The day after Trump’s own top diplomat in Ukraine gave smoking gun bombshell testimony that should be the end of his tenure in the Oval Office, a gang of Republican congressmen tried to create a distraction by staging a hissy fit that violated national security protocols. The depth of their fraudulent attack on the impeachment process was readily apparent, as more than a quarter of the Republican congressmen who stormed the secure impeachment hearing are themselves members of relevant committees authorized to have attended. They could have complied with protocols, protected national security, and just walked in without any drama at all.
This is where we are. This is how corrupt and dangerous Republicans have become. In congressional testimony, acting ambassador William Taylor confirmed that Trump tried to strong-arm Ukraine into smearing a potential Trump political opponent in exchange for security assistance that had been authorized by Congress, and a personal meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The attempted extortion had been going on for months. Asking, much less demanding, a foreign nation to damage the political standing of a domestic political rival is illegal in itself. It is an impeachable offense at face value.
A quid pro quo was not necessary for Trump’s behavior to have been a crime, but Republicans tried to obscure that fact, demanding proof of evidence that wasn’t needed. But the evidence was there, even before Taylor’s testimony. And then Taylor confirmed and elaborated on it. In fact, the attempted extortion was happening long before the phone call that alarmed what would become the whistleblower who first took the story public.
But Republicans are trying to distract from that, too. Because despite the bombshell testimony of Taylor, and despite the earlier similarly damning testimony of diplomat Kurt Volker, and despite Trump’s chief of staff Mick Mulaney’s inadvertent public confession, and despite the clear evidence in the phone call transcript Trump’s own White House redacted and released, Republicans continue to gaslight the impeachment process by focusing on the secret identity of the whistleblower, whose initial report no longer is needed to prove anything.
The whistleblower raised the alarm, but the now abundant independent evidence and testimony stands on its own. Trump committed a staggering abuse of power, and every Republican excuse for not demanding his resignation is gone. Every excuse for every news organization to demand Trump’s resignation is gone. That the Republicans were flailing to distract from bombshell evidence by dishonestly staging a breach of a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility says everything about both their desperation and their eager willingness to damage national security for political gain.
And the Republican House leadership apparently knew in advance about the impending security breach. Just as Trump damaged national security by withholding critical assistance to a vulnerable ally. Because even national security itself is not safe from modern Republicans.
Trump is stonewalling investigations into his clearly impeachable behavior with Ukraine, just as he obstructed Robert Mueller’s investigation into his hiding-in-plain-sight conspiracy with the Russian government, the obstruction itself being grounds for impeachment. That his latest impeachable offenses were committed in an attempt to win an election speaks to the depth of the danger to the republic itself. Those defending Trump are not defending the republic. Republicans defending Trump apparently don’t believe in a republican form of government.
Trump is at war with the Constitution. He has been all along. And Moscow Mitch McConnell and the Republicans are along for the ride. They are at war with democracy, and in their efforts to crush it national security itself is but collateral damage. It’s Trump against the Constitution, and everyone is picking a side. Only one can win.