The fear of Pres­ident Donald Trump’s re-election is too much for the Democrats to handle. Rep. Adam Schiff, D‑Calif., and his party are clinging to their last-ditch effort with this impeachment hearing, despite any direct evi­dence of a high crime or mis­de­meanor.

Schiff’s star wit­nesses proved to have no firsthand knowledge of col­lusion, and instead spent their time spec­u­lating and com­plaining about the Trump admin­is­tration.

The impeachment hearings began on Nov. 13, with Schiff’s first two wit­nesses: William Taylor, the acting ambas­sador to Ukraine, and George Kent, a deputy assistant sec­retary of state. Both dis­cussed what they heard between the chatter of other diplomats and offi­cials, yet neither were present for the July 25 phone call.

The tes­ti­monies sounded a lot like a child’s game of tele­phone. The Wash­ington Post ran an article that said, “Kent didn’t hear this directly from Trump, but rather from other offi­cials who talked to people who talked to Trump.”

On the second day of the hearing, former U.S. Ambas­sador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, spent her time dis­cussing how she was fired by Trump. When asked if she had any knowledge of criminal activity com­mitted by the Trump admin­is­tration, however, she replied no.

During Yovanovitch’s opening statement, she admitted that she had no knowledge about the phone call between Trump and Ukranian Pres­ident Volodymyr Zelensky and no knowledge about the with­holding of mil­itary funds from Ukraine. Even Rep. Devin Nunes, R‑Calif., said he didn’t under­stand why Yovanovitch was called to testify.

On day two, Yovanovitch’s tes­timony was a des­perate appeal to pathos. The former ambas­sador was given the national platform to share her emo­tional story about being fired after 33 years at the U.S. State Department.

The press, once again, couldn’t resist the oppor­tunity to further divide and dis­tract.

NBC News pub­lished an Op-Ed by Mimi Rocah and Karen Schwartz drawing com­par­isons to Christine Blasey Ford’s tes­timony during the con­fir­mation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, claiming that “Yovanovitch seems to sym­bolize any woman who’s ever had a man try to undermine her, demote her or push her out.”

The liberal news media served up their tes­ti­monies on a silver platter. CNN said they were “damning,” and NBC called them “chilling.”

What’s truly chilling, however, is that neither Kent nor Taylor had ever even met or spoken to Trump, yet they are to be con­sidered credible and key wit­nesses in the process to impeach the pres­ident.

Schiff has tried numerous tactics in an effort to mislead and dis­tract the American people from the reality of the sit­u­ation. When asked if he had spoken or heard from the whistle­blower on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Schiff lied saying, “We have not spoken directly with the whistle­blower.”

Before the start of the impeachment hearing Schiff mis­char­ac­terized the phone call tran­script before the House Intel­li­gence Com­mittee claiming Trump said, “I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, under­stand. Lots of it.”
Now Schiff is con­tinuing his charade by intro­ducing opinion wit­nesses that offer nothing more than spec­u­lation built on hearsay.

Trump released the tran­script of his con­ver­sation with Zelensky long before the start of this impeachment sham.

During his phone call, Trump did not engage in a quid pro quo. The legal def­i­n­ition of a quid pro quo is “an item or a service that has been traded in return for some­thing of value.” The Oxford Dic­tionary defines a quid pro quo as “a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for some­thing.”

While Pres­ident Trump did ask for Zelensky “to find out what hap­pened with this whole sit­u­ation with Ukraine,” no favor was granted, no service was traded, and no trans­action took place.
Zelensky himself explained that the phone call was “normal,” adding that if “you read it, that nobody pushed me.”

On day four of the impeachment hearing, U.S. Ambas­sador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland tes­tified that “Pres­ident Trump never told me directly that the aid was con­di­tioned on the inves­ti­gation.”

Sondland said that he “never heard those words from the pres­ident.” In fact, what Trump told Sondland was quite the opposite; “No Quid Pro Quo. I want nothing. I want nothing. I want Pres­ident Zelensky to do the right thing. Do what he ran on.”

Amer­icans can choose to believe Schiff and his opinion wit­nesses who are caught up in a game of tele­phone. Amer­icans can fall for the emo­tional dis­trac­tions per­pe­trated by the media that has no direct rela­tionship to the impeachment hearing. Or, Amer­icans can read the tran­script for them­selves and listen to those who were actually a part of the con­ver­sation.

Even if many choose not to believe that Trump’s phone call was “perfect” or “normal” as both leaders claim, then it’s important to examine what has hap­pened since the phone call.

First, Ukraine received its mil­itary aid from the United States. Second, Ukraine never opened an inves­ti­gation into Joe Biden and his corrupt business dealings that landed his son, Hunter Biden, on the board of a major oil pro­duction company. And third, Trump met with Zelensky in Sep­tember at the United Nations and there was no announcement of any inves­ti­gation.

It seems rather hard to prove that Trump engaged in a quid pro quo when the “quo” is non-existent. Zelensky got his mil­itary aid, and Trump received more mali­cious attacks by Con­gres­sional Democrats and the media.

Ryan Young is a freshman studying rhetoric and public address.