Politically Speaking – November 19, 2019

November 19, 2019

Wow, what a week it was!

Televised impeachment inquiry hearings

Roger Stone found guilty

Presidential pardons

New 2020 candidates

Stock market breaks 28,000

First up, the televised impeachment inquiry hearings began last Wednesday and are chaired by “Shifty” Adam Schiff. The first day involved testimony from Bill Taylor, top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. It didn’t take long to realize neither had any direct knowledge of any wrongdoing by President Trump. Everything was second- and third-hand information. Congressman Jim Jordan read from a previously released transcript that read like: “Someone told someone that someone said something about someone telling the story about…” You get it. Like the old game of whispering a secret in someone’s ear and whispering it along to ten people, and the resulting secret is nothing like the first.
The Republicans even questioned why these individuals were called to testify. Congressman Jordan even joked to Mr. Taylor, “And you’re their star witness?”

The Democratic line is they are slowly building a case (I thought the idea was to find the truth, not produce a suspense thriller). Wednesday’s hearings were absolutely a waste of time, but I shouldn’t be surprised since wasting time seems to be commonplace in Washington. Nothing new came out of Wednesday’s hearing.

Then came Friday’s (I guess they couldn’t meet Thursday for some reason) testimony from former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch (2016–2019), who had been called back to Washington and reassigned in April 2019, when the new Ukrainian President was elected. Again, no firsthand testimony was available from the witness. The Friday “Television Show” seemed to be a love fest, while both Democrats and Republicans spent part of their allotted time thanking her for her long 30 years of service, and Democrats asking her how she felt about the reassignment and offering condolences for what happened to her. But I can’t say nothing came out of Friday’s televised hearings, although you won’t hear it from the lame stream media.

1) In talking about the hard job of ambassadors and their staff, she invoked the names of Benghazi Ambassador Chris Stevens and his staff and placed herself in that same group. A bad comparison, that didn’t play well.

2) Those watching the hearings saw Chairman Schiff gavel down or “suspend” Republicans multiple times without valid reasons.

3) One of those “gavel downs” was when Schiff was asked to release transcripts of private meetings not yet released to Republicans.

4) The Ukraine ambassador to the U.S. has repeatedly denigrated President Trump in public.

5) One member of the Ukrainian parliament in 2016 said, “Most of us are in Hillary Clinton’s corner, not Trump’s.”

6) During Jim Jordan’s questioning of Ambassador Yovanovitch, she didn’t understand his question and said something to the effect that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was not involved in 2016 in Ukraine. To which Jordan smiled and said, “That’s not the question I asked you.”

7) For Ambassador Yovanovitch’s confirmation hearing in 2016, the Obama Administration provided a handbook on how to answer questions. One was how to handle Hunter Biden’s role with Burisma.

8) A star is born! Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York, asked pointed questions, was tough on Schiff and was one of the Republicans interviewed after the meeting.

She corrected a report that said, “So, you think the hearings are a farce.” Her response was “Adam Schiff is making this hearing a farce.” I couldn’t agree more!

9) Following the public hearing, the Intel Committee held private hearings downstairs.

On to Roger Stone. Roger Stone was found guilty on seven counts. Stone was supposedly directly involved in the WikiLeaks release during the 2016 Presidential campaign. Sentencing is in February 2020. His attorneys will probably appeal the decision. Will President Trump pardon him?

Speaking of pardons, on Friday, the week of Veterans Day, President Trump pardoned two service members accused of war crimes in Afghanistan, and restored the rank of a Navy Seal who was acquitted of murder in Iraq. Pardoned was First Lt. Clint Lorance who had been in prison for six years following a 2013 conviction. The other pardoned was Major Mathew Golsteyn, who was awaiting trial in 2020. President Trump restored the rank of Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward Gallagher, a Navy Seal, who had been convicted of posing with the corpse of an enemy combatant.

On to the 2020 Presidential election. Two more in the Democratic field? Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts (2007–2015), announced his run for President last Thursday. In addition, former two-term mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg’s formal announcement should be coming soon?

On continuing good economic news, the stock market reached above 28,000 last week.

Until next week.