Jim Dueholm is a former law partner of John and Scott. He offers his view of the Ukraine matter as it has unfolded so far:
The whistleblower’s complaint and the transcript of the July 25 call between President Trump and President Zalensky have been released to the public. Neither supports the pre-release claim that President Trump threatened to withhold aid to Ukraine unless Ukraine investigated presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.
The July 25 call was a friendly, feel-good call with no pressure and no threat, explicit or implicit, that tied aid to a Biden investigation.
President Trump dwelled on an investigation into the 2016 presidential campaign, which is appropriate and has nothing to do with the 2020 presidential election. The president didn’t ask President Zalensky to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, but he did urge him in an aside to cooperate in an investigation of that matter by Attorney General Bill Barr. Cooperation and investigation are much different things.
The complaint adds little to the transcript. It dwells at great length on investigation of the 2016 election. Like the transcript, it makes brief mention of a Biden investigation but provides no evidence that President Trump tied aid to a Biden investigation. The aid has been provided and Attorney General Barr is apparently not investigating the Bidens.
Nothing in the complaint or transcript is likely to generate Republican or public support for impeachment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has committed House Democrats to an impeachment inquiry and backed them into an impeachment corner. If they don’t begin impeachment proceedings, they will anger their base and feed the witch hunt narrative. If they do proceed, public business will be held hostage to an unpopular quest, inviting Republicans to campaign against a do-nothing Congress.
And whatever they do, they have already ensnared the Biden candidacy in Ukrainian coils and made it harder for Democrats and Republicans to work together.
I think Pelosi and other Democrats, in their eagerness to find a smoking gun or a magic bullet, view the transcript as far more scandalous than most Americans will perceive it to be. President Trump, whose political instincts are usually sound, doesn’t view the transcript as scandalous. Otherwise, he would not have released it so readily.
Trump is predisposed to think he can do no wrong, just as Democrats are predisposed to think everything he does is wrong. In this instance, I believe Trump has a better feel for how Americans will view the transcript than the Dems do, and I agree with Jim Dueholm’s assessment of the politics of impeaching Trump, with the caveat that we don’t know now what additional evidence will emerge.