CNN’S Lockhart: Santa Came Early for Dems, Emails a Gift

If you were here with me yesterday, you know that a FOIA case resulted in an email release showing that Trump ordered the Ukraine money withheld just ninety minutes after his phone call with Zelensky. This makes it harder for Repubs to argue there was no quid pro quo, that Trump was concerned about corruption, it wasn’t about Biden (Biden was the only one mentioned), it becomes near impossible to separate the decision to withhold money from the phone call, with just ninety minutes in-between. But beyond filling in details we didn’t know, the email release is also demonstrating why direct witness testimony is still necessary, thus putting increasing pressure on McConnell as more and more details emerge. I am not the only one smart enough to put together the obvious: CNN’s Joe Lockhart on Monday argued that these new emails bolster Democrats’ case for the president’s impeachment and give them new justification to call for additional witness testimony. The emails also show just how little even we know at this late date. Who the hell is this guy who sent the emails? What does he do? And why did he know anything about it? The emails prove that Trump has succeeded in suppressing critical details in the story, even from people like us, political junkies that follow each move closely. Trump’s strategy to “give them nothing,” has worked, too well. “A lot of bad stuff has come out,” he said. “There’s been live witnesses, enough to impeach the president of the United States. If the whole story was out, you would dump it all out, dump it all out on Christmas Eve, and maybe there would be a couple more embarrassing little tidbits, and move on and say you’ve got what you need. They’re doing this because we don’t know the half of it. It is much worse than what we already know, which is why they’re fighting it in court.” Okay, okay, I admit that I have no idea what Lockhart is talking about in that paragraph, either. And he was a White House press secretary, so he is supposed to be able to put a few sentences together a little better than that. But I think he’s getting at the fact that there are LOTS of FOIA suits out there, probably too many for even DOJ to keep track of each little element. These lawsuits will result in cross-wise rulings, some denials, some wins, but ultimately, we are becoming privy to a better picture of what happened. As we continue to learn new details, the public – which already supports hearing from witnesses at 70% – might become increasingly frustrated with McConnell’s refusal to have any testimony. There is also the slight possibility that one of these FOIA releases will release the diamond in the rough, that tiny but necessary fact that proves the craven political selfishness at the heart of the entire matter. A piece of evidence so compelling even Republicans cannot really argue around it. No, it wouldn’t change votes, it might make the ultimate vote more politically painful. That’ is about the best we could do right now. But all things considered, I sure didn’t think we’d still be learning important new details this late in the proceedings. That is a surprisingly good news for […]

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