays to cover off the non-fallout of the first Trump impeachment. Although I covered it in detail at the time, that was more about the strategies, tactics, facts and evidence: a wider perspective is worth looking at, and that includes President Obama.

First, it pays to recall that the vast Administrative State in Washington D.C. was very unhappy at Trump’s 2016 victory, and apparently determined even back then to disrupt his Administration:

Others, however, view resistance as a part of the job. “Policy dissent is in our culture,” one diplomat in Africa, who signed the letter circulating among foreign diplomats, told The New York Times. “We even have awards for it,” this person added, in reference to the State Department’s “Constructive Dissent” award. One Justice Department employee told the Post, “You’re going to see the bureaucrats using time to their advantage,” and added that “people here will resist and push back against orders they find unconscionable,” by whistle-blowing, leaking to the press, and lodging internal complaints. Others are staying in contact with officials appointed by President Obama to learn more about how they can undermine Trump’s agenda and attending workshops on how to effectively engage in civil disobedience, the Post reports.

Entire departments of Sir Humphries – with an attitude that they represent the people. Which talk turned to this from senior Democrat Senator, Chuck Schumer:

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

Journalist Mollie Hemingway had already noticed all this in January 2017 before Trump was inaugurated:

Dwight Eisenhower warned that if we didn’t stay vigilant, the military-industrial complex would start creeping into politics with pernicious motives all its own.

Sorry Dwight, but it was already too late by then, and you share some of the blame.

Fast forward two years and the other side of the fence, the Far Left magazine Counterpunch – while skewering the Democrats over their treatment of Bernie Sanders and general attitude towards getting Establishment candidates winning primaries at any cost – noted the same thing:

Whatever one thinks of Donald Trump and impeachment, it is the political establishment that is trying to bring him down. That the ‘whistleblower’ is a CIA officer who has since returned to active duty at the agency isn’t lost on Mr. Trump’s supporters. As much as the NPR tote bag set believes that it is the fount of wisdom and truth, they, along with the CIA, inflicted three years of the cynical farce of Russiagate on us and came up empty handed.

Being Counterpunch it has to be the CIA, of course, but actually it was the FBI – and the military:

The word “coup” shifted to a new level of formalized meaning last week when members of the political resistance showed up to remove President Trump wearing military uniforms.

Not only did U.S. military leadership remain silent to the optics and purpose, but in the testimony of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman he admits to giving instructions to ignore the instructions from a sitting United States President.

In the absence of push-back from the Joint Chiefs, from this moment forth, the impression is tacit U.S. military support for the Vindman objective.

Much more detail at that link about how Vindman “felt” about Trump’s instructions as CiC and the military desk-jockey background he had that he thought justified that, but this part also counts:

And if this president doesn’t understand their importance, if this president doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, both domestically and abroad, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office — Republican, Democrat or independent — the sooner, the better. The fate of our Republic depends upon it.

That’s Admiral McRaven, who was in charge when special forces killed bin Laden, writing an opinion piece for the Washington Post. As usual I’ll put the “imagine if a retired Admiral had written that about Obama/Biden”. And as usual I’ll note how The Establishment approved of such public sentiments. That’s what you’re left with after Obama fired some two hundred senior officers during his time as President: an unprecedented rate. Read the whole article (the discussions about corruption in Africa alone, courtesy of the Washington Post’s Keith Richburg, are worth it).

More here in describing the background of another patriotic witness to Trump’s perfidy, Marie Yovanovitch, appointed ambassador to Ukraine by Obama in May 2016, and quite a piece of work in saying what needs to be said to survive, as with her evasive answers about calling the Armenian genocide … a genocide.

Historian Victor David Hanson made the argument more explicit, 10 reasons why this impeachment ‘inquiry’ is really a coup, of which just two:

1) Impeachment 24/7. The “inquiry,” supposedly prompted by President Trump’s Ukrainian call, is only the most recent coup seeking to overturn the 2016 election.

Usually, the serial futile attempts — with the exception of the Mueller debacle — were characterized by about a month of media hysteria. We remember the voting-machines-fraud hoax, the Logan Act, the Emoluments Clause, the 25th Amendment, the McCabe-Rosenstein faux coup and various Michael Avenatti-Stormy Daniels-Michael Cohen psychodramas. Ukraine, then, isn’t unique, but simply another mini-coup.

