Monday, December 2, 2019

"Coup d’État!"

"Coup d’État!"
By Jim Rickards

"If you’re bored or confused by the so-called “impeachment” inquiry in the House of Representatives, join the club. Recent polls show voter sentiment is shifting away from impeachment toward a desire to end the proceedings and move to substantive legislation on trade, health care and the economy. Still, impeachment is a big deal even if the process is flawed and biased.

The headlines have been all about a “quid pro quo” of Ukraine aid in exchange for investigations of the Biden family. There has also been talk of “bribery” charges as if Trump “paid off” Ukraine with aid in exchange for political dirt on the Bidens. I’ll leave all of that to the pundits and talking heads. What’s more intriguing is that there may be a perfectly legal (albeit political) reason for the timing of Trump’s release of aid to Ukraine.

Members of the Senate (including many Republicans) were concerned about Trump’s holdup of aid and were pushing legislation to force the president to release the money. Trump was informed that the Congress was going to force his hand, so he simply released the aid to avoid being targeted by the legislation. Essentially, the aid release had nothing to do with quid pro quo, bribery or exposure by the so-called “whistleblower.” It was a simple political calculus of the kind politicians make every day.

According to columnist Byron York of The Washington Examiner, this is what happened: "On the day he OK'd the aid, Trump learned that Congress was going to force his hand and spend the money anyway. He could either go along or get run over… the president knew he could not maintain the hold on aid in the face of bipartisan congressional action. So he gave in. By early evening on Sept. 11, the hold was lifted."

It was an entirely unremarkable end to the story. President tries to do something. Congress opposes. President sees he has no support and backs down. It has happened many, many times with many, many presidents.

In the end, the release of the aid is not dramatic proof of anything in the Trump-Ukraine matter. The facts do not support the Democratic notion that the president "got caught," knew he was guilty and gave in. It is not a smoking gun. It is a story of a president and Congress bumping up against each other on spending, and, as often happens, Congress won. Too bad this was not revealed sooner. It could have saved the whole country a lot of anguish.

But here’s the deeper question: Did members of the CIA, the FBI and other “deep state” actors effectively try to launch a coup d’état against President Trump? Some might dismiss the question as a mere conspiracy theory. But my advice for untangling the conspiracy theory charges is stick to the facts... Some conspiracies are real, but you have to eliminate all forms of bias, spin and fabrication. Boil the situation down to hard facts that are not in dispute. Then draw reasonable inferences from hard facts and let the chips fall where they may, regardless of your personal preference.

Author Victor Davis Hanson has done that. Hanson is a seasoned and highly respected historian and author of over 20 well-regarded books. He supports Trump but has also been critical of him, so he’s not a rabid Trump cheerleader by any means.

In a recent article, Hanson looks at whether the efforts of the deep staters represent a coup, defined by professors Jonathan Powell and Clayton Thyne as “the overthrow of an existing government by nondemocratic means; typically in an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power…”

Hanson carefully weighs exact quotes from former directors and deputy directors of the CIA and members of the U.S. Foreign Service. He looks at actions of the Biden family when Joe Biden was in charge of Ukraine policy for Obama. He looks at the lack of due process in impeachment hearings conducted by Democrats such as Adam Schiff. Hanson also looks at exact quotes offered by admirals and lawyers inside the D.C. swamp.

His conclusion is that ongoing efforts at a coup against Trump are not the subject of a “conspiracy theory” but are a real and continuing part of the resistance to Trump. If Hanson is right (and in my view he is), then this will not end even if the impeachment effort goes nowhere. Since Trump is a favorite to win reelection in 2020, the coup efforts may continue until Trump’s presidency is over in January 2025. Get ready for a long siege of the White House. As it is, the impeachment charade is going to drag on to the detriment of the country and the consternation of markets."
Victor Davis Hanson: 
"We Are Witnessing a Soft Coup d’État of the Trump Administration"
What did you think this was?

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