To the editor:

Uncharacteristically, I am compelled to respond to Mr. Workman's comments regarding my letter of Oct. 25 regarding the continuing spectacle of the "impeachment inquiry."

Let me begin with the matter of whether there was a "quid pro quo" element to the conversation between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelenskiy. Mr. Workman offers that we have now heard a "tidal wave of testimony and evidence" that President Trump did indeed express a conditional connection between the receipt of expected aid and certain actions by the Ukrainian government. So let us for a moment stipulate that the exchange did, in fact, communicate a "quid pro quo" between the two heads of state. Accepting such a characterization, I then say, "so what?"

Mr. Workman justifies the clear, harsh expression of a "quid pro quo" by then Vice President Biden in March 2016, saying that action was at the direction of President Obama. I fail to see the distinction between Biden's acting on behalf of President Obama, and Trump's acting as president. The difference to me is that Biden did not merely imply promised aid would be held up until the Ukrainian President Poroshenko fired the lead prosecutor investigating corruption in government dealings; he declared that they would not get that aid at all unless the action demanded was accomplished in the next six hours!

The Democrats and the "mainstream media" focus their accusation and outrage on the claim that President Trump was withholding promised aid to the Ukraine until President Zelenskiy agreed to investigate possible corrupt dealings between the government and the energy company that has Joe Biden's son on the board of directors. The transcript of the conversation, however, reveals only a passing mention of Joe Biden, that company, and his son, Hunter. The bulk of the discussion was probing for assurance that Zelenskiy, would indeed follow through on his campaign as a reform candidate who won election on commitments to investigate longstanding corruption that has plagued Ukraine. Before the release of yet another round of aid to Ukraine, President Trump sought some credible affirmation that Zelenskiy would pursue exposure of the chronic corruption Ukraine had been suffering, a legitimate concern about who and what kind of government to which these funds would give support.

An effort was underway into 2016 to investigate and expose such corruption, led by the prosecutor that Biden demanded President Poroshenko fire, in a brash "quid pro quo." The narrative of Biden's defenders is that the prosecutor was not accomplishing the task as the Obama administration desired. I am not sure what exactly was desired that was not being done -- or perhaps what was feared to be uncovered -- but indications we have now point to corrupt and secretive dealings, in that time frame and later, to "find dirt" on then candidate Trump. Certainly the previous administration did not want that to be exposed then, and the Democrats do not want that history to come to light now.

We are witnessing, under the guise of "impeachment inquiry" -- with its disregard of due process, and the traditions and rule of law -- an extensive work of political arson to distract or deny attention to the legitimate investigation into how the whole "Trump-Russia collusion" investigation was originated and fueled, ending after more than two years, a special prosecutor, and millions of dollars, this investigation produced no shred of evidence of such activity. Russian interference was found, but none of it in any way connected with candidate Trump or his campaign.

Having executed a protracted withering investigation, initiated with no credible justification, and conducted outside accepted standards and protocols, the Democrats are desperate to avoid legitimate inquiry into the proceedings surrounding this failed exhaustive pursuit of somehow removing from office the duly elected leader of our country. There already exists in the record enough information that support "probable cause" for investigation, subpoenas, etc. The term that comes to mind is prosecutorial misconduct for openers, and potential criminal conduct in the wings.

On a final note, researching the whole statutory background of "whistleblower protection," as there has been so much noise about protecting the identity of the whistleblower, etc., we find that what the law provides is protection from retaliation, not from identity being known. The "whistleblower" identity is obviously known to someone, perhaps many, except for the one accused -- which stands against the right to face one's accuser. The whole flap about "protecting the identity of the whistleblower" is a falsehood, attempting to further impugn the president and his defenders for having even sought to know that identity, as though they were violating decency and order.

Franklin Stevenson

Madisonville

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