Tuesday, January 28, 2020
A Federalist 57 Website
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor

An Open Letter to
President Donald J. Trump

 

January 19, 2020 --

Dear Mr. President:

Congratulation on your third anniversary as our 45th president. To think that there are many people who thought you would have been removed from office long before now.

As it happens, your third anniversary in the White House coincides with the effort by your political adversaries to see you ousted from office not long after your February 4 State of the Union Address, if not sooner. 

A New York Times headline, January 13, however, said, in part, "Dislodging Trump Is Unlikely...."  It is apparent, therefore, that even most, if not all, your enemies concede that the  attempt to remove you from office before January 20, 2021 will not succeed.   Still, you must contend with a trial in the Senate.  The trial offers you the opportunity to impress upon the American people the true nature of this impeachment: a refusal to accept you as the legitimate President of the United States, elected, pursuant to the terms of the Constitution, in 2016.  Please accept these thoughts from a grass root concerning the trial on impeachment.

Bear in mind the observation of Wall Street Journal columnist Holman W. Jenkins, Jr, in the January 11-12 edition, "A claim is not credible just by virtue of its being made. A bunch of unsupported claims do not become more credible because they  come in a bunch." 

Your enemies have seized on the transcript of your July 25, 2019 phone conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, to claim that you pressured the Ukraine leader, according,  to  a New York Times article, January 13, for example, "to investigate [your] political rivals [cq], including by withholding as leverage a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in vital military aid from the country."   

At most, the transcript of your conversation with President Zelensky revealed a request that Ukraine look into the curious conduct of a political rival -- former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., not "rivals" -- and his son Hunter concerning the younger Biden's position as a very well-paid director for  a Ukraine energy company that had been under investigation by Ukraine.  Your enemies do not acknowledge that the Obama administration did not provide Ukraine military assistance to defend Donbas against separatist forces; nor do they acknowledge that the aid at issue was forthcoming within the required time. 

The claim in the first Article of Impeachment is simply not credible -- that in requesting an investigation of the Bidens you "abused the powers of the Presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital national interests to obtain an improper personal political benefit." This is merely an example of zealously creative, and over-the-top partisan, political writing.  

As for the "Obstruction of Congress" claim in  Article II, how can a presidential action -- resisting subpoenas --  that should, arguably, lead to disposition by the courts, be considered deserving of removal from office -- unless the principle of separation of powers is to be discarded?

Your enemies indicate that the false, indeed vicious, accusations against you will continue throughout your second term.   

The imperial House Speaker Nancy Pelosi raised the specter of Russian interference in the forthcoming presidential election as even more "brazen"   than in 2016.   Frank Rich, in the January 6 - 19, 2020 issue of New York magazine compared officials in your administration, and others who support you,. to collaborators with the Nazis.   

The zeal with which your political and media enemies impute the worst possible motives to you should be obvious to most Americans, by now. Just consider the response of your enemies to the successful operation  taking down the ruthless Number Two man in Iran, General Qassem Soleimani.   A brief item in the New York Post, January 12, pointed to the comprehensive planning that went into this action, indicating that we had Special Ops forces on the ground to photograph the aftermath of the killing of Soleimani.   A lengthy Times story, January 12,  on the killing of Soleimani, however,  omitted mention of  Special Ops forces on the ground at the Baghdad airport.  The title of the story, "SEVEN DAYS:  How the Trump Administration Pushed The U.S. and Iran to the Brink of War,"  clearly reflected bias against you.   Yet, the Times itself, in its January 13 edition suggested the bankruptcy of its effort to question your judgment in approving the operation taking down Soleimani.  The January 13 edition ran a story how U.S. victims of Soleimani -- maimed military personnel, and families of dead service members -- believe justice was done in his killing.   Another story in the Times, January 13, quoted the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Hossein Salami as declaring, "'We are at war with the United States."  This stark comment was made as this general apologized for the downing of a Ukraine civilian airlines, killing 176 people, including 57 Canadians, a few hours after Iran fired missiles at two airbases in Iraq housing U.S. military personnel.    Bear in mind, too, the comment of Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, January 11-12, with reference to the killing of Soleimani: "For the first time in 40 years, since the hostages were taken in the U.S. Embassy  in Tehran, the Iranian government took a hard jab from America right in the face."    Imagine -- finally, after 40 years,  we gave a hard jab to Iran! 

Mr. President, what you are guilty of, I submit,  is taking a fresh look at public policy, at home and abroad.  As the action against Soleimani shows, you have taken a fresh look at our policy towards Iran, a policy that previously seemed to hold that Iran could be at war with us, but we could not be at war with Iran, and must turn the other cheek to its acts of violence against American people and property.  As indicated above, your enemies are really those who demand continuing the status quo, no matter how counterproductive that status quo is to the common good.  

