Vo­lu­mi­nous, his­toric news keeps rolling out

Antelope Valley Press - - OPINION -

The mid­week news pro­vided a col­or­ful cor­nu­copia of in­for­ma­tion about Amer­ica and the ma­trix of our democ­racy, of­fer­ing nu­mer­ous front-page civics lessons.

On Tues­day evening, in mid-na­tion Des Moines, Iowa, six ag­gres­sive Demo­crat can­di­dates sharp­ened their words in the long-range reach to try to cap­ture the pres­i­dency of the United States.

This was the last de­bate be­fore the Iowa cau­cuses set for Feb. 3. As lined up, left to right, on stage and tele­vised around the world, the can­di­dates par­tic­i­pat­ing were Tom Steyer, El­iz­a­beth War­ren, Joe Bi­den, Bernie San­ders, Pete But­tigieg and Amy Klobuchar.

The pre-de­bate pub­lic­ity of­fered what was thought to be a rous­ing push and shove be­tween War­ren and San­ders.

Ex­pec­ta­tions were high for a show­down be­tween the two, fol­low­ing a report that San­ders told War­ren in a 2018 pri­vate meet­ing, that a woman couldn’t be elected pres­i­dent. San­ders de­nied say­ing the re­mark. War­ren dis­agreed with his char­ac­ter­i­za­tion but de­clined to nee­dle him on­stage. The con­tro­versy sim­ply ran out of steam in Iowa.

The de­bate speeches were filled with multi-bil­lion dol­lar fig­ures about can­di­dates’ na­tional pro­pos­als, while ar­gu­ments about for­eign pol­icy, pri­mar­ily on troops in the Mid­dle East, played in the back­ground.

A split emerged on trade and the new U.S-Mex­ico-Canada Agree­ment ne­go­ti­ated by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Steyer, a new­comer to the de­bate stage, pri­mar­ily fo­cused on his main talk­ing point: the climate cri­sis. Bi­den said he would leave “small num­bers” of troops in the Mid­dle East to deal with the Is­lamic State. War­ren urged that the U.S. should push for a draw­down, say­ing, “We need to get our com­bat troops out.”

But­tigieg, 37, em­pha­sized his time spent in the mil­i­tary.

Klobuchar said she wasn’t in the Se­nate for the vote au­tho­riz­ing the war in Iraq, but she added that she “op­posed that war from the very be­gin­ning.”

On Wed­nes­day morn­ing, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was able to pass a res­o­lu­tion nam­ing the im­peach­ment man­agers for the trial of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and trans­mit­ting per­ti­nent doc­u­ments for the his­toric event, soon ex­pected to be un­der way in the Se­nate.

The man­agers are House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee Chair­man Adam Schiff, House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee Chair­man Jer­rold Nadler, Ha­keem Jef­fries, Ja­son Crow, Val Dem­ings, Sylvia Gar­cia and Zoe Lof­gren.

A cache of new doc­u­ments ob­tained from Lev Par­nas, a close as­so­ciate of Pres­i­dent Trump’s per­sonal lawyer Rudy Gi­u­liani, in­cluded a hand­writ­ten note that men­tions ask­ing Ukraine’s pres­i­dent to in­ves­ti­gate “The Bi­den case.”

The pa­pers were ob­tained as part of the im­peach­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the pres­i­dent. They show Par­nas com­mu­ni­cat­ing with Gi­u­liani and another at­tor­ney be­fore the re­moval of Marie Yo­vanovitch, who was the U.S. am­bas­sador to Ukraine.

A man named Robert F. Hyde dis­par­aged Yo­vanovitch in mes­sages to Par­nas and gave him up­dates on her lo­ca­tion and mo­bile phone use, rais­ing ques­tions about pos­si­ble sur­veil­lance.

Democrats re­leased the files on Tues­day, as they pre­pared to send ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment to the Se­nate for Trump’s trial. The doc­u­ments add new con­text to their charges that Trump pres­sured Ukraine to in­ves­ti­gate Democrats as he with­held mil­i­tary aid.

Par­nas was in fre­quent com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Gi­u­liani and with Ukrainian of­fi­cials, the mes­sages show. He ap­peared to be push­ing un­sub­stan­ti­ated al­le­ga­tions that Demo­crat Joe Bi­den and his son, Hunter Bi­den, were some­how en­gaged in cor­rup­tion in Ukraine.

In the let­ter, Gi­u­liani re­quests a meet­ing with Ukraine Pres­i­dent Ze­len­skyy “as a per­sonal coun­sel to Pres­i­dent Trump and with his knowl­edge and con­sent.”

Trump asked Ze­len­skyy in a July call to in­ves­ti­gate Bi­den — his po­lit­i­cal ri­val — and his son Hunter. Hunter Bi­den served on the board of a gas com­pany based in Ukraine.

The Washington news foun­tain is over­flow­ing and there will be more re­leased in fu­ture days.

The abun­dance of Washington D.C. news re­ports in mid-Jan­uary is stag­ger­ing and there’s more to come.

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