October 21, 2019

All of us at Team Huckabee have been scratching our heads and asking, “Are we crazy?” Virtually everyone in the media is condemning White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney for saying Trump asked the Ukrainians for a quid pro quo: investigate the Democrats in exchange for U.S. military aid. We have looked at this every which way, and that is not what he said. But it’s already been repeated so many times that it’s become part of the narrative --- a false narrative.

Almost everyone is making the same mistake, and that would be in equating “investigating the DNC server” with “investigating Democrats.” “Investigating the DNC server” means looking at whether the Russians hacked it and exactly how they might have done it, which is a legitimate and arguably vital part of the examination of Russian/Ukrainian “meddling.” (And that’s what we wanted to find out about, right?) “Investigating Democrats” means turning a relationship with a foreign country into something inherently partisan, which would be an abuse of power.

Mulvaney wasn't talking about “investigating Democrats.” He was talking about the DNC server, which was hidden from examination by the FBI by then-DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. She turned it over to a company called CrowdStrike instead, and, as far as we know, CrowdStrike is still in possession. The FBI can’t really look into Russian hacking unless it physically obtains the DNC server. For all we know, it wasn’t hacked by the Russians at all. It might have even been an inside job by some disgruntled employee or volunteer.  We have no evidence either way, so it's speculation.  But, whether the Russians really did it or not, that "fact" been baked into the "Russian meddling" narrative.

The media do this all the time, especially to Trump:  twist words into a new meaning, then go wild attacking the speaker for saying something he didn't really say.

Even Chris Wallace on FOX NEWS SUNDAY conflated “DNC server” with “Democrats” in his questioning of Mulvaney, and this made it almost impossible for Mulvaney to address his concerns. But as Mulvaney said, it IS appropriate to conduct foreign policy in the way Trump did, expecting an overall corruption clean-up in exchange for aid. That sort of thing really is done all the time.  And if Trump wanted them to look into the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC server, that does not mean he was asking them to investigate DEMOCRATS. He wanted the corruption cleaned up, period. It’s not Trump’s fault if an examination into the DNC hack happens to turn up Democrat corruption, too.

Here’s the FOX NEWS SUNDAY interview. See if you don’t agree that Chris Wallace makes that mistake and misinterprets what Mulvaney said, in the same way that Democrats, most of the media, and even, weirdly, many Republicans have.

We started thinking that maybe we’re not crazy while watching Mark Levin’s Sunday interview with Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson on LIFE, LIBERTY AND LEVIN. At last, a discussion that made sense! Johnson, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, traveled to Ukraine in May of this year (then-U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker went as well) to attend the inauguration of President Zelensky, as a show of support. On May 23, Johnson attended a meeting in the Oval Office about relations with the new government, and he tells Levin that he was surprised at the President’s reaction to the idea of giving them aid, “which has been consistent throughout this.” They talked about the general level of corruption in Ukraine, which apparently is off the charts, and Trump was asking, “Is this a country we really want to be providing monetary support to?” For this reason, and also because of the lack of European support, he had serious reservations about doing that. It wasn’t about seeking anything in exchange, just the concern that this was a corrupt nation.

Johnson had a one-on-one conversation with Trump in August, well before the “whistleblower” complaint, and the President was just as hesitant then about giving money to Ukraine. When Johnson asked if the money would be contingent upon them doing something in return, Trump vehemently denied that. Again, Trump was being consistent.

The senator makes some stellar observations during the Levin interview about the media and their efforts to advance a chosen narrative. “There are so many questions,” he says. “I’m really not throwing out any accusations, I’m not making any allegations. I’m just saying there are so many questions that remain unanswered, and they really remain unanswered because, by and large, the press has no curiosity about trying to get the answers to these things.” He’s concerned that, at this point, anyone who brings up the issues he does will simply be dismissed as a conspiracy theorist.   (I would add that this is exactly the media's goal.)

“So," he says, "I hear the Adam Schiffs of the world talking about, you know, ‘This Ukrainian call was the greatest threat to our democracy and our Constitution’ --- no. The greatest threat to our Constitution is potentially a duly-elected President of the United States having his administration sabotaged, by former members of a previous administration. You know, people potentially in the CIA, potentially in the FBI.”

Watching the Levin conversation with Sen. Johnson is one of the best ways to spend an hour if you’re interested in what happened with Ukraine, especially as it relates to the “Russia” investigation and Hillary Clinton. We’ve discussed much of it here over many months, but for a calm, clear, one-hour distillation of the facts and some eminently reasonable interpretation, you can’t beat this. Anyone who doesn’t understand what was done to turn that investigation against Trump should sit down and watch it through. (You may have to tie them to a chair and hold their eyelids open.) Of course, they should also read my newsletter, because we try every day to cut through the false narrative being pushed almost everywhere and get to the real story.

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