EDITOR’S NOTE: Since the announcement of the formal Impeachment Inquiry by the U.S. House of Representatives, the current occupant of the Oval Office has unleashed an endless flood of lies, misrepresentations, and alternate facts. Because there is no end in sight, we here at The Shinbone Star have pulled together this primer to help stem the tide of Trumpian Bullshit (his word) surrounding all things impeachment. Called “All Hat, but No Cattle,” which is not just a colorful colloquialism, but also a tribute to the Texas roots of several of our writers, we hope it will become your go-to destination when you feel the need to debunk the lies that drop like bovine excrement from the lips of the commander-in-chief. We pledge to keep the page updated, so check back often to keep from stepping in another of the president’s meadow muffins.
1. Whistleblower complaint is not second-hand Information
Trumped-up Puffery: The whistleblower complaint is only second-hand information that provides an inaccurate picture of President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. Trump also asserts that the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) changed the form used by the whistleblower in order to allow the use of second-hand information.
Fact: The whistleblower complaint is confirmed by a transcript of the phone conversation between Trump and Zelensky that was released by the White House. In addition, the ICIG released a statement concerning the question about changes in the whistleblower reporting form that reads in part:
“The ICIG asserted that the “form the Complainant submitted on August 12, 2019 is the same form the ICIG has had in place since May 24, 2018.” The ICIG added that “by law the Complainant . . . need not possess first-hand information in order to file a complaint or information with respect to an urgent concern,” and that even if he wanted to, “the ICIG cannot add conditions to the filing of an urgent concern that do not exist in law.”
2. This is nothing more than an attempted coup by the Democrat Party
Trumped-up Puffery: The Democrats are unhappy that they can’t beat me any other way, so they are attempting a coup through the impeachment process. It’s an end run around 2020 elections, which they know I’ll win because their candidates are so weak.
Fact: The impeachment process is the responsibility assigned to Congress in the Constitution by our country’s Founding Fathers. It is part of the oversight responsibility Congress has over the executive branch of the government. It’s called checks and balances government, is the rule of law in America, and is one important thing that distinguishes a democracy from a monarchy or even a dictatorship.
3. As president, I can do anything I want!
Trumped-up Puffery: “I have every right as president to investigate corruption, and that would include asking other countries to help us out.”
Fact: It is illegal, bordering on treason, for an elected official of our country to ask foreign governments — especially enemies of our country — to interfere in our elections in order to benefit politically. Repeat: It is illegal to ask for foreign help in a domestic election campaign. It’s also important to note that the president of our country is not a trained investigator. He doesn’t know how to conduct a thorough or professional probe of corruption.
4. Instead of investigating me, House Democrats should dooooo something!
Trumped-up Puffery: “The Do Nothing Democrats should be focused on building up our Country, not wasting everyone’s time and energy on BULLSHIT, which is what they have been doing ever since I got overwhelmingly elected in 2016, 223-306 (Electoral College tally).
Fact: In addition to their investigations, Democrats in Congress are working on legislation at a rapid clip. In all, as of June 1, the House has taken up 51 bills, resolutions, and suspensions since January — 49 of which they’ve passed. This includes a slate of bills to attempt to end the longest government shutdown in history, the result of a protracted fight between Trump and Congress over border wall funding. Ironically, the House has passed bills to address the issues Trump most frequently mentions in his tweets. Democrats recently passed a bill to lower prescription drug prices, and another to protect pre-existing conditions. The House also passed nine bills on veterans issues. That same week, Democrats tried to present Trump their infrastructure plan before he walked out of their meeting. (Source: Vox.com, May 24, 2019).
5. Ivanka is working for America, but Hunter Biden is corrupt
Ivanka Trump: “We’re fighting every day for the American worker. We’re delivering in that fight and on that promise. That’s our priority.”
Fact: Yep. Those Chinese trademarks you just secured are putting a lot of Americans to work, right? But what about Hunter Biden needs to be investigated? How stupid do you think most of us are?
6. Abandonment of our Kurdish allies and risk to U.S. forces
Trumped-up Puffery: I’m not worried about ISIS members leaving Syria because they’ll go to Europe.
Fact: How about worrying about the American service men and women fighting alongside the Kurds today, who haven’t yet left the country? Are you worried about their safety and their lives? Can you assure us no American military forces will be killed or injured during the Turkish attack against the Kurds? If not, you should be removed as commander in chief of our armed forces. Yes, that means you should resign as president immediately.
7. The only accumulation of evidence is that you’re guilty!
Trumped-up Puffery: “The real news of the past few weeks has been the steady accumulation of evidence that (the whistleblower’s) central claim is totally wrong.”
Fact: Sorry, Donald, but your “memo” of the phone call transcript spells it out clearly: You asked for a favor “though” from Ukraine President Zelensky that included digging up dirt on Joe and Hunter Biden. You said it. It’s included in the document you released. Don’t need the whistleblower’s testimony to support your own document. You said it, you asked for it and apparently Zelensky is delivering on the favor. It’s illegal to solicit, let alone accept, foreign assistance in a domestic political campaign. It’s the law, Donald, and you broke it. You need to suffer the consequences.
