• Three False Claims Muddying the Impeachment Debate

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Even though public hearings on the impeachment of President Donald Trump have just begun, the subject has already become encrusted with legends and myths on all sides. In a polarized country, each side has its own talking points - and isn’t paying enough attention to the other side to know when those points are based on errors. So far, three stand out.Take White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s famous remark that Trump’s critics should “get over it.” This was widely taken to be a brazen statement that it was fine for Trump to use foreign policy to seek to harm his political opponents. But that’s not what Mulvaney was saying. Nor was CNN accurate in reporting, “Mulvaney confirmed the existence of a quid pro quo and offered this retort: ‘Get over it.’”Mulvaney’s press conference was on Oct. 17. He mentioned news accounts about the previous day’s testimony from a former State Department adviser, Michael McKinley. Those reports said that McKinley had quit because he was, as the Associated Press put it, “disturbed by the politicization of foreign policy.” If you check out the transcript, you can see that Mulvaney was saying that of course politics affects foreign policy. He mentions McKinley and says: “Get over it. There’s going to be political influence on foreign policy.” Practically in the next breath, he says, “foreign policy is going to change from the Obama administration to the Trump administration.” He then faults some career government employees for seeking to prevent this.At least one reporter understood this context, because the next question for Mulvaney drew a distinction: Political influence over foreign policy is one thing, the reporter said, but is it OK for the president to try to pressure a foreign government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden? Mulvaney then stoutly denied that Trump did any such thing, maintaining that the administration’s holding aid to Ukraine “had absolutely nothing to do with Biden.” Like a lot of what Mulvaney said at that press conference, that statement is dubious. But he didn’t admit to using foreign policy for partisan ends and then tell people to get over it.Trump supporters have myths of their own. One is the claim that in September, Representative Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who heads the House Intelligence Committee, tried to pass off a phony version of what the president told Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy in their July 25 phone call as the actual words of the conversation. Trump accused Schiff of fraud and mused about charging him with treason: “He was supposedly reading the exact transcribed version of the call, but he completely changed the words to make it sound horrible.” House Republicans tried to censure Schiff for it, and other Trump supporters keep claiming that Schiff lied. What Schiff actually did was provide a paraphrase of Trump’s remarks, and he was completely open about it. He described how Zelenskiy opened the call and then said, “Shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the president communicates.” Then he gave his version of the gist of Trump’s comments. After finishing, he says, “This is in sum and character what the president was trying to communicate with the president of Ukraine.” Anyone who listened to that and thought Schiff was directly quoting Trump should quit trying to follow the impeachment debate.Republicans have gotten agitated over another distorted comment recently. They say that Mark Zaid, the lawyer for the Ukraine “whistle-blower,” called for a “coup” against Trump soon after he took office. The background to this was a tweet of Zaid’s in January 2017, reacting to Trump’s dismissal of the acting attorney general, Sally Yates. Although Zaid has muddied the waters in trying to defend himself, he appears to have been saying that it was Trump who was starting to perpetrate a coup. It was a dumb tweet: Trump was well within his rights to fire Yates, who had refused to defend his travel ban. But it doesn’t support the Republican case that Ukrainegate is an undemocratic plot by Trump’s enemies.All of these mangled and misunderstood remarks are, in a sense, peripheral to the main debate. Whether Trump should be removed from office shouldn’t turn on a three-year-old tweet from one government employee’s lawyer. Each of these exaggerated stories is, however, helping to create an atmosphere in the minds of fans and foes of the president. Each side can not only interpret events in keeping with its favored narrative - Trump’s corruption or deep-state plotting - but also tell itself that the other side secretly knows it’s wrong.People who are following the impeachment hearings and trying to make up their minds should read and listen to both sides, carefully. It’s not just that each side is trying to spin the facts. It’s that each side is spinning itself.To contact the author of this story: Ramesh Ponnuru at rponnuru@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Ramesh Ponnuru is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a senior editor at National Review, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and contributor to CBS News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Last remains of Ethiopian plane crash victims buried, families say little notice given

    ADDIS ABABA/CHICAGO (Reuters) - The last remains of 157 people killed aboard an Ethiopian Airlines plane in March were interred at the crash site this week, farmers and families told Reuters, but some relatives were upset they had been unable to take part in the ceremony. Nadia Milleron, whose daughter Samya Stumo was killed, said an email was sent to some families -- but not all -- notifying them of the burial just two days before it happened. Ethiopian Airlines did not return calls seeking comment about why some families were not told in advance.

  • Penultimate C7 Corvette Being Enshrined At National Corvette Museum

    While the last C7 will be in a private collection, this '19 Corvette Stingray will be on display for all to see.The final C7 Corvette rolled off the assembly line on November 14th at around 3:10 pm CT marking the end of the line for the front-engine Corvette before production begins for the all-new, mid-engine C8 'Vette. The final Corvette - a black Z06 - was auctioned off earlier in the year for $2.6 million to a software company CEO, but the second to last Corvette isn't going far. This car will be delivered at and then donated to the National Corvette Museum, which is right across the street from the Corvette's assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.This penultimate C7 was purchased by the NCM's lifetime member and supporter, Ivan Schrodt, who will take delivery of the car on November 20th via Chevy's museum delivery program. Immediately afterward, he will hand the keys over to the museum where this Corvette will be enshrined among all of the other important and significant Corvettes on display. This Corvette will be a permanent fixture at the museum, and it is a fitting send off for the C7 Corvette ahead of the highly anticipated launch of the C8.As for the second to last Corvette, it is painted in Arctic White with a Jet Black and Adrenaline Red interior. This car came in the mid-level 2LT trim level with the upgraded Z51 performance suspension, and it was also equipped with Carbon Fiber and Painted Body Color removable roofs, Carbon Flash exterior trim accents, chrome emblems, red calipers, personalized plate package, brake package, performance exhaust and chrome aluminum wheels. All in, this well-equipped Corvette had a sticker price of just over $70,000, making it quite an impressive donation to the museum.This donation ceremony will take place at the National Corvette Museum on November 20th starting at 2:00 p.m. CT, and the museum has invited the public to attend. More C7 News... * Last C7 Sells For $2.7 Million At Barrett-Jackson Auction * C7 Grand Finale: 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

  • Boeing settles several more lawsuits over Max plane crashes

    Boeing is settling a few more of the roughly 150 lawsuits filed by families of passengers killed in two crashes of the 737 Max jet. A Seattle law firm said Friday it settled four of the 46 cases it’s handling for families of passengers who were on board a Lion Air Max that crashed off the coast of Indonesia in October 2018. A Boeing spokesman said the company has settled “dozens” of claims.

  • Jayme Closs’s kidnapper gets in fight at New Mexico prison, video shows

    Raw video: Video shows a 20-second fight between the man who kidnapped Jayme Closs and killed her parents.