To the editor:

“… (W)ell, it reads like a classic organized crime shakedown. In essence, what President Trump communicates is this: ‘We’ve been very good to your country. Very good. No other country has done as much as we have. But you know what? I don’t see much reciprocity here. You know what I mean? I hear what you want. I have a favor I want from you, though. And I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of dirt, on this and on that. I am going to put you in touch with people, and not just any people. I’m going to put you in touch with the attorney general of the United States, my attorney general, Bill Barr. … Trust me. You know what I am asking. … And don’t call me again. I’ll call you when you’ve done what I asked’”

This is central thesis of the opening statement of Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic congressman from California and chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

It was a parody of “The Godfather.” It was ad-libbed. It was intended to deter from the realities of a phone conversation between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

When I heard it, I was stuck in traffic. I was angry. I already am a certified non-Trump supporter, but this broke the proverbial camel’s back.

I couldn’t wait to go home. I wanted to see this with my own eyes by reading the release of the unclassified transcript of the phone conversation.

And finally when I did, I was dejected again. Or, rather, I was utterly stunned.

The parody was blatantly false. And then I realized that I was duped by the “honorable” Chairman Schiff. He had pulled a fast one on me and then it sunk in — on millions of Americans.

I read the transcript three times. I was hoping to find the emergence of this parody to be based in a horrible truth. But I couldn’t find it.

The transcript is written in very plain language in three pages. The exchange between the two men was extraordinarily cordial and friendly both at the open and the close.

Trump did seek assistance with the Department of Justice’s probe into the 2016 election meddling by Ukraine. On the phone call, Trump also suggested that Ukrainian officials expand their ongoing investigations (a promise of this newly elected Ukrainian president) into questionable dealings between a Ukranian energy company and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

But, at every pass of my reading, there was no veiled threat, no demand and no request to terminate contact between the two men and deal only with Trump’s underlings to fulfill his dark urges.

The framers of the Constitution formulated brilliant guidelines for us to root out and extract corrupt presidents from power. But there was an abundance of caution that the process should never become a mechanism for political expediency.

Schiff’s blind ambition to further political objectives completely negates the legitimacy of any impeachment process.

He has violated the public trust with an opening statement based on theatrics. He has apologized for his criticized transgressions, but he knew what he was doing.

I am sure millions of Americans mad as I was that day did not rush home to print and read the transcript. The damage is done.

And in doing so, Schiff has led this nation to fail in an historic opportunity to truly address grave concerns about this president.

Joe D’Amore

Groveland

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