6) No high crimes or misdemeanors. There is no proof of any actual crime. Asking a foreign head of state to look into past corruption is pro forma. That Joe Biden is now Trump’s potential rival doesn’t exculpate possible wrongdoing in his past as vice president, when his son used the Biden name for lucrative gain.

There’s also Hanson’s discussion of double standards on impeachment – appropriate to both Obama and Biden. Some years ago a legal scholar published a book that identified the things that Obama could have been impeached on. The author bluntly said such an impeachment should not and would not happen: it was merely as an exercise in legal theory to demonstrate how almost any President could be impeached (Anarchist Noam Chomsky has similarly argued that every US President since WWII committed impeachable crimes). You can get a taste of them in this article from early 2021, also posed as an example while Pelosi and company made fools of themselves over Trump:

And so on and so forth.

Hanson has a lot of fun about this in a fight with Trump Derangement Syndrome and talking head (also supposed Right-Winger), Max Boot, who gave up supporting the GOP when Trump started refusing to send Americans to fight in more foreign wars:

Boot knows that “coup” in current popular discourse describes a “blow” and not necessarily formally a coup d’état of an army storming the White House. In the political sense, a coup is an effort to remove a head of state, illegitimately, and often without the use of the military. That is why the whistleblower’s own lawyer, the anti-Trump zealot, Mark Zaid, has previously referred to collective efforts to remove Trump as “coups”:

#coup has started. First of many steps. #rebellion#impeachment will follow ultimately” and “#coup has started. As one falls, two more will take their place. #rebellion #impeachment.”

Fanatics who care not one whit for the rule of law, even as they scream about upholding it. How fanatical? Check this out:

No one should know better the horrific crimes of a mass-murdering Josef Stalin than the Russian-born Boot. Stalin’s purges, orchestrated famines, gulags, show trials, liquidation of the officer class, and atrocities during World War II perhaps accounted for over 20 million Russian deaths. So how could Boot write, “I would sooner vote for Josef Stalin than I would vote for Donald Trump”? Twenty million dead souls don’t quite match Boot’s hatred of Trump.

Trump Derangement Syndrome is a hell of a disease. But the Establishment approves of such subversions of democracy, all while screaming about how ordinary little people trespassing in the Capitol is “a threat to democracy”. And this sort of stuff goes back at least as far as Watergate:

“At one point, Cox became so worried about the sustainability of Judge Sirica’s one-sided rulings in favor of the prosecutors that he feared their conviction verdicts would be overturned on appeal. He secretly approached Chief Appellate Judge David Bazelon to explain how the judicial panels could be stacked to maintain Bazelon’s slim one-vote liberal majority. Sure enough, each of the 12 appeals from Sirica’s criminal trials was heard by the full nine-judge appellate court, sitting en banc — a circumstance unprecedented in any federal appellate court anywhere in the country, before or since.”

Archibald Cox in retrospect made Jimmy the Weasel Comey look honest.

The deep state won.

That last is a very 70’s phrase and was coined by the Left in the day, hence my refusal to use it.

At the superb Claremont Review magazine they went into a lot more depth in 2019 about the giant Administrative State that is D.C’s politicians and bureaucrats, particularly in relation to National security issues and using quotes from the infamous Mr Vindman, who was the NSC Country Director listening in on Trump’s phonecall with Zelensky:

“The U.S. government policy community’s view…”

What on earth is “[t]he U.S. government policy community”? This is not made clear in the statement, but from the context it would appear to be something like the “deep state” we are elsewhere told does not exist except in the minds of fevered “conspiracy theorists.” Elite conventional wisdom appears to have evolved into: “The deep state is not a thing—and thank God it’s there to save our democracy!”

I became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency.

The “interagency” refers to the process through which various officials from different government departments get together to debate issues, raise concerns, hammer out differences, try to reach consensus and—when and if they cannot—crisply and accurately frame their remaining disagreements for decision by higher-ups.

[BUT] “interagency consensus” is not policy—or at least it’s not supposed to be. It may help inform policy, but elected and appointed officials—and in a unitary executive, that ultimately means the president—alone get to make policy. The presupposition of our country director—and his like-minded peers in the deep state—is the opposite: policy is made in and by the “interagency,” whose decrees are holy writ that it is illegitimate for the president to challenge.

