As the impeachment hearings kick off, Democrats put on a jarring display of rhetorical whiplash, saying one thing this time but something remarkably different the next. Politicians are often inconsistent, but this is ridiculous.
In late September, the whistleblower was called essential. For having jump-started the process, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, thanked him for having done “a cardinal service to the country by exposing wrongdoing of the most serious kind.” Speaker Nancy Pelosi also praised the whistleblower for “disclosing to Congress a serious possible breach of constitutional duties by the president.”
That was then. Now that House Democrats have voted to proceed with impeachment and Mr. Schiff was appointed the lower chamber’s judge, jury and executioner, the whistleblower is suddenly unimportant. Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin calls him a “hero,” but argues he’s “no longer integral to the investigation.” Mr. Schiff announced he’ll block any attempt to compel the whistleblower’s testimony, saying keeping his identity secret is “our primary interest”—more important than hearing how he holds up under questioning.
Mrs. Pelosi frequently says that “no one is above the law.” She’s right. But no American should be treated as beneath the law’s protections, either. That’s what Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Schiff are doing to President Trump by refusing him one of our country’s most fundamental principles of jurisprudence, namely the right of the accused to cross-examine his accuser.
Americans deserve to see the whistleblower appear in the hearings he sparked, so that the people can judge for themselves his credibility and motivations. Or is the Senate expected to remove the president from office after a process put into high gear by an anonymous accuser who might have been coached by Mr. Schiff before launching his complaint?
Then there are the Democrats who proclaim a newfound enthusiasm for defending Ukraine. Former Rep. Donna Edwards of Maryland was on “Fox News Sunday” decrying “a president of the United States who withheld aid from an ally who was on the front lines against our chief adversary.” New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney pinpointed “the president’s withholding of military aid to Ukraine” as the central “subject of the impeachment inquiry.”
Where were Democrats when President Obama denied lethal military assistance to Ukraine in 2014, as Vladimir Putin’s forces threatened its existence? Some of the nonlethal aid Mr. Obama authorized was dropped off in Poland and transported into Ukraine by makeshift convoys of civilian vehicles because the White House didn’t want to offend the Russians by having American C-130s land in Kyiv. Maybe this newfound Democratic support for Ukraine is driven less by conviction than by hatred of Donald Trump. Under this president, Ukraine has received Javelin antitank missiles and other weapons it needs to protect itself.