David Cameron’s former policy guru STEVE HILTON says he is backing Donald Trump against his establishment accusers as the US President’s impeachment trial begins
Last October, as the US House of Representatives was in the early stages of its bid to impeach President Donald Trump, a young man who is a regular viewer of my Fox News TV show The Next Revolution came up to me at Newark airport and asked a question that has stayed with me ever since.
‘Are they going to impeach us?’ Not ‘the President’. Or ‘Trump’. But ‘us’. Are they going to impeach us?
Like so many Trump supporters, he understood that what happened in 2016 was a massive rebuke to the establishment that had held power in the US for decades, regardless of who won actual elections.
Let’s be clear: the reason that President Trump is being impeached is that he had the effrontery to win an election that the establishment thought was theirs. They really are impeaching Trump voters as much as they’re impeaching the President himself
Democrat or Republican, it felt to most working Americans that it made very little difference.
You got the same policies (economic globalisation, uncontrolled immigration, government centralisation) and the same results: boom times for the centres of the new ‘knowledge economy’ – places like Silicon Valley, New York and Los Angeles; a slow collapse in America’s ‘heartland’ with jobs disappearing, wages stagnating and communities dying.
Literally dying, by the way, as an unprecedented opioid epidemic – pushed by pharmaceutical companies that use settlements as bribes and exacerbated by lax border controls that allowed drugs like fentanyl to pour into the country from China via Mexico – killed Americans at a greater rate than the Vietnam War.
By voting for Trump – much like voting for Brexit a few months before – people who had been ignored and let down were demanding to be listened to and lifted up. And the elites hated it.
Steve Hilton, former Director of Strategy at No10, is pictured above with former Prime Minister David Cameron. Trump will be acquitted and will emerge strengthened from the whole episode, bolstered by indisputable evidence of a successful presidency
In Britain, of course, they tried every trick in the book to overturn the Brexit vote, even resorting to the disgusting ploy of calculating the rate at which Brexit voters needed to ‘die off’ to make sure a second referendum delivered a Remain result.
Those who voted to leave the EU, in the condescending eyes of the arrogant and affluent metropolitan establishment, were old, stupid and racist – exactly how their elite counterparts in America viewed the voters backing Donald Trump. In a word: deplorable.
That, of course, was exactly the word Hillary Clinton used to describe Trump supporters two months before the 2016 presidential election.
And it was the moment I became certain she would lose. No one who has such haughty contempt for their fellow citizens will be elected to lead them.
And yet neither she, nor the Democrats, nor the political, media, tech and business establishment in their comfortable bastions on the East and West coasts seem to have learned anything from Hillary’s ‘deplorables’ disaster.
Instead of asking how someone like Trump – in their view so spectacularly disqualified for the presidency with his simplistic promises like ‘build the wall’ and ‘drain the swamp’, and his vulgar personal style (even including boasts of sexual impropriety) – could possibly have defeated a candidate who was the embodiment of all that the ‘woke’ ruling class held dear, they simply ignored the result and set about overturning it.
By voting for Trump – much like voting for Brexit a few months before – people who had been ignored and let down were demanding to be listened to and lifted up. And the elites hated it
First, it was the claim that Trump didn’t ‘really’ win because Hillary won the popular vote – regardless of the fact that such a claim is unconstitutional.
The US Constitution specifies that a finely balanced Electoral College determines the presidential winner, in order to avoid dominance by the most populous states.
An attempt to mobilise so-called ‘faithless electors’ – those who don’t vote for the presidential candidate for whom they have pledged to vote – to oppose Trump in the Electoral College went nowhere, and so the establishment moved on to their next gambit: branding Trump an ‘illegitimate’ President because ‘the Russians’ swung the result in his favour.
It started with the Clinton campaign paying a former British spy, Christopher Steele, to produce a dossier of claims about Trump’s ties to the Russians – regarded by Trump supporters as fabricated, but defended by Steele as based on accurate raw intelligence.
This was leaked to the press before the election, and used by Clinton allies in the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign – an unprecedented breach of democratic norms.
After these misinformation efforts failed to stop Trump being elected, the establishment set about trying to remove him from office through impeachment.
Anyone who doubts this was the intention from the get-go simply needs to read a headline in the Washington Post: ‘The campaign to impeach President Trump has begun.’
The date of that story? January 20, 2017, literally the day Trump was inaugurated as President.
Those who voted to leave the EU, in the condescending eyes of the arrogant and affluent metropolitan establishment, were old, stupid and racist – exactly how their elite counterparts in America viewed the voters backing Donald Trump. In a word: deplorable
Within months, there were demands for the President’s impeachment on the floor of the House of Representatives, and a full-blown effort to derail and curtail his administration through a seemingly endless series of investigations into alleged collusion with Russia.
But four separate investigations – by the FBI, the House Intelligence Committee, the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee and then the big one, the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller which dragged on for years – all came up empty-handed.
The wind finally seemed to have come out of the establishment’s sails on July 24 last year, with Robert Mueller’s own testimony to Congress. His lame, halting performance led most observers to conclude that the prospects for impeachment were dead.
But they never give up!
Days after the collapse of the ‘Russia-gate’ conspiracy theory, by an astonishing coincidence up pops a civil service ‘whistleblower’ (who turned out to have been an adviser to Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden) with wild allegations of President Trump behaving inappropriately with a foreign leader.
