Opinion

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Closing Range

Heck, Impeach Them All

We could start by cutting the sleazebags and rent-seekers of both parties out of the game

By most standards, I rate as a political addict – able to overdose on all sorts of toxic political goo, then digest out golden nuggets of wisdom. But there’s a limit if I’m going to enjoy Thanksgiving turkey.

I’m not watching the impeachment circus, except some highlights. The questions I have are simply not being asked by the same guy who spent two years telling America the Mueller Report would doom President Donald Trump. He was full of Schiff then, is now, and will be forever.

See, stashed in my musty “RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA” files, which I started back in late 2016, is “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire,” an epic January 2017 article from Politico writers Ken Vogel and David Stern, well worth your read.

Vogel and Stern cover a “Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee (and) met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.”

The “operative,” Alexandra Chalupa, had sniffed out Manafort prior to any Trump candidacy and – the day before Manafort came on board – met at the embassy in March 2016. Four days later, having “quickly found herself in high demand,” Chalupa was back at DNC, where staff encouraged her to work with the embassy – especially toward scoring an “interview in which (then-Ukrainian president) Poroshenko might discuss Manafort’s ties to (exiled sleazeball Putin-flack president Viktor) Yanukovych.”

That didn’t happen, but Chalupa told Vogel/Stern the Ukrainian diplomats were otherwise “helpful.” Further, the “embassy also worked directly with reporters researching Trump, Manafort and Russia to point them in the right directions.” Nice, eh?

Here’s the part that kills me. Remember the months of howling about the Russian baby lawyer, “dirt” and Trump Junior? But I’d forgotten about Vogel/Stern’s report (among zillions) until Chalupa’s name came up again last week and a couple brain cells lit back up.

Now, I apologize for not keeping book/chapter/verse notes of the Mueller report, a copy of which I painfully read and turned back into the county library, but the report details that Manafort was busted, not just for acting as an unregistered agent for the Ukrainian government, but failing to pay taxes on the ridiculous amounts he was paid, like $14 million. The Mueller report also says Manafort had no intention of working in the Trump administration because, being in deep hock, he hoped to exploit his connections and restart his Ukrainian gravy train.

Then there was another passage concerning another minor “playah” who was asked to road-trip to Ukraine for a quick visit, no more than a week, for which he wanted $10,000 up front, and $50,000 in total. For a week? Hey, sign me up!

How about someone who did sign up? Hunter Biden, who lasted seven whole weeks in the Naval Reserve’s special direct-commission program for qualified civilian specialists. After scoring rare exemptions for both age (40 years) and past drug use, 43-year-old attorney Hunter Biden gets commissioned (his proud dad administered the oath) in May 2013 as an ensign. His critical specialty? Part-time public information officer for the Navy, basically a public-relations flack. But Biden flunks his first mandatory urine test (cocaine) and gets administratively discharged in February 2014, with the “news” finally reported October that year.

No problem … in April 2014, Biden takes a “corporate governance best practices” board seat with Ukrainian natural-gas company Burisma at a paltry $50,000 a month, or $600,000 per year? Illegal? Nope, but certainly convenient – and indicative of how things really work if you know, or are related to, the “right” people. And, how mendacious, banal, and sleazy (but enriching) life is among America’s political elites.

Why? Well, I’m on former Montana congressman Rick Hill’s Facebook list, and regarding the impeachment mess, “never-Trumper” Hill concluded “we need to cut government back to its (appropriate) size. Big government breeds corruption. Period.”

How can voters fix that? We could start by cutting the sleazebags and rent-seekers of both parties out of the game. Heck, impeach them all.