House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues

House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues
© Greg Nash

Tell me which story you believe came out of recent days of House Intelligence Committee hearings:

Different people will claim each is “the real story.” What one person calls a hallucination, another will claim to be terrifyingly real.

But, for impeachment’s sake, does it really matter which story is actually true?

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I’ve worked in politics a long time, and one thing I can tell you is that “true” and “important” don’t always describe the same thing. Democrats know that trying to build a case to remove a president from office is hard when they’re relying on three Latin words that most people don’t understand or even care to look up. It’s even harder when your star witnesses didn’t actually witness anything.

Acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor never listened to any calls between President Trump and Ukraine’s President Zelensky. William Taylor never spoke with White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyDemocrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Gaetz defends Ukraine call: Trump acted on 'sincere' concerns of corruption Judiciary Democrat says House should focus on Ukraine, avoid Mueller report in articles of impeachment MORE. He never even met President Trump — and, in the three meetings he had with President Zelensky after this now “fateful” call, no concerns about withheld aid or pressured investigations ever came up.

As for Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent? His testimony probably made the Democrats a little upset. As a state department official focused on Ukrainian corruption, he testified that he’d “love” it if Ukraine investigated the circumstances around the closing of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. Even worse for the “there’s no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens”-camp, star witness Number Two made it clear that Hunter Biden’s role on the board of that firm certainly appeared as a conflict of interest for Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden: Buttigieg 'doesn't have significant black support even in his own city' Biden: 'I'd add' Warren to my list of potential VP picks How can top Democrats run the economy with no business skill? MORE, given his role as vice president.

Former U.S. Ambassador Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchNunes: 'Sickening' that Schiff obtained his phone records Inventing the 'Deep State' and draining the real one Washington state Democrat announces retirement MORE went further in revealing just how much the Obama administration was concerned about Hunter Biden’s board appointment. After all, if it comes up in preparation for a Senate confirmation hearing, it’s probably important. Everything else we heard was about policy disagreements with the president over Ukraine, which is even less exciting than it is impeachable.

So if you’re the Democrats, and the truth of your narrative keeps falling apart due to pesky things like the supposed victim of coercion denying having felt any pressure and an absence of first-hand witnesses, what do you do?

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One option is to call therapy dogs into the Capitol; they actually tried that on Wednesday. Another option is to move the goalposts; we saw a bit of this during last Wednesday’s hearing and, if they’re smart, it won’t stop.

Since what’s true isn’t always what’s important, they could try to use their precious airtime to do other things. If there’s no proof of the mob-shakedown described by Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Top Republican: Democrats' weekend document dump shows impeachment inquiry is a 'farce' Nunes: 'Sickening' that Schiff obtained his phone records MORE (R-Calif.), there’s also no proof it didn’t happen. Just like former special counsel Bob Mueller said, “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” (Volume II, Page 182 if you’re interested). So he’s clearly not innocent, which justifies impeachment.

I admire the effort — but if Mueller-mania taught the Democrats anything, it should be that this argument is lame. Something new that they’re trying this time is using new words that, with no other context, can sound like “impeachable offenses.” Say “bribe,” not “quid pro quo.” Use the word “treason,” not “abuse of power.”

Schiff and the Democratic counsel tried subbing in these words a couple times, hoping that new words would mean newfound consensus. It didn’t change much. So the last resort, as always, is to “feel” what’s right. Subscribe to some fake ethical standard only you can understand and, with whatever clairvoyant powers you believe you have, read the president’s mind to show how he didn’t meet it. Such a moral failing obviously justifies impeachment.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter to Team Impeachment what the facts are or which story is the true one — they just want people to see it their way. The Democrats’ rapid retreat from the substance of the matter and into new persuasion methods just proves what has been clear in the 90-plus days since Adam Schiff learned the identity of the whistleblower: There’s no “there” there.

If there’s one thing I learned from traveling across the country during the 2016 campaign, it’s that the American people are smart. They hate political games, they care about the truth, and they get angry when elected leadership wastes time trying to fool them instead of working to serve the people.

This is true—and important. Maybe someday the Democrats’ leadership will realize that. But until then, the witch-hunt goes on.

Corey R. Lewandowski is President Trump’s former campaign manager and a senior adviser to the Great America Committee, Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence: It's not a 'foregone conclusion' that lawmakers impeach Trump Pence's office questions Schiff's request to declassify more material from official's testimony: report The House Judiciary Committee's fundamental choice MORE's political action committee. He is co-author with David Bossie of the new book, “Trump’s Enemies,” and of “Let Trump Be Trump: The Inside Story of His Rise to the Presidency.” Follow him on Twitter @CLewandowski_.