Democrats and Republicans demonstrated starkly different reactions following the release of the unredacted transcript of President Trump’s conversation with the president of Ukraine.
Many congressional Democrats publicly declared it the “smoking gun,” while Republicans dismissed their cries by noting the absence of quid pro quo or generally lawless behavior.
However, Democrats are striking a drastically different tone privately, as several reports indicate.
The far-left flank of the Democrat caucus forced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to concede and announce a formal impeachment inquiry against the president on Tuesday. She made the announcement prior to the release of the transcript, which detailed the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
As Republican lawmakers explicitly noted, the conversation contained “zero” grounds for a legitimate impeachment inquiry. The president’s request for a “favor,” Republicans added, was immediately followed by a reference to Crowdstrike and questions revolving around election meddling and hacking efforts. Joe Biden’s (D) son, Hunter Biden, was not mentioned until later in the conversation.
“President Trump asked about Ukraine investigating ‘Crowdstrike’ (an investigation unrelated to Biden). It was Ukraine President Zelensky, not President Trump, who first brought up investigations beyond ‘Crowdstrike,’” Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said in a statement, noting that Biden’s “possible illegal interference in a Ukraine prosecutor’s investigation of Biden’s son” was not mentioned until after the fact.
“Just read transcript of POTUS’ call w/Ukraine Pres. Absolutely ZERO grounds for impeachment and I agree w/ the President that US-Ukraine should investigate,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) wrote. “This is absurd how Congressional Dems & many in media are trying to spin this all!”
“Wow. Impeachment over this?” Rep Lindsey Graham (R-SC) expressed. “What a nothing (non-quid pro quo) burger.”
Publicly, Democrats have claimed that the transcript is the “smoking gun,” accusing Trump of betrayal and calling him a “cheat,” while repeatedly taking the lines from the conversation out of context, attributing the “favor” to Biden’s son:
“I would like you to do us a favor”…”whatever you can do with [Barr] would be great.” This #UkraineTranscript is @realDonaldTrump’s version and he admitted to betrayal. America is too great of a country to be led by such a cheat. #ImpeachTrump
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) September 25, 2019
Spoiler alert: President Trump attempted to bribe and extort a foreign leader for political gain. This—and so many other infractions he’s committed against our Constitution—is why it’s time to #ImpeachTrumpNow.https://t.co/OnijHI0p0y
— Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (@RepRashida) September 25, 2019
The transcript of the call reads like a classic mob shakedown:
– We do a lot for Ukraine– There’s not much reciprocity– I have a favor to ask– Investigate my opponent– My people will be in touch
Nice country you got there.
It would be a shame if something happened to her.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) September 25, 2019
However, the public calls are overshadowed by reports of internal freakouts among Democrats, who believe this is a losing battle. As Breitbart News reported, several aides to top Democrats on Capitol Hill expressed hesitation and concern over the party’s decision to pull the trigger on impeachment. One senior Democrat congressional aide called the impeachment effort “a joke” and “all bullshit”:
Privately, several aides to top Democrats on Capitol Hill expressed concerns about the lack of a focus on the impeachment move; without a clear outcome in mind, Democrats fear that whatever happens will further energize Trump ahead of the 2020 election while failing to remove him.
“If you’re going to take a shot at the king, you best not miss,” one House Democrat leadership aide told Breitbart News. “And we do not have a pathway to win without 20 GOP votes in the Senate. We are nowhere near that, not even close.”
Another senior Democrat congressional aide added regarding the move to attempt to impeach Trump: “It’s a joke. It’s all bullshit.”
Over on the Senate side, most Republicans are in line with Trump. While Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said that he considers the transcript’s contents “troubling,” he declined to discuss “impeachment” at this time.
Politico paralleled those sentiments, noting the “creeping anxiety throughout the party [that] it [impeachment] might only help the president clinch a second term.” The outlet spoke to several Democrat officials, who expressed that impeachment could very well backfire on Democrats.
“Of course, I want impeachment from a moral perspective,” Pete Buttigieg’s former New Hampshire director Michael Ceraso told Politico. “But from a political perspective, I don’t want to spend a year talking about how Democrats tried to impeach him and couldn’t pull it off.”
Instead of health care and kitchen-table economics — the issues the party ran on in last year’s blue-wave election — the campaign will inevitably be consumed by a doomed effort to boot Trump from office, skeptics say. All when Trump will be on the ballot in a matter of months, anyway
“The Democrats become single-issue candidates, which weakens them,” Ceraso said, adding that the proceedings will only solidify Trump’s base.
Another Democrat strategist told Politico that Pelosi should have taken “one for the team” as she has been doing for months, rather than succumbing to the left’s call for an impeachment inquiry:
One Democratic strategist familiar with multiple presidential campaigns in Iowa said the party’s eventual nominee would be better served if House Democrats decline to open proceedings, even as candidates publicly urge them to. He reacted with alarm as Pelosi signaled Monday that she had become more open to the possibility of impeachment.
“She needs to take one for the team and say, ‘Nope, we’re not doing it,’” the strategist said, before Pelosi greenlighted an impeachment inquiry on Tuesday.
Another Democratic strategist with ties to the national party agreed. Holding the earlier Democratic line — with Democratic presidential candidates calling for impeachment and Pelosi declining to go there — would also help vulnerable Democratic House members with their reelection bids.
