Revolt of the Ukraine Desk Bureaucrats

UkraineClarice Feldman – To date the Schiff hearings — unfairly run as they are — show nothing less than a revolt by the Ukraine Desk Bureaucrats in which they concede they are poorly armed with any facts sufficient to overthrow the president, whose only crime was to change the direction of our Ukraine policy in which they’d played a significant role.

History of Democratic Party’s Treatment of Ukraine

While the hearings might have led some to believe that U.S. policy respecting Ukraine has been consistently supportive, the facts are otherwise, and the President’s effort to change that has the bureaucrats’ dander up.

Mickey Kaus details how then-ambassador Victoria Nuland supported the revolt against elected president Viktor Yanukovych “who was replaced in a parliamentary vote that was nevertheless short of what was required under the Ukraine constitution to impeach him.”

He finds parallels in the Ukraine desk bureaucrats’ actions there and here:

The problem is that the “interagency” establishment’s attitude toward Ukraine has apparently now been transferred to domestic politics, where — led by the same foreign policy establishment, in a controversy not coincidentally involving Ukraine — Democrats are too cavalierly attempting to throw out a constitutionally elected president.

It’s not a stretch to say this attitude provides the background music for the parade of Ukraine-desk bureaucrats [snip] currently appearing before cameras in Rep. Schiff’s impeachment hearings. They seem, almost reflexively, to be willing to do to their own country what they supported doing to Ukraine.

The parallels are almost eerie. In both cases the elected president (Yanukovych in Ukraine, Trump here) is regarded by the foreign policy establishment as corrupt. In both cases the president’s original election was regarded as tainted — in Yanukovych’s case by suspicions of vote rigging, in Trump’s case by charges of foreign meddling.

In both cases the villain is Russia. In both cases there is a big underlying policy dispute that calls forth intense passions: In Ukraine, it was whether the country would look West or East. In the US it’s how vigorously to resist aggressive Russian attempts to restore the former Soviet empire in Ukraine and elsewhere.

And in both cases, victory means tossing aside the results of a national vote. Ukraine’s “Revolution of Dignity” might not have been legal under Ukraine’s constitution — but hey, that’s why they call it a revolution.

Over at FrontPage mag, Lloyd Billingsley reminds us of the many times Democrats from FDR on failed to support Ukraine against Russia, including these acts by Barack Obama:

POTUS 44’s hot-mike aside to Dimitry Medvedev that he would soon have “more flexibility” emerged several times in the hearing. Schiff said it didn’t matter because it happened in 2012 and Russia didn’t invade Ukraine until 2014. This was hardly the only issue.

One of POTUS 44’s first actions in 2009, Democrats failed to recall, was to cancel missile defense for U.S. allies Poland and the Czech Republic. Those defenses were the subject of Russian complaints, and in her vaunted Russian re-set, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave the Russians virtually everything they wanted.

When Russia did invade Ukraine, they got only blankets and MREs. As the late Charles Krauthammer said, the arsenal of democracy had become the wardrobe of democracy. If veteran diplomat William Taylor was proclaiming, “we must resist Russian aggression,” Democrats weren’t listening.

Sharyl Attkisson did a summary of the testimony of George Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and William Taylor, acting ambassador to Ukraine, highlighting what she found interesting in their remarks. I urge you to take a few minutes to read it all:

Among those highlights are these:

George Kent was concerned about the corruption in Burisma, the Ukraine energy corporation which shoveled so much money to Hunter Biden; he registered concern about the conflict of interest and did raise it with the vice president’s office, but not his agency, the State Department. He did so, he testified because it was in accordance with U.S. policy though he agreed the threat was “unprecedented.”

He defended Joe Biden’s threat to withhold U.S. military aid from Ukraine unless they fired the chief prosecutor who was investigating corruption, including Burisma. He said he still doesn’t know why the Burisma case was closed, and that it still needs to be investigated because U.S. funds were involved (something President Trump has asked). “Kent agreed it’s appropriate to look at foreign assistance in terms of levels of corruption within the receiving party.”

William Taylor seemed chuffed — “alarmed” — that there were two channels to the newly elected Ukrainian government — “regular” in which he was included and “irregular” in which he was not. The “irregular channel consisted of Energy secretary Rick Perry, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney, U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.

(As a matter of fact, such back channels happen all the time.) His testimony showed that he was working at cross-purposes with OMB, which was assessing the effectiveness of U.S. assistance to Ukraine. He acknowledged that Ambassador Sondland told him there was no “quid pro quo” and that assistance was provided without President Zelensky making a public statement promising to investigate or providing information on Hunter Biden.

