Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Trump and Ukraine: What We Know

Illustration: Scott Adams
As Americans watch two different movies, here’s a way to discern what’s happening off the screen.
If you’ve followed the Ukraine phone-call news, you might have noticed reality branching into two completely different movies. In one, President Trump was doing his job of protecting the republic by asking an allied country to help out on an important legal investigation. The other movie involves Orange Hitler bullying a foreign country into meddling in our elections by “digging up dirt” on a political opponent.
Which movie is the real one, if such a thing exists? I’d like to offer a rule of thumb for evaluating political news: If a fact is reported the same by both the left-leaning and the right-leaning press, it’s probably a fact. If not, wait and see.
It’s also smart to wait a week or two before you make up your mind, as the fog of war often makes early reporting unreliable. But after the fog clears, if all sides agree on a fact, it’s probably a fact. Or at least it’s credible, even if future reporting debunks it.
In the case of Mr. Trump’s Ukraine phone call, all sides agree a whistleblower exists, at least in the minimal sense of using the whistleblower process. We also agree a phone call was made, and the transcript seems to capture what was said. We also know a few other facts: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on the call, and the whistleblower contacted Rep. Adam Schiff’s office before filing the complaint, and some other details.
But that’s where the agreement stops. One side says the quid pro quo—in the form of Mr. Trump’s asking his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Crowdstrike and Joe Biden at the risk of losing military funds already approved by Congress—was so obvious it didn’t need to be stated in direct language. The other side says every conversation among world leaders carries some kind of implied quid pro quo, and in this case the request for investigation was entirely appropriate. You might even say it was one of Mr. Trump’s highest priorities, given the risk that a potential future President Biden might be compromised in his dealings with a foreign government.
Read the rest from Scott Adams HERE.

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