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This Impeachment Inquiry Is Really About Who Sets U.S. Foreign Policy
The Federalist ^ | 11/14/2019 | John Daniel Davidson

Posted on 11/14/2019 9:47:53 AM PST by SeekAndFind

Despite the hysterical headlines in the mainstream media, there was no bombshell on the first day of public testimony in the House impeachment inquiry. It was actually very boring and tedious.

But for those who had the patience to sit through it on Wednesday, the testimony of veteran State Department officials William Taylor and George Kent did help clarify what this impeachment inquiry is all about: a disagreement between President Trump and a coterie of career State Department bureaucrats about what U.S. policy should be in Ukraine.

To put it more bluntly, the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is about whether the president or unelected officials in the State Department should be able to determine U.S. foreign policy and define U.S. national interests abroad.

What we heard Wednesday was a lot of opinions from Taylor and Kent about what U.S. policy should be in Ukraine and what serves the national interest there. But if President Trump has a different view, whose opinion should matter? Clearly, the president’s opinion is the one that counts because the president, not State Department officials, sets U.S. foreign policy.

But in Democrats’ telling, which has been dutifully parroted by the media, the impeachment inquiry is all about whether Trump made U.S. security aid to Ukraine dependent on an investigation of Burisma and the Bidens—a quid pro quo, an investigation of Trump’s political rival in exchange for hundreds of millions in U.S. aid. To maintain this narrative, Democrats have had to insist there could be no other motive for Trump to want to such an investigation.

That’s why Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman kept referring to “political investigations” during Wednesday’s hearing. Trump wanted dirt on Joe Biden because he thought it would help him win reelection in 2020, end of story.

But of course there are perfectly valid reasons to think that corruption investigations in Ukraine might serve other, broader interests that go beyond just Trump’s reelection. Kent himself testified that such investigations were in fact legitimate, given the history of endemic corruption in Ukraine and specifically a record of corruption at Burisma, whose owner had first been investigated during the Obama administration using U.S. funds.

George Kent testifies that investigations into corruption involving Burisma and former Ukrainian prosecutors are legitimate.

— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) November 13, 2019

Moreover, given the lingering questions about the extent to which the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee solicited Ukrainian officials for dirt on Trump during the 2016 election, it’s easy to see how any investigations into these matters would go beyond the narrow interests of Trump and encompass U.S. interests more broadly.

Democrats have painted themselves into a corner here, arguing that only their narrow interpretation of Trump’s motives is valid, when clearly there are other more plausible interpretations that are better supported by the facts.

Trump Versus the ‘Deep State’

One thing that emerged quite clearly from Wednesday’s hearing is that Taylor and Kent, and likely many other State Department officials, disagree with Trump’s view of Ukraine and have a quite separate policy agenda than the White House on Ukraine.

During his opening statements, Taylor talked about a separate, “irregular” diplomatic channel to Ukraine that included Rudy Giuliani, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, former U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, and others. This irregular channel seems to have troubled Taylor.

But here again we come to the question of the president versus the bureaucracy. If Trump thought he needed a separate policy channel to pursue what he viewed as legitimate U.S. interests in rooting out corruption in Ukraine and getting to the bottom of what happened in 2016, that’s his prerogative as president—especially if he felt that the career bureaucrats at the State Department were not going to pursue these matters or take them seriously.

To take one example, Taylor said Wednesday he doesn’t think Ukraine owes the United States anything other than “appreciation.” Well, many Americans, including the president himself, might disagree with that. There are perfectly good reasons to think Ukraine, or any other country that receives U.S. aid, might owe the United States something more than “appreciation.” Maybe such countries also owe America some level of cooperation in advancing U.S. national interests—as defined by the president of the United States, not Ambassador Taylor or any other unelected bureaucrat.

This is in fact exactly how the Trump administration views the matter, which is likely the reason Trump and other administration officials have been so adamant that there was no quid pro quo. The administration’s interest in the Bidens and Burisma and 2016 election meddling appears to have been backward-looking, not forward-looking.

Trump wanted to know why the Bidens weren’t investigated and who in the Ukrainian government worked to undermine his 2016 campaign. Getting to the bottom of these things and ensuring they don’t happen again would be a reasonable condition to the receipt of hundreds of millions in security aid.

If Taylor and Kent and other State Department officials don’t agree with Trump about this, that’s fine. They are free to disagree. They are also free to be annoyed or even concerned about an “irregular channel” of Ukraine diplomacy. After all, the existence of such a channel itself is a sign that the president lacks confidence in State Department staff.