You have insisted  on taking a fresh look at the administrative state and its hidebound way of operating.  Certainly you have taken a free look at our relations with our allies, include the  NATO countries.   And just consider your innovative poiicy vis-a-vis the Middle East, and, in particular, our ties to Israel. One caveat, downplay triumphalism. By emphasizing your  fresh approach to public policy in the 21st century, how can you not overcome the resistance of your enemies to your goal of maintaining the greatness of  America? One last thought:  pardon Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn -- to send a message to your enemies that you will not be inhibited by their propaganda from serving the American people.

Very truly yours, 
David R. Zukerman

 

Red Line

Partisanship Continues Past the Water's Edge

January 19, 2020 --

Democrats can hardly be said to have rallied around the president, in the aftermath of the January 3rd killing,  near the Baghdad airport, of Major General Qassim Soleimani, leader of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, and, according to U.S. officials. responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops and the wounding of  thousands  more.  While the Democrats did not challenge Gen. Soleimani's role in violent attacks on U.S. troops, among others, like former vice president Joseph R. Biden, Jr., they accused President Trump of risking war with Iran.  Mr. Biden was quoted in The New York Times, January 4, not only of charging the president with risking "nuclear proliferation and 'direct conflict with Iran.'"  Biden was also quoted as calling Mr. Trump "'erratic, unstable and dangerously incompetent.'"   The Times quoted Senator Elizabeth Warren as saying that the United States "was 'on the bring of another war.'"  Sen. Bernie Sanders was reported as urging a U.S. military pullback from the area.  Pete Buttigieg termed the killing of Gen. Solomeini "'an extremely provocative act.'"

The killing of Gen. Solomeine came after months of violent attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq from Shiite militias, reportedly under the overall command of Gen. Solomeini. The lead story in the Times, January 2, reported that the violent intrusion of an anti-American mob on the perimeter of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad had ended. The paper's editorial that day acknowledged that the anti-American mob broke into the embassy compound on December 31, following six months of missile attacks by "Iran-backed Shiite militias" on U.S. troops and military contractors in Iraq, leading to the death of one American, December 27. 

The assault on the embassy by the mob, occurred after  five American retaliatory strikes at Shiite militia camps in Iraq and Syria.   A Times report on January 1 asserted that "[t]he American airstrikes on Sunday [December 29] have resulted in the most serious political crisis in years for the United States in Iraq, stoking anti-Americanism and handing an advantage to Iran in its competition for influence in the country."  

Notwithstanding statements from Democrats like Susan E. Rice, national security adviser for  President Obama, writing in The New York Times, January 6,  that it is difficult to imagine the killing of Gen. Solomeini will not lead to war between Iran and the U.S., by January 9, the Times reported that tensions had been eased between Washington and Tehran.  The lead story in the Times, January 9 reported that "President Trump backed away from further military action against Iran..." after Iran  fired missiles at two military installations in Iraq, "housing American troops," without causing injury or death to American or Iraqi forces.  The Times, January 9, also carried carried the remarks of President Trump to the nation, January 8, including this warning to Iran: "Your campaign of terror, murder, mayhem, will not be tolerated any longer."   The paper also reported that a speech by Iran's supreme leader on the firing of missiles at two U.S. positions in Iran, ended with the audience of imams and others chanting "Death to America," "Death to Israel."  

 

Red Line

On the busy first few  days of February 2020

January 19, 2020 --

LPR noticed speculation  that Speaker Pelosi's delay in arranging for the transmission to the Senate of the articles of impeachment against the president might have something to do with the February 3rd Iowa caucuses. Her delay would allow the contending Democratic senators to continue their Iowa campaigns up to the day of the caucuses.

LPR suggests a different motive for the delay: to insure that impeachment is still pending against the president on February 4, the date of his State of the Union Address.

When the speaker, by letter December 20, invited the president to give the address on February 4, could she have had in mind the State of the Union address that President Bill Clinton gave on January 19, 1999 while his impeachment trial was underway? 

If Bill Clinton had to deliver a State of the Union address, under impeachment, did Speaker Pelosi want to put President Trump in the same position of delivering a State of the Union speech under impeachment.   

President Clinton did not mention  impeachment in his 1999 address.  If the Senate does not dismiss the Trump impeachment, or end the matter with acquittal,  by February 4, will President Trump also avoid commenting on the matter.   

(By the way, the Super Bowl is February 2 -- and neither the Patriots nor the Bills will be in it.) 

 

 
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Red Line

A Gored Ox Impeachment -- or Are Democrats Merely Projecting Their Own Mind-set?

