Todd: What-about-isms absolutely matter if we want to keep our Republic together
President Trump shouldn’t have co-mingled his call with the new Ukranian leader with a desire to see Joe Biden’s Son, Hunter, investigated for what looks exactly like what I contend it was: Selling access to his dad for millions of dollars.
Were President Trump’s actions impeachable? I find that highly subjective and, in cases like impeachment, I think we better get some actual standards to avoid kangaroo courts.
We are told what-about-isms don’t matter, but, in cases so important to our Republic, they do because the consistency of treatment under the law matters deeply. If President Trump is impeached for a phone call where he didn’t get what he wanted, where Ukraine still got its aid, where there is every reason in the world to suspect Hunter Biden of corruption, then the frayed ties that bind this collection of 11 different cultures on one block of land will be further torn asunder.
We either have standards for impeachable offenses or we don’t, and right now, I propose that we do not, and that what-about-isms, which is another word for standards, will make that point.
President Obama committed at least one offense that was a felony. The infamous payment of $400 million to Iran was done with cash, at night, in foreign currency, delivered to a runway where American prisoners awaited transfer to the U.S. Instead of wiring the funds, President Obama had literal pallets of foreign cash delivered to Iran.
Asked why that was, one high-ranking U.S. official said, “The reason that we had to give them cash is precisely because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran.”
That official was President Barack Obama himself.
As the National Review covered at length, America did not have a banking relationship with Iran because the U.S. held sanctions against Iran and Barack Obama himself, a few months before he shipped them pallets of foriegn currency, reaffirmed the emergency declaration naming Iran a State Sponsor of Terror; Obama also promised Congress he would uphold the laws in regard to the sanctions.
The Treasury Department’s published guidance regarding Iran stated that, in general, “the clearing of U.S. dollar — or other currency-denominated transactions through the U.S. financial system or involving a U.S. person — remain prohibited.”
It is not just U.S. dollar transactions that are prohibited; foreign currency is also barred, and President Obama used foreign currency.
Treasury was citing the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR) a section of the Code of Federal Regulations that implements anti-terrorism sanctions initiated under President Bill Clinton and included in federal law.
That act states, in part: “The exportation, re-exportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of any goods, technology, or services to Iran or the Government of Iran is prohibited.”
The regulation makes clear that the prohibition may not be circumvented by exporting things of value “to a person in a third country” when one has “knowledge or reason to know that” such things are “intended specifically for supply, transshipment, or re-exportation, directly or indirectly, to Iran or the Government of Iran.”
Barack Obama didn’t try to do this, or have a phone call where he asked about it — President Obama actually completed these acts and that was a commission of a felony. A higher crime, one would say, than a misdemeanor.
We either have standards for impeachment or we don’t. I suggest the comparison between Trump and Obama’s actions indicate we don’t, and that is a major problem for our Republic.
Tell me I’m wrong: What-about-isms absolutely matter if we want to keep our Republic Together.