It was another blockbuster day of testimony in what might be the final phase of the House impeachment hearing. NSC Russia expert Fiona Hill and diplomat David Holmes testified before Congress and destroyed any remaining defense of Trump’s actions, other than, “yes Trump did horrible, unAmerican things but they don’t rise to the level of impeachment.”
Holmes relayed the phone conversation he overheard between Ambassador Sondland and Trump where Trump clearly asks if Ukraine will go along with the investigation of Biden, and later Holmes asked Sondland about it. Sondland replied that Trump will trade a meeting in the Oval Office for an announcement of an investigation into the Bidens, and then noted that Trump didn’t care about the Ukraine, he cared about “big stuff,” clarifying that big stuff meant anything that would help his re-election.
Hill was possibly the most effective and devastating witness of the entire impeachment process. She was clearly more intelligent than all of the Republican Committee members combined, and gave such powerful, credible and incriminating testimony that Republicans stopped using their time to ask her questions and instead used their time to read talking points. Hill noted that everybody in Trump’s cabinet and the State Department associated with Ukraine knew what Trump wanted–to press Ukraine to investigate Biden in exchange for aid and a White House meeting. She noted that Giuliani and Sondland were engaged in “a political errand” while she and the other diplomats were engaged in national security. She also criticized the Committee Republicans for supporting a Russian disinformation myth that Ukraine had some role in 2016 US election interference, calling it a “fictional narrative” and making it clear that Russia was, in fact, responsible for such interference.
If the impeachment inquiry were a court of law, the Democrats would have presented an ironclad case. They proved that Trump sacrificed our national security, and the security of an ally, for personal political gain. But impeachment is a political process. And while the House Democrats will surely forward articles of impeachment to the Senate, it’s unlikely that Senate Republicans will care. Their constituents watch Fox propaganda and have no idea what really happened in the impeachment inquiry.
Republicans in Congress have sold their souls and our Democracy in the craven pursuit of power, and they destroyed the oversight function of Congress in the process. They have become a morally bankrupt cult of personality. Trump’s failure to respond to lawful subpoenas from Congress is, by itself, an impeachable act, and one that Richard Nixon faced. By failing to hold the most corrupt president in modern history accountable for repeatedly violating his oath of office, the GOP has essentially created an Imperial Presidency that operates above the law. Because of this and many other grave concerns, we simply cannot allow Trump a second term. God only knows what horrors he will impose or enact with zero oversight. The real battle will not be in New York but in one or two battleground states like Wisconsin where Trump is still at around 48% support. It’s not inconceivable that Trump could lose the popular vote by five or six million votes and still win the electoral college.
So the road ahead will be difficult but not impossible. We need to rally around whoever the Democratic nominee becomes. And we need to remind our fellow citizens again and again that Trump and his cabinet are corrupt to the core and make us less safe. In almost every imaginable way, Trump is the opposite of who we want a president to be. We implore our children, “don’t be like him!”
Trump was elected, in part, to “shake things up,” but instead has done his best to burn everything down. The Republicans whine that Democrats have “tried to take this president down since before day one,” and this is true simply because Trump has been unethical, immoral, and downright criminal since before day one.
Keep resisting and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”