Remember "collusion," the word Democrats attempted to tie to President Donald Trump for more than two years, eventually without success?
It's back. And the scenario is awfully familiar.
Democrats, with the special counsel's investigation into whether Russia interfered with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, accused, tried and convicted Trump before the evidence was in. It was unprofessional, unseemly and, frankly, elicited sympathy for a president who has a difficult time garnering it on his own.
Now it's the revelation of a whistleblower, who heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend that the president had been messing around. Specifically, the allegation is that Trump urged the president of Ukraine in a July telephone conversation to look into the nefarious dealings within Ukraine of Hunter Biden, son of 2020 presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Democrats and their national media backers, without knowledge of what actually was said in the conversation and who the whistleblower is, claim whatever Trump said about Biden and his son constitutes lawbreaking collusion.
Just as with the Russia investigation, talk of impeaching the president has arisen. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, previously reticent because she knows such talk is a political stunt and knows there is no chance for conviction in the Senate unless wrongdoing is proven, reluctantly put her name Tuesday to a formal impeachment inquiry.
Trump, for his part, said he would release a transcript of the recorded conversation today. He had said Monday he could release the transcript "very easily because it was a very innocent call on both his part and mine."
But he was reticent to do so, not from the specific conversation but because of precedence. If he releases one, Democrats and their media friends would likely begin an unending stream of requests and demands for various private discussion on this matter and that.
And, Trump might understandably think, what foreign leader would talk to him if he or she thought there was a good chance their conversations might become public?
Democrats want both the transcript and the whistleblower's complaint to the intelligence community inspector general. They're sure somewhere in one of those documents, something might sound vaguely unconstitutional.
It was similar with the Russia investigation. With the release or leak of any information, Democrats alleged it proved collusion and made impeachment inevitable.
Of course when the report was made public, no collusion was found.
This is a different matter, of course, which may or may not have any merit. But Trump, as should have been the case before, deserves the presumption of innocence.
The president has acknowledged a conversation with the Ukrainian president and has said Biden did come up in the discussion.
The Biden problem itself — Joe's, not Trump's — has been around a while. The younger Biden was a member of the board of directors for Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas firm, that was being investigated by a Ukrainian prosecutor as part of a corruption probe during the Obama era (when Joe Biden was vice president).
Before taking his place on the board, where he made $50,000 a month, Hunter Biden had had no previous experience in the Ukraine. It's since been alleged he also received a onetime, laundered payment of $3 million while on the board.
Two years after he left office, Joe Biden boasted in a conference about successfully pressuring Ukraine — while he was still vice president — to fire the prosecutor looking into the corruption probe.
If Trump had concerns about dealing with Ukraine — and promised aid to the country recently has been held up — it is understandable he would worry about crony capitalism and corruption in the country.
Even when the transcript is released, and if the whistleblower testifies before Congress, we still may not know all the facts in the case. Until then, everything is guesses, innuendo and accusations.
We do know two individuals alleged to be on the phone call — and have been named — said Trump never colluded or pressured anybody.
Democrats, unquestionably, are desperate. The Russian collusion allegations didn't work — the glove didn't fit — but maybe the Biden allegations will.
They can read the tea leaves, too. They understand a nominee from the far left wing of the party — with its Medicare for All, its college debt forgiveness and its Green New Deal — will hand Trump a second term. And they know that Joe Biden, the party's current poll leader and the man given the best shot to take down Trump, may not make it to the finish line.
So it's full speed ahead with a Ukrainian scandal. Never mind the Democrats don't have the facts to accuse, much less try and convict.