Dan Crenshaw wasn’t giving an inch.
The combat veteran-turned-Texas congressman took to CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” on Monday to tangle with liberal host Chris Cuomo over the Democrats’ impeachment case against President Donald Trump.
And while the encounter wasn’t a slam-dunk win, Crenshaw did expose a fundamental weakness in the anti-Trump argument.
The accusation that Trump’s behavior during his now-infamous phone conversation with the president of Ukraine in July constituted an impeachable offense depends on the idea that there’s something wrong with asking another country to investigate wrongdoing simply because it might have an impact on American politics.
Trying to equate foreign policy to domestic campaign finance laws is a “stretch,” Crenshaw said.
Check out his remarks here:
Cuomo kicked off the conversation by asking Crenshaw if he could agree there was something “wrong” with Trump’s request that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky support an investigation into a company that, as the world now knows, was paying former Vice President Joe Biden’s son an obscene amount of money for reasons that still aren’t clear (other than the fact that his father was the vice president of the United States, of course).
“I’m not sure I agree with the premise that he’s done something wrong,” Crenshaw said.
“I understand that there’s a theory about wrongdoing, but the facts do not back that up.”
The case of Hunter Biden’s connection to the Ukraine energy company Burisma Holdings was a matter of American “public interest,” Crenshaw said, because “our former vice president had a clear conflict of interest with his son being a board member of a company that was being prosecuted by somebody that the vice president was trying to get fired.”
“So there’s a clear conflict of interest, whether it’s illegal or not is up for a different debate,” he added. “But it’s an obvious conflict of interest.”
Cuomo, of course, wasn’t buying that.
Trump “went after Biden because he thought it would be good for him,” Cuomo said.
But Crenshaw hit back on that.
“If something turns out good for the president, I guess, as you would put it, ‘politically,’ but it’s also in the public interest, then what’s the right answer?” he said.
That’s when Cuomo turned to campaign finance laws, claiming that “if you have multiple points of interest in something, and one of them helps you in the election, you’ve got trouble.”
And that’s when Crenshaw made the point that mattered.
“Now you’re trying to make this a campaign finance law thing, and that’s a stretch,” he said.
“That’s an enormous — it’s really difficult to make that kind of political leap.”
On social media, viewers picked up Crenshaw’s argument.
— Scott Morefield (@SKMorefield) October 29, 2019
Watch Dan Crenshaw’s interview w/ Cuomo for how to fight. There’s no underlying crime & no evidence Trump acted solely in his personal interest. There’s a public interest component to the investigations & unless evidence turns up irrefutably showing otherwise no abuse of power
— mick j (@mfjak) October 29, 2019
the biggest joke if this was when Cuomo said he was a journalist. Please if you were you would report facts not fictions reality not fiction. Crenshaw is a beast. Hopefully he will be running in 2024 or maybe get picked as VP for 2020
— Rene Rivera (@nyrrj000) October 29, 2019
The main problem with the Cuomo “campaign finance” argument is that it defies logic.
Campaign finance is not foreign policy: There’s hardly a presidential decision to be made that could not affect an incumbent president’s ability to be re-elected.
For Democratic politicians — or liberals like Cuomo — to argue that Trump’s dealings with Ukraine are grounds for impeachment is to deny the basic realities that Biden’s son Hunter had a lucrative sweetheart job with a Ukrainian energy company, and that Biden himself had bragged on video about being responsible for the firing of a prosecutor who had investigated that company.
To Democrats, the focus is solely on whether an investigation into the Bidens could result in helping Trump.
And, if Cuomo’s any indication, they’re apparently willing to make the argument that the realities of what happened in Ukraine are irrelevant, and that the only question is whether Trump’s action could redound to his benefit.
That kind of willful blindness is something Democrats are familiar with (after years carrying water for the Clintons), and they have no problem getting it from their own partisans and their acolytes in the establishment media like Cuomo (who still fashions himself as a “journalist”).
But it’s a much harder case for them to make to the American public, who can see reality for what it is (and for whom Hunter Biden’s salary of $50,000 a month for a side job is wealth beyond imagining).
And when Republicans like Dan Crenshaw don’t give them an inch — Democrats don’t have a chance.
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