8. Corrupt ‘Shifty Schiff’ is the one who should be censured!
Trumped-up Puffery: “Censure (at least) Corrupt Adam Schiff! After what he got caught doing, any pol who does not so vote cannot be honest . . . are you listening Dems?”
Fact: What’s needed is a vote to censure you, Donald. Any member of Congress who doesn’t support that measure should be voted out in 2020. Enough of your lies and self-enriching activities — politically and financially. Wait, there will be an impeachment vote in the House. Let’s see what happens then.
9. Our military is strong only because of me!
Trumped-up Puffery: “Our military is being massively rebuilt and it’s stronger than ever.”
Fact: Great sound bite, Donald, but specifics, please. Just how is our military being rebuilt? What programs, what equipment are being added to our armed services? What fat has been trimmed from the DOD’s budget in order to make certain we’re spending taxpayer dollars effectively and efficiently as we continue to maintain a strong military force? Yeah, that’s right, our military has been the envy of the world for decades. This rebuilding marketing line sounds good but it’s just that, a sound bite. Facts before fiction, please.
10. Pence has ‘serious concerns.’ He should!
Two-Pence Worth: “I have some serious concerns with the way the closed-door depositions were run & am skeptical that we will have a process that is open, transparent & fair . . . going down this path is a mistake.”
Fact: Mr. Pence, Republicans have been in the room during impeachment proceedings, participating in the depositions, asking questions and listening to testimony. If they’re not accurately sharing that information with you or your boss — telling you only what they think you want to hear — then you have a problem. Stop trying to misrepresent the impeachment process in order to gain votes. We deserve truth, not lies or misrepresentations. The process is proceeding as other impeachment inquiries have been managed. You don’t control this part of our government, Congress does. Deal with it.
11. What’s good for the goose . . .
Two-faced Republicans: It’s “not acceptable” for the whistleblower to answer only written questions from Republican lawmakers in connection with the House impeachment inquiry, as his attorneys communicated was on the table on Sunday.
Fact: Written questions were good enough for Trump during the Mueller investigation, even though he didn’t answer most of them. Written questions should be good enough for the whistleblower. Guess Republicans are afraid of the answers they’ll get since, unlike Trump, he/she will answer them truthfully and completely.
12. Failing to ignore Trump’s crimes is unpatriotic!
Trumped-up Puffery: “These people (House Democrats who favor impeaching him), you almost question whether or not they love our country and that’s a very, very serious thing: Do they, in fact, love our country?”
Fact: Those of us who don’t support Russian objectives and encourage Russian participation in our elections love our country, Donald. Wish you would join us in defending our country against our Russian enemy as you pledged to do when you took office on Jan. 20, 2017. Understand this clearly, Donald, we love our country and don’t want Russians telling us what to do.
13. A pandemic of lies
Trumped-up Puffery: Trump on numerous occasions, including media briefings from the White House: “I believe there were no deaths when I closed up the country. And you should say thank you very much.”
Fact: You didn’t really “close up the country,” Donald. You allowed more than 40,000 people to fly back to America from China after you implemented your poorly conceived and poorly executed travel ban. So, you don’t get any thank-yous from anybody since you didn’t do what you keep trying to say you did. Which is about par for the course (not the golf course, mind you) when talking about your failed attempt to govern our country during the coronavirus crisis.
13. Leadership? Leading us straight to hell, maybe
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany: “President Trump is committed to a data-driven approach to safely reopening the country. His steadfast leadership has saved American lives, and the American people recognize his leadership.”
Fact: Trump’s lack of leadership, Kayleigh, has contributed to more than 80,000 Americans dying from COVID-19 in just three months. Most Americans with their eyes open and their hearts aching for the families and friends of those who died — in part because your boss played politics with the deadly disease from the start — recognize him as an inept, incompetent, heartless, and self-centered failure as a leader. They don’t buy his — or your — snake oil. Never have. Never will.
14. If you can’t take the heat . . .
‘Moscow Mitch’ McConnell: “Obama should have kept his mouth shut (and not criticized Trump).
Fact: Well, Mitch, maybe your boss in the White House should have kept his mouth shut about Obama. Ya’ think? If he hits someone he should expect to be hit back, especially someone who did more for our country than your boss can even imagine. If he can’t take the heat — and clearly he can’t — he should leave Washington soonest.
15. Appalling disregard for the dead
Trump (according to an aide): “He was saying, ‘This is so unfair to me! Everything was going great. We were cruising to re-election!”
Fact: Trump: How do you think the families of the 100,000 Americans who have died feel today? Have you no shame? Are you so heartless, so self-absorbed that you can only think about this disease being unfair to you? You’re still alive. Tens of thousands of our fellow citizens are dead. Please stop your thoughtless, self-serving rants.
16. Facing 4th and 25, Drew Brees throws a touchdown pass
Trump: “I am a big fan of Drew Brees. I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high. . . .”
Fact: Drew Brees finally understood that he made a mistake and took it back. He still honors and respects the American flag, and he, unlike you, Donald, understands that it represents all Americans. Drew Brees understands, particularly, what the symbol of the flag means with regard to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Try understanding better what our country is about, Donald, before you try to divide the people who live and work in it every day to secure a good life for themselves, their families and the communities in which they live. Together we stand, divided we fall. Most, if not all Americans, will vote for “together.” You can stand alongside your enablers for “divided.” ‘Nuff said.