Initially, the story of Trump’s call with the President of Ukraine and the entire quid pro quo impeachment argument Dems were making sounded overblown. The whistleblower, with only second and third hand accounts of the call, bolstered my opinion that the Dem allegations were totally hyped out of proportion, especially when Trump released a transcript of the call he asserted was a verbatim transcript of his “perfect call” and insisting he was being unfairly accused.
Over the past week my view has shifted and I suspect that Giuliani’s questionable actions operating as Trump’s personal sleuth in Ukraine will bring to light more damaging information that will aid the Democrats impeachment push. The way Adam Schiff has conducted these “impeachment inquiry” hearings in secret, avoiding producing the whistleblower and revelations that Schiff’s staff met with the whistleblower and likely helped in the production of the whistleblower’s complaint still work to discredit the process, but it’s also becoming increasingly clear there’s probably a good deal more damaging information that’s going to pour out in this impeachment effort.
The hearing witnesses who received the heaviest spin smear hits by Trump and his spin commandos, Bill Taylor, Trump’s chargé d’affaires for Ukraine/former ambassador to Ukraine and LTC Alexander Vindman, also seem to be the witnesses whose testimony blew massive holes in Trump’s “perfect call” assertion. The Trumper attacks on Taylor were awful, but the attacks on Vindman, accusing him of dual loyalty crossed a line for me. Trump and his minions are as vile as the worst Clinton spin monsters and Adam Schiff, one of the most dishonest characters in Congress.
Andrew McCarthy at National Review stated the obvious:
“President Trump and his defenders have insisted that there was no quid pro quo. Since there is virtually always a quid pro quo, we must assume that, generally, they mean there was no improper quid pro quo. I say “generally” because some actually do posit a legal claim that there was no quid pro quo at all. Ukraine, these Trump supporters say, was unaware that defense aid was being withheld; such awareness, they reason, is the sine qua non of a “quo,” without which there can be no corrupt “quid.” This argument is factually infirm and, in any event, misconstrues impeachment. I will come to that momentarily.
First, though, the critical point: The winning argument on behalf of the president is that what happened here is not an impeachable offense. It is untenable to insist that there was no quid pro quo — just as it is outlandish for the president to claim that his July 25 conversation with President Zelensky was “perfect,” an impossible standard to meet in human endeavors. To stake out an untenable position is a self-defeating strategy in public controversies.”
Jonah Goldberg, a conservative pundit on the Trump-pundit’s “most reviled Never Trumper human scum” list, stated a growing realization that’s becoming obvious too:
“Trump and his defenders are still pounding on outdated, unpersuasive, or irrelevant talking points. They rail about the identity and motives of the whistleblower who first aired these allegations, even though the whistleblower’s report has been largely corroborated by others. They claim that the process of the Democratic inquiry in the House is unconstitutional, which is ridiculous. They insist that hearings where Republicans can cross-examine witnesses are a “star chamber” or reminiscent of secret Soviet trials. Also ridiculous.
Republican complaints about the heavy-handed tactics of the Democrats have some merit, but they’ll be rendered moot when the Democrats move to public hearings or to a Senate trial. And when that happens, claims that the call was “perfect” and that there was no quid pro quo will evaporate in the face of the facts.
Goldberg mentioned that the apology is what helped Bill Clinton survive impeachment without being removed from office and it allowed Democrats a path to credibility convince the American people that the president regretted his misdeeds and it was time for the country to move on.
At some point the original whistleblower’s motives and credibility and Schiff’s corrupt machinations become irrelevant in the face of growing witness testimony and evidence that Trump is lying about his “perfect call” transcript, which now appears to be neither “perfect” nor “verbatim,” but is a sanitized version of the call produced by some White House staffers, not by great stenographers.
The little bit of the Vindman testimony that we know about mentions some meeting with other Trump officials like Rick Perry, Ambassador Sondland, and other prominent Trump officials, which assures there’s going to be more damaging information, beyond the Trump phone call, yet Congressional Republicans and Trump pundits want to remain stuck on spinning about the corrupt “process” and “no quid pro” in the phone call “transcript”, which isn’t even really a transcript at all, but a Trump-friendly version of the phone call. Trump lied and spun this “perfect call” nonsense and “no quid pro transcript” for a month now, but that spin antic won’t see Trump through impeachment, as more witnesses testify.
At 25:54, in Ambassador John Sullivan’s testimony yesterday, he explains the role of Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to smear and get Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovich, fired. While the president assuredly has the power to fire ambassadors, my gut instinct seems that Trump’s loss of confidence in the ambassador might have had more to do with her unwillingness to go along with Giuliani’s private dirt-digging expedition in Ukraine rather than her conduct carrying out the president’s official policies in Ukraine.
As more witnesses testify, my gut instinct is Trump and Giuliani’s Ukraine escapades are going to leave Republicans humiliating themselves trying to defend Trump and once again having to sacrifice every vestige of self-respect to prop up this corrupt and dishonest man, who is just as bad as the Clintons, Schiff and the Dem spin water-carrying media.
Trump isn’t an innocent victim of the Dems trying to do him in here. Trump and Giuliani’s Ukraine escapades reek of the same sort of corrupt Clintonesque dirt-digging operations, using private, totally unaccountable investigators.
Life for Congressional Republicans defending the corrupt “GOP Insurgent” will get much more uncomfortable, but then there’s the Durham/Horowitz investigations, which might deflect some of the media glare to the corrupt Clinton/Obama private dirt-digging operations too.
America will be much better off when the Clinton and Trump corruption is long past and becomes only an object lesson on the perils of public corruption taught to schoolchildren in U.S. history classes.