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Street Smart

Quid pro quo happens


November 21, 2019

I’ve been following this whole impeachment process against President Trump pretty closely and I think he’s handling it all wrong. I’ll explain my reasoning below, but first let’s develop a little background information.

This whole impeachment threat, as far as the Washington Democrats are concerned, comes down to what is called a “quid pro quo.” Here’s Webster’s definition of a quid pro quo: something given for something else.In a nutshell, the Democrats feel that (during a telephonic conversation) President Trump threatened to withhold military funding from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky unless he (Zelensky) agreed to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s involvement in a proposed prosecution in Ukraine (the prosecution in question involved a Ukrainian company Biden’s son Hunter was involved with). Democrats believe that President Trump’s verbiage in that phone call constituted a quid pro quo type (or extortion to use their newest terminology) of threat and rose to the level of an impeachable offense. Let’s look at that.

The transcript from the phone call between Presidents Trump and Zelensky is readily available online and I’ve read it several times. I didn’t perceive any sort of a threat toward President Zelensky based on what I read. Granted, I’m certainly biased and a written transcript can’t capture voice inflection. So, to be fair, I have to acknowledge those two facts. However, let’s break this down to a few points we do know and can’t be disputed:

In the hearings, Adam Schiff is allowing what is called “hearsay testimony.” I’ve been involved in hundreds (thousands?) of trials. I’m quite comfortable stating that hearsay testimony would not be allowed in a trial for the lowest grade misdemeanor crime. It defies logic that this sort of testimony is allowed in a hearing to impeach the President of the United States!

What is allowed in a justifiable trial is what’s called direct testimony. That is testimony from someone who is directly involved in the incident in question. In this instance, it’s an indisputable fact that we have that. When asked, President Zelensky said he never felt threatened or pressured by anything said by President Trump. If that’s true, and there is certainly no reason to believe President Zelensky lied, how can the Democrats conjure up a crime or a threat without a victim? The “crimes” alleged by the Democrats require a victim. Who might that be?

There’s much more but let’s move on. Why do I think President Trump is handling this all wrong? Here’s my reasoning: I don’t think any of President Trump’s statements amounted to a threat or a quid pro quo. However, if a threat really was his intent, I say…so what! In fact, it wouldn’t bother me a bit if President Trump had said, “I need you to look into this or else!” I mentioned above that I looked up the term quid pro quo for this column. Interestingly, the example used by Webster’s for correct use of the term states the following: “In politics nobody does something for nothing: there’s always a quid pro quo.” Think about that. Isn’t that exactly what we see happening all the time? For example, we (the United States) have established sanctions against North Korea and Iran because of their nuclear weapons development. The United States has agreed to ease those sanctions if both countries fall into compliance with certain standards. The very definition of a quid pro quo, right? Something given for something else. In this example, sanction relief in exchange for compliance. It happens every day! I think President Trump should stand up to the Democrats regarding this impeachment effort and say, “Yeah, I did it and here’s why!”

And that statement takes us to the “why.” The media is failing to focus on the real issue here: Joe Biden’s behavior while he was Vice President of the United States. Am I the only one curious about why the then Vice President of the United States felt compelled to involve himself in a criminal prosecution in another country? I see that as a valid question that nobody has asked.

“Mr. Biden, why did you feel it important, or beneficial to America, to insert yourself in the affairs of a sovereign nation?” I think that’s a fair question that should be asked. If he has a valid answer…good. I’d like to hear it though. Beyond that, consider the following statement we do know about Biden’s involvement in the Ukrainian prosecution: Biden (recorded) describing his conversation with Ukrainian officials, “I said, ‘I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars.’ I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in.’ I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a b---. [Laughter.] He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.” (New York Sun, September 25, 2019).

What does Biden’s use of the word “solid” mean? I think I know, but I’d like to hear him explain that. Biden’s statement is the very definition of a threatening quid pro quo toward the Ukrainian government. I find it quite ironic that President Trump is accused of a quid pro quo type of threat when asking for the investigation of behavior on the part of Joe Biden that clearly involved a quid pro quo threat! Unless Biden had a valid reason for saying what he did, his statement to the Ukrainians is undeniably threatening and improper. It’s unfortunate that Biden is President Trump’s political rival for 2020 and I absolutely get the conflict there. However, the questions still need to be answered. President Trump promised to “drain the swamp.” The way I see it, investigating the Bidens is simply President Trump keeping a campaign promise and I applaud him for that.

The most pathetic part of this whole scenario is the fact that the Democrats are putting their hatred of President Trump ahead of what’s best for this nation. The Senate has already stated that this impeachment effort is “dead on arrival” if it gets to that level, so this whole circus is nothing more than an exercise in futility! How much time, money and effort are being spent? Consider this as well, if all of this were truly about misconduct or some sort of an integrity issue, wouldn’t the Democrats be demanding that Biden remove himself from consideration in the 2020 election? Let that sink in.

Blaine Blackstone is a retired Los Angeles Police Sergeant who enjoys the simpler life in Thompson Falls. He can be reached by email at [email protected]


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