“I think that works well for both Congress and the candidate because then [House members] can say they stand against the nominee,” the strategist said.
Even Sean Bagniewski, chairman of Iowa’s Polk County Democrats, signaled that Iowans at the Polk County Steak Fry did not have an appetite for impeachment.
“I talked to a lot of people, and it didn’t come up once, not at all,” he told Politico. “I’m sure it really energizes Twitter, but Twitter doesn’t vote.”
Bagniewski suggested that the endless impeachment efforts are distracting Democrats from issues that voters care about.
“The bread-and-butter issues are more important now than ever,” Bagniewski told Politico. “We all need to start deciding what we want to be spending our time on.”
His concerns are not isolated. The Democrat-led House has faced criticism for appearing to spend more time passing relatively meaningless resolutions while only paying lip service to “bread and butter” issues on their social media platforms.
Politico also cited Democrat strategist Hank Sheinkopf – who called impeachment a “national spectacle” – and Democratic National Committee member Bob Mulholland, who called impeachment a “political disaster for us Democrats”:
“It’s a national spectacle that will make people defend the presidency or tune out, which is worse,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a longtime Democratic strategist based in New York. “The incessant banging about it doesn’t help. Stick with issues that work.”
Bob Mulholland, a Democratic National Committee member from California, put it this way: “Absent Trump being caught in a trunk with a young boy, impeachment is a political disaster for us Democrats.”
Political analyst Charlie Cook noted that he was “totally underwhelmed by the transcript” and added that it will not help Democrats in their efforts to get Americans on board with impeaching the president:
I don’t Tweet very much but reading transcript has moved me to comment. I was totally underwhelmed by the transcript. After the build-up, it was not much more inappropriate said than we hear from him in a typical week. This will not move malleable voters.
— Charlie Cook (@CharlieCookDC) September 25, 2019
Even presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) went against the outspoken cries from her party, admitting that the transcript does not demonstrate a “compelling case” for impeachment:
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) September 25, 2019
As the fallout continues, Democrats are moving the goalposts, claiming that there no longer needs to be “no quid pro quo,” as Juan Williams concluded on Fox News’s The Five on Wednesday.
Despite the public cries of victory from certain Democrat lawmakers, Republicans smell blood.
Breitbart News reported:
“The Democrats are fucked,” a senior Senate GOP aide told Breitbart News upon reviewing the transcript. “This is going to unite everyone except maybe Mitt, I bet even Ben Sasse comes around on this and backs the president unless there’s some bombshell with the whistleblower who didn’t even hear this call. Republican operatives I’ve talked to are giddy about this.”
GOP lawmakers are using the left’s hysteria to their advantage, reminding the American people of the issues Democrats are ignoring – health care, border security, and homelessness – whilst distracting themselves with the endless list of grievances designed to take the president down:
As I travel across West Virginia, I talk to folks who are sick and tired of this purely partisan investigation aimed at reversing the results of the presidential election. It is time for Democrats to move on and start focusing on issues that matter to all Americans.
— Rep. Alex Mooney (@RepAlexMooney) September 25, 2019
Here are just a few important issues House Democrats are losing focus on while they march down the impeachment path:
🚫 The humanitarian crisis on our southern border
🚫 A new US-Mexico-Canada trade deal
🚫 The homeless crisis
🚫 Reducing prescription drug prices
— Ken Calvert (@KenCalvert) September 25, 2019
In launching impeachment proceedings against President Trump based on nothing but pure malice, Nancy Pelosi is attempting to overturn a lawful election and defy the will of the American people.
— Rep. Ralph Abraham (@RepAbraham) September 25, 2019
The President said he'd release the transcript of his call with Ukraine's President–and he did. I read it. Everyone is welcome to read it. The Justice Department's criminal division also read it and found no violation of campaign laws. My advice to Congress: less drama, more work
— Jeff Fortenberry (@JeffFortenberry) September 25, 2019
Transcript is out. Here's what we know:– No quid pro quo – No 8 mentions of Biden – It was the Ukrainian President who brought up Giuliani on the call
– Democrats don't wait for the facts before they jump to conclusions when it comes to President @realdonaldtrump
— Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (@RepDLesko) September 25, 2019
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) reminded the American people that Democrats have been actively searching for a catalyst to launch an impeachment inquiry since Trump’s inauguration.
“Since the day President Trump was elected, congressional Democrats have been working to find any reason under the sun to impeach the president and undo the results of the last election,” Cruz stated.
“First, it was Mueller, then the Mueller report found no collusion. Now it’s Ukraine. Next month, it will be something else,” he continued.
He added that “facts don’t matter to congressional Democrats” and predicted that Pelosi will “continue to be hounded by the far left of her caucus to halt all other legislative work to focus on attacking the president.”
As Breitbart News reported, Pelosi’s cave demonstrates that she lost the battle for control of her caucus, succumbing to the demands of the far-left “Squad.”
Additionally, the Trump campaign and RNC’s announcement of a combined $5 million raised since Pelosi’s initial launch of the impeachment inquiry essentially confirms the Democrat insiders’ mounting fears: The American public is not on board with impeachment, and the GOP – including Trump’s base – is ready for war.