Dig hole, insert head. It’s not exactly a new strategy for the Trump White House, but it is being executed at a high level this week as a whole lineup of potential witnesses for the House impeachment inquiry go mysteriously missing. The House leadership held the vote that Republicans said they wanted. The judiciary has weighed in to say that the inquiry is absolutely legitimate and the subpoenas being produced carry the full weight of any other impeachment process. And still the inquiry is expected to see nothing but empty chairs on Tuesday, just as it did on Monday.

On Monday, the no-shows included Robert Blair, a top aide to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney; senior OMB official Brian McCormack; National Security Council attorney Michael Ellis; and chief attorney for the NSC—and man with a highly secure server he’s not afraid to use in burying Trump secrets—John Eisenberg. For Tuesday, expect empty chairs that represent yet another OMB no-show in the non-form of Michael Duffey, and Wells Griffith, who is an assistant to Energy Secretary Rick Perry. All of them will be nice footnotes on the one or more charges of contempt of Congress that are certain to adorn Donald Trump’s articles of impeachment.

But while the only testimony being generated on Tuesday will be of the kind that speaks to a failure to cooperate or obey the law, that doesn’t mean some important words won’t be emerging. Because another pair of transcripts will be released on Tuesday, as Adam Schiff and Democratic leadership does just what Republicans have been claiming they wanted all along—make every word of what was said in closed-door hearings visible to the public.

This set of transcripts are expected to come from the depositions of acting Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and the special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker. The two are something of a study in contrast. Volker is one of the “three amigos” put together by Mulvaney and charged with arm-twisting to get the “investigations” that Trump wanted from Ukraine. Taylor is an experienced diplomat, horrified by the treatment of former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch—whose deposition was released on Monday—and repeatedly shocked by the clear intentions of Trump’s team to bludgeon Ukrainian officials into providing political dirt in exchange for survival.


In his opening statement, Volker continued to be deferential toward Trump, sprinkling his speech with statements intended toss some praise toward the White House. Taylor was much too busy being aghast at watching a nation held about a BBQ pit for political gain. But in the end, both seemed to confirm the basic plot points of Trump’s actions.

On emerging from the sessions with the two men, Republicans behaved as if Volker had somehow “poked holes” in the information contained in the original whistleblower complaint. Republicans also claimed that William Taylor, whose opening statement was clearly sufficient for impeachment charges all on its own, had somehow been knocked down under questioning.

Now America is going to get to see the truth. Which is just what Republicans said they wanted. Until they got it.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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