Vindman went on to declare that this “interagency community” had concluded that the United States and Ukraine were “vital strategic partners, working together to realize the shared vision of a stable, prosperous, and democratic Ukraine that is integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community.”

As the article author comments:

But in the immortal words of Jeff Lebowski: “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just like, uh, your opinion, man.” Actually, more accurately, that’s a perfect distillation of national security groupthink, replete with all the buzzwords you’d expect but easy to unravel if only you think about it.

There’s also some seriously prescient shit about the Russian-Ukrainian conflict:

Our foreign policy priesthood is 100% certain that the United States must take the side of Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. President Trump has expressed skepticism about the wisdom of such a commitment. He wonders why the conflict is our problem, when a not-inconsiderable number of European countries closer to the issue demand action from us but do very little themselves. He worries about the possibility of the United States getting drawn into war with Russia. And he’s concerned that, given historic corruption in Ukraine, American aid there may not be well spent.

And the three possibilities if the Trump impeachment had worked:

Or, third, deplorable-Americans’ attempt to set their government aright via ballots will not avail, as it has not so often in the past; they will realize that it has not, conclude that it never will, and resolve by any means necessary to get out from under the thumbs of people who so obviously hate them and wish to rule them without their consent.

But read the whole thing to get a feel for the world from which this attack on Trump emerged: the sections on the detail of the Ukrainian phone call are especially good. These people do not like having their expertise challenged and it’s pointed out that:

It is no accident or coincidence that the only three presidents who have fundamentally challenged the administrative state—and questioned its song sheet, the “U.S. government policy community consensus”—have been dogged by “scandal” and threatened with impeachment: Richard Nixon by Watergate, Ronald Reagan by Iran Contra, and now Trump.

As another article pointed out, more than few people perjured themselves and what was needed with all these people was something that never happened:

First, to discourage such frivolous, wholly partisan efforts to overturn the results of a free, open, and democratic election, people who have committed felonies by leaking classified material or lying under oath should be prosecuted. A dozen or so indictments would have a clarifying and salutary effect.

And finally, as the Claremont reviews notes about Washington’s corruption, including that of the Biden family:

Tom Wolfe coined the term “favor bank” to explain how “the law” really works in the Bronx County criminal justice system. You do favors expecting to have favors done in return. There are no written contracts or enforcement mechanisms, but the system “works” because people know it’s in their interest to honor it. In modern international politics, to pay someone a few million to do “nothing” is to expect to be paid back somehow. The payees know this, and endeavor to make good, lest they risk future payments.

Understand this plainly: Trump [was] impeached, ostensibly, for asking about this corrupt arrangement. But no one is ever impeached for engaging in it. Nor can our elites, who almost all benefit from this system one way or another, muster the integrity to do, or even say, anything against it.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 6, 2023 at 6:00 am

One Response

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  1. I should have included this one also, which is buried in a story about the Chinese balloon and asks whether the DoD didn’t tell the Trump Administration about such balloons, which they’re now claiming happened at the time:

    DefenseOne reported back in November 2020 that Jim Jeffrey, who had served as Trump’s special envoy for Syria, boasted that he circumvented Trump’s orders to withdraw American troops from Syria by lying to the President.

    Jeffrey, according to DefenseOne, acknowledged that “his team routinely misled senior leaders about troop levels in Syria.” Jeffrey explained: “We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there,” and said that “the actual number of troops in northeast Syria is ‘a lot more than’ the roughly two hundred troops Trump initially agreed to leave there in 2019.’”

    Jeffrey decided to thwart the will of the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces because, he said, the order to withdraw from Syria was “the most controversial thing in my fifty years in government.” Jeffrey even boasted about his defiance:

    “What Syria withdrawal? There was never a Syria withdrawal. When the situation in northeast Syria had been fairly stable after we defeated ISIS, [Trump] was inclined to pull out. In each case, we then decided to come up with five better arguments for why we needed to stay. And we succeeded both times. That’s the story.”

    Some DoD that is: the honourable thing to do would have been to resign because you didn’t agree with the President’s order. But in the modern DoD and the rest of the giant Administrative State such concepts no longer exist. As Sir Humphrey explained many times on Yes Minister, they run the nation: the politicians are just temporary figures voted in and out by the people.

    Tom Hunter

    February 6, 2023 at 11:01 am

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