Since a federal whistleblower first alerted the House Intelligence Committee in mid-September of potentially illegal activity, President Trump and his allies have been scrambling to find a defense to the rapidly mounting allegations that have triggered a long-awaited impeachment inquiry. Now, weeks into this process, we have made it here: to nearly the same argument that the president has been giving since day one.
This argument is, as you see, that the case is closed!
The case, unfortunately for the president, does not appear to be closed.
Just last night, former envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker turned over a series of text messages between him, Ukrainian aides, the U.S. ambassador to the EU and several other related parties that, in short, make everyone look incredibly guilty. In one, U.S. ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland literally says, very deliberately, that there was “no quid pro quo” and then recommends that they take the conversation to a phone call, away from text messages that could be, oh, you know, delivered to House investigators. Definitely the sorta thing super innocent people do! The impeachment investigation also claimed the career of Energy Secretary Rick Perry last night, for what it’s worth.
Yes, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did say that he was “not pushed” by the president, but the transcript of their call reveals a pretty clear attempt by Trump to establish a quid pro quo arrangement of military aid for political favors. And what was Zelensky supposed to say? Yes, your president is a criminal, please impeach him? Probably not his best move given the circumstances, especially as he desperately wants to be as far from this mess as possible. To be fair, so does Trump. But right now, it sure looks like the Ukrainian is the only president with a decent shot of escaping all this with his career intact.
Gonna go ahead and say that the case on this one: pretty open!