But Taylor went beyond expressing annoyance or concern in his testimony on Wednesday. He said this irregular channel of diplomacy was running “contrary to longstanding U.S. policy.” That’s a phrase he repeated several times, echoing the testimony of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who said that in the spring of 2019 he became aware of “outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency.”

As Mark Hemingway has pointed out, in this context the “interagency consensus” appeared to be in opposition to the actual foreign policy of the United States, which is determined by the president, just as the “interagency consensus” opposed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria despite Trump having campaigned on a promise to do just that.

Taylor also claimed Wednesday that Ukraine is important to U.S. security, and that Russian aggression cannot stand. But Russian aggression was allowed to stand when Moscow invaded Georgia during the George W. Bush administration, and again when Russian troops occupied Crimea during the Obama administration. What was the “interagency consensus” back then, and why was Ukraine not considered important enough to U.S. security to prompt any pushback against Russia?

The answer is that the president sets foreign policy, not the unelected bureaucrats of the administrative state. So far, the entire impeachment inquiry hinges on this fact, and the more the American people get to see the impeachment debate play out in public hearings, the clearer it will become that Democrats are relying on an incredibly narrow and highly subjective interpretation of the facts to justify their claims that Trump tried to set up a quid pro quo with Ukraine.

John is the Political Editor at The Federalist.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: congress; foreignpolicy; impeachment; ukraine

1 posted on 11/14/2019 9:47:53 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

SorozNazi wants to control USA foreign policy AND everything ELSE, too!

2 posted on 11/14/2019 9:50:16 AM PST by faithhopecharity ( “Politicians are not , born; they are excreted.” Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 to 43 BCE))
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To: SeekAndFind

Time to fire everybody and shut down the “Snake Dept”

3 posted on 11/14/2019 10:00:54 AM PST by kaktuskid
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To: SeekAndFind

The “wrong” person won the 2016 Presidential election.

That is all.

4 posted on 11/14/2019 10:03:50 AM PST by NorthMountain (... the right of the peopIe to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed)
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To: SeekAndFind

No it isn’t. Follow the money. Hint: It’s about the money.

5 posted on 11/14/2019 10:04:27 AM PST by AndyJackson
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To: SeekAndFind

Besides being an effort to destroy Trump and put the fear into anybody who would dare contradict our deep state betters, it is also a concerted effort to make sure nobody would dare end the “bribery through family” pipeline that channels our tax dollars into the pockets of corrupt officials or their close kin.

6 posted on 11/14/2019 10:04:56 AM PST by Missouri gal
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To: SeekAndFind

No. It’s about who profits from the foreign policy laundered money around the Beltway.

7 posted on 11/14/2019 10:09:33 AM PST by blackdog
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To: SeekAndFind

No. It’s about who profits from the foreign policy laundered money around the Beltway.

8 posted on 11/14/2019 10:09:36 AM PST by blackdog
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To: SeekAndFind

Doesn’t matter.

These are all nuances that that Katie Hill clones in the Congress don’t understand and don’t care about.

They’re the screaming Orks bouncing up and down yelling “impeach! impeach!”.

The vote is pre-determined. The sideshow was just staged to give a fig leaf of legitimacy. The fact that it’s actually destroying any legitimacy they might have had means nothing to them.

9 posted on 11/14/2019 10:27:04 AM PST by Regulator
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To: SeekAndFind

It is also about follow the money and the vast amounts money shell gamaes played by the elite in control of the state department.

The Bidens, Kerry, Clintoons, Obamas and ????? have been getting very rich and richer with these Shell Games by the State Dept.

Documents Released by Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office Reveal MILLIONS Funneled to ... ^ | by Joe Hoft November 13, 2019
Posted on 11/14/2019, 10:09:38 AM by Red Badger

Oh My. Documents released this evening tie millions from foreign sources to the Hunter Biden, Devon Archer and John Kerry and his family!

Documents reportedly leaked from the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s office show complex money transfers from foreign sources into former President Obama’s Vice President and Secretary of State’s families –


Leaked documents from the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s office indicate complex money transfers from foreign sources into the control of a “slush fund” owned and operated by Devon Archer, John Kerry Senior, John Kerry Junior, Heinz Jr, and Hunter Biden.

— Michael Coudrey (@MichaelCoudrey) November 14, 2019

According to counter intelligence in Latvia around $4 million was obtained by Burisma Holdings Limited which was then transferred to Hunter Biden and Devon Archer –

This describes the money transfer of

$14,655,982 and $366,015 EUR from “Wirelogic Technology AS”, and

$1,964,375 from “Digitex Organization LLP”.