And that, of course, led us to the moment we have reached today – President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate.
They tried to get him over the Electoral College. They tried to get him over Russia. They tried to get him over his hotels, his tax returns, his affair with a porn star.
Wherever you look in this impeachment case, you find the Democrats guilty of the same things they accuse Trump of. And that’s the story of the last few, crazy years in American politics. They accuse Trump of undermining democracy and the rule of law – yet they’re the ones trying to overturn an election. The Senate floor is pictured above
Now they’re trying to get him over Ukraine. No wonder that young Trump supporter said to me: ‘Are they going to impeach us?’
Let’s be clear: the reason that President Trump is being impeached is that he had the effrontery to win an election that the establishment thought was theirs. They really are impeaching Trump voters as much as they’re impeaching the President himself.
That’s why this impeachment – despite what may be reported in the fanatically anti-Trump media – is, unlike all previous instances, turning out to be a totally partisan affair, with half the country supporting the President’s removal from office and the other half solidly and passionately behind him.
For months, Americans have been subjected to the most inflamed and overwrought presentation of the arguments over Ukraine, the latest pretext for impeachment. And it has had barely any impact on public opinion. If anything it has moved in Trump’s favour.
The core allegation is that following a July phone call with the president of Ukraine, Trump temporarily halted military aid to Ukraine as leverage in an attempt to persuade him to announce an investigation into alleged corruption by Joe Biden, in the running to face Trump as the Democrats’ presidential candidate this November.
The broad facts of the case are not in dispute. The White House published the phone call at issue.
The testimony of numerous insiders confirms that there was indeed a concerted effort to pressure Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden’s own Ukraine ties.
The question is: does any of it rise to the level of ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors’ specified in the US Constitution as the test for taking the most serious possible step in a democracy: overturning an election and removing a President from office against their will.
And even if it does, should this drastic remedy be applied in an election year when the voters themselves have the chance to render a verdict on President Trump’s behaviour and kick him out if they so choose – in a matter of months.
The Democrats have failed to make that case. They say that Trump endangered national security by temporarily holding up military aid to Ukraine. But when Barack Obama was President, that same military aid was permanently blocked.
It was Trump who actually reversed that decision and sent the Ukrainians weapons they could use in their fight with Russia.
They say Trump tried to get a foreign government to ‘interfere’ in an American election by getting ‘dirt’ on his opponent.
But isn’t that precisely what Hillary Clinton did with the infamous ‘Steele Dossier’ full of anti-Trump propaganda allegedly provided by the Russians?
They accuse Trump of harnessing foreign policy for his own political benefit. But since when has any politician not factored domestic political concerns into their dealings with other countries?
President Obama famously asked then Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev to get Vladimir Putin to do him a favour over arms control, to help with Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Does anyone recall Republicans trying to impeach him over that?
They call him the most corrupt President in history – and ignore the corruption that prompted the whole Ukraine fiasco in the first place: the fact that when Joe Biden was put in charge of Ukraine policy by Obama, his son Hunter was on the board of Ukraine’s largest natural gas company, paid to the tune of millions of dollars
Today, the Democrats claim that Trump should be removed from office because he withheld information from Congress.
But in the American system of checks and balances, the different branches of government are constantly haggling about what information to hand over. That’s why there’s an independent judicial branch to adjudicate.
In the past week, the Democrats, backed by their allies in the media, have touted a new finding by the Government Accountability Office that President Trump broke the law by putting a hold on Ukraine aid.
But even if you accept their legal reasoning – and many legal scholars don’t – the same outfit found Obama guilty of breaking the law seven times. No one back then was even contemplating impeaching Obama.
Wherever you look in this impeachment case, you find the Democrats guilty of the same things they accuse Trump of. And that’s the story of the last few, crazy years in American politics.
They accuse Trump of undermining democracy and the rule of law – yet they’re the ones trying to overturn an election.
They go on and on about Trump being a threat to the freedom of the press – yet they’re the ones who try to shut down any opinion they disagree with. (Meanwhile, Trump receives the most sustained hostile media onslaught anyone can remember.)
They call him the most corrupt President in history – and ignore the corruption that prompted the whole Ukraine fiasco in the first place: the fact that when Joe Biden was put in charge of Ukraine policy by Obama, his son Hunter was on the board of Ukraine’s largest natural gas company, paid to the tune of millions of dollars.
The Bidens insist everything was above board. The Democrats’ hypocrisy is quite something, even for politicians, and their blatantly politicised impeachment farce is going nowhere.
Trump will be acquitted and will emerge strengthened from the whole episode, bolstered by indisputable evidence of a successful presidency.
Unemployment is the lowest in 50 years, and the lowest in history for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and women. Earnings are rising for everyone, but fastest for the lowest paid, reversing decades of stagnation.
A historic reform of the criminal justice system is reversing the excesses of the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ crime regime, releasing huge numbers – especially black men – who were unfairly locked up for minor offences.
Illegal immigration is being brought under control, the US military is being built up, China is finally being confronted, conservative judges are being appointed: in every area, Trump is delivering on his election promises and demonstrating that a combination of traditional conservative ideas and new, more populist ones is producing real, positive results that no reasonable person can dismiss.
In the face of all this, Americans can see the true reason for the sorry spectacle of impeachment: the Democrats’ rage that Trump won in 2016 and their fear that none of their presidential candidates is strong enough to beat him in 2020.