January 19, 2020 --

Appellate and constitutional lawyers David B. Rivkin, Jr. and Elizabeth Price Foley get to the heart of the Trump impeachment in their Wall Street Journal op-ed article, January 6. 

They indicate a "gored ox" perspective to the transcript of the July 25, 2019 phone conversation between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky:  while Democrats see the transcript as evidence that the president sought to cause harm to a Democratic presidential rival, Republicans see the transcript as indication that Mr. Trump was seeking to root out corruption. And so, perception of the transcript depends whose ox is being gored.

For LPR, if the conduct of former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter, in Ukraine, should prove, upon investigation, to be above reproach, how could his presidential candidacy have been harmed? 

In brief, aren't Democrats somewhat premature in asserting that President Trump's call for investigating Mr. Biden damaged his chances to become president?     

Conversely, should voters consider that the Democrats' push to impeach President Trump is, basically, a move to harm Mr, Trump, bought by his political rivals?

 

Red Line

"Well, whatever?..."

January 19, 2020 --

Question:   What was Speaker Pelosi's reply when, on "This Week," January 12, (according to the transcript) moderator George Stephanopoulos pointed out that protesters in Iran are "calling out the regime for lying. They're saying death to [Supreme Leader] Khomeini   as well."          

Answer (in part):  " Yes. Well, whatever it is."

(Note -- the supreme leader's name is spelled Khamenei; the original supreme leader's name is spelled Khomeini.)

 

 
"A vote that represents free will is never wasted"
-- David Zukerman
 

Red Line

Senate Republicans, Take Note

January 19, 2020 --

The Framers, as Hamilton pointed out in The Federalist Papers, gave the House of Representatives responsibility for the accusatory phase of impeachments, and gave the Senate responsibility for conducting the trial phase.

There is, therefore, no need to be concerned about calling witnesses, should the Senate vote to hear witnesses.   Clearly, at this impeachment trial,  the president's right to call witnesses is no less than the right of the House managers to call witnesses, pending Senate approval. 

LPR doubts that the Senate, on its own, can call witnesses, as that would seem to be an investigative function, and the sole responsibility of investigation (the accusatory phase) lies with the House, no matter what Speaker Pelosi says, to the contrary.

Hamilton may well have had a vision of this impeachment in mind,  when he wrote, in Federalist  No. 66, that there is danger that "a factious spirit" might bring an impeachment that results in persecution.

Likewise, Hamilton seems to have been clairvoyant in writing, in No. 65, that "the most conspicuous characters in [an impeachment] will, from that circumstance, be too often the leaders or the tools of the most cunning or the most numerous faction, and on this account can hardly be expected to possess the requisite neutrality towards those whose conduct may be the subject of scrutiny"   

How apposite these words are to describe House Democrats in 2020, 232 years after they were written.   

Senate Republicans, take note.

 

Red Line

Wrongful injury of political rivals?

January 19, 2020 --

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has accused Sen. Bernie Sanders of "trash[ing]" her.  Rep, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was quoted in New York magazine, January 6 - 19,  that "'In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party, but in America, we are.'" Does equal protection of the law require criticism. if not worse, of Democrats, as well as of the President, for opposing political rivals. 

 

 
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January 19, 2020 --

A Way for Republicans to Respond to Mike ($50 billion-plus) Bloomberg …

The vast wealth of Democratic presidential Michael R. Bloomberg makes it possible for him to suffuse the media with his campaign ads.  The Republican National Committee might consider a fundraising campaign seeking $100, in three or four installments, from ten million of the 63 million Trump voters in 2016.   That would create a political nest egg of one billion dollars.   This campaign might be called: "A billion to beat Bloomberg (and the other guys)."

It is noteworthy …

… that the Times reported on January 5 that Democrats in Washington were suspicious "about the intelligence that led to the killing" of Gen. Solomeini.    Democrats eagerly accepted intelligence suggestions of collusion between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Russians.  Apparently in Washington, these days, there is very little that has not been tainted with the brush of partisanship.

On the spelling of a certain  name in the news …

At The New York Times, it is "Qasim Suleimani."   At other media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, it is "Qassem Soleimani."    (LPR follows the Journal's lead on this.)

Speaking of The Wall Street Journal …

Peggy Noonan seemed to chide President Trump, in the January 11-12 edition, for having "repeatedly referred to Iran's rulers as a 'regime,' not a government."   An article on Soleimani,  in the Review section of the paper, that day, began: "In 2003, in the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Iranian regime was ridden with anxiety."

Just wondering …

The operation that killed General Soleimani also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi official said to head "militias and close to Iran," and eight others.   How conducive to stability in Iraq are "militias" led by officials "close to Iran?"

 

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