The Thinker: Rich Galen

  
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Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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And So it Begins

Rich Galen

Thursday November 14, 2019

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  • As I was watching the Impeachment Hearing on Wednesday, the famous quote attributed to Carl Sandburg occurred to me:
    "If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell."

  • On the opening day of hearings, Democrats brought in two long-time State Department employees. George Kent, whom the Washington Post wrote is "the State Department's foremost expert on Ukraine," and Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr., "the senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine."

  • Democrats have the facts on their side. Donald Trump wanted the president of Ukraine to do things that would be helpful to Trump and harmful to the man who, at the time, seemed to be the best bet for the Democratic nomination, Joe Biden.

  • Trump appears to have held up defense funding for Ukraine until the Ukrainian president announced formal investigations. The funds were released when the Administration got caught.

  • Among those things were to investigate whether Ukraine and not Russia was responsible for hacking Hillary Clinton's emails and to publicly announce an formal investigation into the Bidens' connections to a big Ukrainian natural gas company.

  • There is more to this than one phone call. According to the two State Department officials, this extortion scheme has been going on for some time, including the mysterious connections to the U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. and to Rudy Giuliani.

  • By they way, I don't know what Giuliani has been up to, I suspect it has to do with contracts for one or more of his companies, but he certainly wouldn't be the first person to use his coziness to a U.S. President to score big contracts.

  • Furthermore, it is far from unheard of for a private citizen to get involved in a big foreign policy operation.

  • The earliest one I can remember - although few knew it at the time - was an ABC News correspondent named John Scali whose beat was the State Department. In 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a Soviet operative contacted Scali and asked him to be the go-between to get settlement terms from Nikita Khrushchev to John and Bobby Kennedy.

  • Scali did and it went a long way to avoiding nuclear war.

  • A friend called after the hearing went off the air to say that the Democrats got their lunch handed to them.

  • I don't agree, but it's another example of the build-up being bigger than the event. Taylor and Kent were steady to the point of being staid. Unflappable to the point of being serene.

  • Where Ohio Republican Jim Jordan was rifling questions at 78 RPM, the two gentlemen from State were answering at 331/3.

    SIDEBAR

    Jim Jordan was brought in to sit on the House Intelligence Committee (of which he is not a member) hearing to bring his bang-bang style. If you can't picture him, he's the one that never wears a suit jacket.

    I finished thinking about Carl Sandburg, and as I was listening to Jordan, I remembered something someone told me about Bobby Darin singing "Mack the Knife."

    "If there were one more verse," this person said, "Bobby Darin's head would have exploded on stage."

    END SIDEBAR

  • I'm not a fan of the Democratic chairman of the House Intel Committee, Adam Schiff (D-Ca). But, to his credit, he kept within himself for at least the first day of the proceedings. Devin Nunes (R-Ca) who is the senior Republican also behaved as becomes an actor in the opening scene of a very serious business.

  • Friday, the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch is scheduled to testify. If you haven't been following along too closely, she was withdrawn from her post because.

  • It's not clear why she was brought home but it appears she may have kept getting in the way of Giuliani's trying to persuade the Ukrainian president to open those investigations against the Bidens and getting the Russians off the hook in the Clinton email thing.

  • There will be about two weeks of hearings, so don't put your money on one side or the other just yet.

  • But, the formal process has begun and it's likely to get ugly before it's over.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to John Scali, to the official page of the House Intel Committee, to NBC's summary of what was supposed to be investigated, and to Bobby Darin singing "Mack the Knife."

    aThe Mullfoto is of one of those dreadful posed interview positions inside the Capitol Building.

-- END --

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