The only story that mattered yesterday was the testimony to the House impeachment inquiry from Ukraine Ambassador William Taylor. Ambassador Taylor is a near-50-year career diplomat and West Point graduate who has worked for multiple presidents and was asked by Secretary Pompeo to take over as ambassador in Ukraine following the (inappropriate) removal of Marie Yovanovich by the Trump team. Taylor thought he was going to Ukraine to help its young government fight Kremlin aggression but instead found himself being asked to support a scheme by the Trump White House that the he knew immediately was illicit and an abuse of power.
Taylor’s testimony is now being called a “smoking gun.” According to Taylor, Trump’s EU ambassador Gordon Sondland told him that, “When a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, he said, the businessman asks that person to pay up before signing the check,” which is an admission of quid pro quo. Taylor apparently gave numerous details of other conversations and communications that confirmed Trump wanted an investigation opened on Biden before he would do anything for Ukraine, including releasing already-approved US aid. Here’s coverage from the NY Times:
Taylor’s long career and sterling reputation gave his testimony a lot of weight. He’s also an obsessive not taker, and his contemporaneous records of conversations with members of Trump’s shadow foreign policy gang (including Giuliani) added devastating detail and authority to his testimony.
Two things are now clear. There was a quid pro quo, and the directive to extort Ukraine came from Trump.
Trump and his bootlickers have been saying for weeks “there was no quid pro quo!” So their main option now is to claim that bribing or extorting a foreign power for personal political gain by withholding taxpayer funds isn’t an impeachable offense–even though it is exactly the kind of betrayal that our founders were concerned about and wanted to protect against. At this point any claim that Trump’s actions do not fall in the category of “high crimes and misdemeanors” must be seen as a vile rejection of our founders and our history.
Republicans are also attacking the investigators, which is exactly what guilty parties do when they have no real defense. Rep Adam Schiff is being smeared and savaged daily by House and Senate GOP members simply for doing his constitutional duty and investigating open and blatant corruption and possible criminal conduct by Trump and his team. Let’s make sure we have Schiff’s back, as well as all of the other Democrats who support the impeachment probe.
Congressional Republicans know in the dark recesses of their hardened hearts that Trump is a criminal and a disaster. They know he should be impeached. They know he’s worse than Nixon or Clinton. The only question remaining is the price they will pay for inaction versus the price they will pay for moving against Trump. The moment Trump’s corruption begins to hurt their re-election chances, they will turn on him. And it’s up to activists to ratchet up the heat. It’s likely that one or more large advocacy groups will begin to plan a mass impeachment rally in the coming weeks, and it will be an incredibly important action. Please stay tuned to this possibility.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”