Convoluted web

Regarding Jerry Lenamon’s Sunday letter: I don’t know where he got his information when he said the favor requested by Trump of Ukrainian President Zelensky didn’t include investigating the Bidens. I got mine from the horse’s mouth: With my own eyes and ears, I saw and heard Trump on the White House lawn say, “Yes, I asked him to investigate the Bidens.” Plus I read the transcript of the phone call where he asked for the favor before he would release the military aid that he had held up for months.

Mr. Lenamon should get his facts straight. So many Republicans just can’t believe this man is a crook. It is against the Constitution to ask a foreign agency to interfere in our elections — and that’s exactly why he’s being impeached.

B.J. Hall, Waco

EDITOR’S NOTE: OK. According to a rough White House transcript, when President Trump asks President Zelensky for a “favor,” he cites Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity company employed by Democrats to determine who hacked into Democratic National Committee servers in the 2016 presidential campaign (and the meddling source proved Russian in origin, not Ukrainian). In this narrow sense, Mr. Lenamon is correct. However, in the president’s broader discussion of corruption, you’re right: The only individuals Trump cites are the Bidens, including Joe Biden, Trump’s possible political rival in 2020: “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that [Vice President] Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General [William Barr] would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it ... It sounds horrible to me.” Putting aside constitutional and legal questions, the situation is admittedly convoluted.

Good journalism

Once again Chris Wallace of Fox News illustrated how good journalism can be devoid of political bias. On Sunday, he interviewed acting chief of staff Nick Mulvaney, using Mulvaney’s own words to show how he admitted to a quid pro quo — documenting that Mulvaney did indeed say that congressionally appropriated money was withheld from Ukraine pending Ukraine’s investigation of the Bidens as well as a debunked conspiracy theory about the Democratic National Committee server in 2016. No matter how much Mulvaney wiggled, Wallace held him accountable for his words and exposed the truth.

Wallace’s questioning of Mulvaney is reminiscent of his interview several weeks ago of Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser for Donald Trump, on the president’s conversation with the Ukraine leader, the whistleblower complaint (which Trump’s hand-selected Inspector General Michael Atkinson found “credible” and an “urgent concern”) and allegations of a cover-up. Despite fair and straightforward questions, Wallace allowed Miller’s words to speak for themselves, revealing how he refused to answer, evaded the issue, obfuscated and repeated his talking points.

To be sure, Wallace’s interviews were not simply “gotcha” moments. They exemplify the truth-seeking purpose of journalism, a purpose that can be fulfilled independent of political bias.

Richard Cherwitz, Ernest A. Sharpe Centennial Professor Emeritus, Moody College of Communication, University of Texas

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