Further, part of the sums described above were transferred to Alan Apter, Alexander Kwasniewski, Devon Archer and Hunter Biden.

— Michael Coudrey (@MichaelCoudrey) November 14, 2019

Burisma Holdings then sent $3.5 million via Morgan Stanley to Hunter Biden and the John Kerry family –

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

10 posted on 11/14/2019 10:30:37 AM PST by Grampa Dave (If we have a civil war, the winners will be our enemies: Iran, China, Mexico, & Deep State thugs!)
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To: SeekAndFind
To put it more bluntly, the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is about whether the president or unelected officials in the State Department should be able to determine U.S. foreign policy and define U.S. national interests abroad.
Worth repeating
11 posted on 11/14/2019 10:34:13 AM PST by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: Grampa Dave

Uh-oh...your reply might get pulled, like the thread was.

12 posted on 11/14/2019 10:50:12 AM PST by philman_36 (Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty and supped with infamy. Benjamin Franklin)
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To: SeekAndFind

Long article
Have not read it
But the title makes sense.
Foreign Policy by 0bama was horrible. But he was President and that (foreign policy) was part of the job.
Now Trumps is President
Some day there will be a different President
Commander in Chief is in charge of Foreign Policy.
Let me know if the Constitution says otherwise.

13 posted on 11/14/2019 11:00:53 AM PST by Honest Nigerian
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To: SeekAndFind

If I was Secretary Pompeo I would buy thousands of those little pocket copies of the US Constitution and make sure every employee of the state department receives one.

Of coarse President Trump sent Giuliani, it’s obvious to anyone watching those two testify yesterday why he can’t trust State Department employees. I know there must be some who are good and trustworthy, but good grief those two yesterday were totally oblivious to their own arrogance.

Those two aren’t trustworthy, they should never represent this country.

14 posted on 11/14/2019 11:04:02 AM PST by McGavin999 (“Look into it” does not mean dig up dirt, it means find the truth)
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To: Missouri gal


15 posted on 11/14/2019 11:26:23 AM PST by Freee-dame
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To: SeekAndFind

Wrong! This is about who runs the US government. The choice is:

a) The people, through their elected representatives;


b) A cabal of hidden individuals, exercising their power and influence through a legion of willing, unelected, bureaucrats, and covered up by a legion of willing, unelected, press and media types.

Those in column B are FURIOUS that the obvious choice isn’t “B,” and they’re pulling out all of the stops to make sure that the answer is “B” in the History books.

These people must be destroyed.

16 posted on 11/14/2019 11:42:08 AM PST by Ancesthntr ("The right to buy weapons is the right to be free." A. E. van Vogt, The Weapons Shops of Isher)
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To: faithhopecharity

SSoro$ — “Spooky Dude”


17 posted on 11/14/2019 1:14:23 PM PST by TBP (Progressives lack compassion and tolerance. Their self-aggrandizement is all that matters.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I skipped the article because the headline is totally wrong.

The impeachment thing is about whether those in power can use their official office to shake down governments, government contractors, war material manufacturers and others in the form of payback, graft, etc.

This not about thousands of dollars, nor even millions.

It is about billions.

It is about a life style for the likes of obummer, the Clintons, Pelosi and all of the Washington elites.

Many a person has been killed for much less.

The noise about foreign policy, orange man bad, etc., is a smoke screen and the author has been smoked.

18 posted on 11/14/2019 4:20:03 PM PST by old curmudgeon (There is no situation so terrible, so disgraceful, that the federal government can not make worse)
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To: SeekAndFind

We have more than one Deep State in play. Time for Trump to assemble a real team of hard-hitting investigators to investigate every one of them. There is so much treason, collusion with the Russians, Red Chinese and corrupt Ukrainians, business corruption, and political corruption that we are going to need a Shitload of more jails.

19 posted on 11/15/2019 1:12:12 AM PST by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper (Figures)
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To: SeekAndFind

As much as I despised Barack Hussein (one of the most evil and destructive enemies America has faced in our history), I would have supported the firing and probably the prosecution of any government official who covertly resisted his (malignant) orders on American foreign policy. The president of the United States sets our foreign policy, except for that eight year gap during which the usurper occupied our White House and set that policy, and the deep state is out of line when they resist.

20 posted on 11/15/2019 5:51:36 AM PST by Pollster1 ("Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed")
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