Neither witness testified they heard the President was looking for “political dirt” on the Bidens. Neither ever spoke to the President; all they had was heard-it-on-the-grapevine reports that the temporary halt of aid was due to “personal or political interests of the President.” Both claimed not to have known of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election on behalf of Hillary Clinton and the role of Alexandra Chalupa, spreading misinformation on behalf of the DNC, something even the left-wing Politico reported two years ago.

Marie Yovanovitch

In the case of this witness, the hearings seemed to devolve into a claim of unfair employment practices. The Washington Post coverage was particularly focused on color and narratives — like the U.S. flag scarf she wore, and nothing I noticed on the gist of her irrelevant testimony.

Yovanovitch was an ambassador to Ukraine appointed by then-president Obama in 2016.

Obama, you might recall, fired every donor Ambassador G.W. Bush had appointed. She was not fired, but was recalled to the Department of State, where she still draws her pay. (She’s also been given a post at George Washington University.) Before her recall in May, she had served in that post for three years after Trump took office. There appeared more than sufficient reason, despite precedent and the law, which provides that ambassadors serve at the President’s pleasure.

The Wall Street Journal’s “Best of the Web” was not the least bit persuaded by the suggestion that she was “the key to a free and independent Ukraine free of corruption”:

On the corruption front, the Obama administration helped her prepare to field questions at her Senate confirmation hearing in June of 2016 about Hunter Biden’s role on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma. The company was then under investigation in Ukraine. Team Obama knew there was a powerful aroma surrounding the Biden deal and that Ms. Yovanovitch needed to be armed with talking points. As it turned out, nobody asked her about the Biden deal in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and she didn’t volunteer any comments on the topic.

After confirmation she doesn’t seem to have been any more eager to address the topic. Even though the Bidens have been unable to explain what exactly Hunter Biden was doing for his lucrative compensation and have pledged never to do such deals again, it seems that the vaunted anti-corruption champion Ms. Yovanovitch didn’t think it was worth pursuing. In her earlier House deposition she said it “wasn’t a front burner issue at the time.”

On the issue of Ukrainian independence, the former ambassador affirmed once again today that President Trump’s decision to approve the sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine was critical to the country’s ability to defend itself against Russian aggression.

But back in June of 2016, when Ms. Yovanovitch was appearing before lawmakers and seeking confirmation as Mr. Obama’s ambassador, she never mentioned the need for Javelins.

Representative Jim Jordon’s exchange with her showed she was just there to appeal to the same crowd of women who bought the Kavanaugh hearing bilge. (Indeed, George Washington law professor Heidi Li Feldman — no relation — who started the GoFundMe page for Christine Blasey Ford started but then dropped one for Yovanovitch.)

Al Perrota satirized her testimony and did it rather accurately. Here are the more salient points:

Ambassador Yovanovitch on Foreign Policy

Rep. Jim Jordan: Who decides American foreign policy?

Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch: We do.

Jordan: I mean, under the U.S. Constitution, who decides American foreign policy?

Yovanovitch: The president.

Jordan: Who gets to decide who carries out the president’s foreign policy?

Yovanovitch: We do.

Jordan: I mean, under the U.S. Constitution, who decides who gets to carry out the president’s foreign policy?

Yovanovitch: The president.

Jordan: Then why the heck are we here?

Ambassador Yovanovitch on the Call to Ukraine

Jordan: When were you removed as Ambassador to Ukraine?

Yovanovitch: May 2019.

Jordan: When did President Trump have the phone call with Ukraine’s president that sent the Democrats into impeachment frenzy?

Yovanovitch: July 2019.

Jordan: Does May still come before July?

Yovanovitch: Yes.

Jordan: Then what the heck are YOU doing here?

Fox News had an even more telling exchange that actually did take place.

Stewart: “I would now feel compelled to ask you, Madam Ambassador, as you sit here before us, very simply and directly, do you have any information regarding the president of the United States accepting any bribes?”

Yovanovitch: “No.”

Stewart: “Do you have any information regarding any criminal activity that the president of the United States has been involved with at all?”

Yovanovitch: “No.”

Stewart thanked Yovanovitch before predicting that public support for impeachment would decrease after the hearings.

“The American people know this is nonsense,” Stewart said. “The American people know this is unfair.”

While this dog and pony show is still on the road, important things are happening in the real world. The Dow was at 28,000 for the first time in history and U.S. unemployment hit a 50-year low of 3.5%. The Horowitz report is slowly making its way through the IG’s office and I expect this dynamite speech last week by Attorney General William Barr about the Constitution and the “resistance” is a harbinger of what’s to come.

In any event, it’s as clear a statement about the Constitution and the role of the three branches of government as you could find. Since high school and college students no longer seem to learn such things, you could help improve their education and national weal by copying it and passing it on. Maybe sending a copy to your congressional representatives might give them a clue about their role.

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