Yesterday started with the White House’s release of a summary of Trump’s notorious call with the Ukrainian president, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California held a news conference to give his reaction:
The notes of the call reflect a conversation far more damning than I or many others had imagined…what those notes reflect is a classic, mafia-like shakedown of a foreign leader.
The summary showed exactly what Democrats had feared–that Trump’s express purpose for the call was to pressure a foreign power to find dirt on a political rival. A few Republicans expressed “concern” about the summary and many Democrats expressed shock in line with the statement by Congressman Schiff. Many more Democrats also signaled their support for an impeachment inquiry, bringing the House total to at least 215, close to the number needed to ultimately send articles of impeachment to the Senate.
Much of yesterday’s discussion on cable news and in print asked the question “how did we get here?” How did we suddenly go from resisting impeachment to a wave of support for impeachment? Elaine Kamarck of the Brookings Institute argued that the op-ed in the Washington Post written by seven moderate, swing-state Democrats on the 23rd was a major factor:
This letter, more than any other previous chapter in the Trump impeachment story, hit Washington like a bomb because of who these members of Congress are.
It’s certainly true this op-ed was important, but what pushed them to stick their necks out, much less Speaker Pelosi?
The difference with the Ukraine scandal, and the core reason it motivated Pelosi and everyone else to embrace impeachment, was that Trump admitted to an abuse of power before anyone saw the evidence. Trump implicated himself in a potential crime. The Mueller report required a timeline and corroboration and definitions of obstruction, and never proved that Trump himself colluded with Russia to get dirt on Hilary (his campaign did). The Ukraine scandal, however, was proven from the start. Trump admitted on TV that he pressed the Ukrainian president to go after the Bidens. That alone was a profoundly unAmerican act, and it’s the same thing he was investigated for in the Mueller probe. He attempted to collude with the Ukraine for political purposes at the expense of our national security.
The call summary was damning, but it merely confirmed what Trump already admitted to doing. The whistleblower testimony will also likely be damning, and may expose other crimes or excesses, but we already have enough cause for an article of impeachment–Trump’s own admission. He personally colluded with a foreign government to attack a political rival. Mic drop.
Pelosi and the Congressional Reps knew that Trump’s conduct, by his own admission, was a betrayal of his oath of office and a threat to our Democracy, and it wouldn’t be difficult to explain to the American public. It was really that simple.
Now we have to wait while various committees gather corroborating evidence and make formal what we already know. They will eventually submit an article(s) of impeachment and then the question becomes, will any Republicans decide to uphold the rule of law and stand on the right side of history and our Constitution by voting to impeach Trumpo in the Senate?
Trump’s ego and big mouth cooked his own goose.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office” if he doesn’t get thrown out sooner.