Republican Impeachment Defenses are Crumbling as Bribery Evidence Mounts
Republicans are in a tough spot. They have to mount some sort of a defense for the President to satisfy their Fox News, Rush Limbaugh base, but the facts aren't on their side. So, it looks like they are going to throw everything they can think of at the wall to see if any of it sticks. Thus far, their defenses range from absurd to out-right obfuscation.
1. This week, Republicans argued that none of the witnesses spoke directly to the President and were relying on conversations with subordinates. That is an odd defense for at least two reasons. First, we already have the partial transcript of the call Trump had with Ukraine's President in which Trump asked for "a favor." The witnesses are simply fleshing out the exact nature of that favor, the actual quid pro quo involving the withholding of aid already approved by Congress.
Moreover, if Trump's defenders think that the American people should hear from those who spoke directly to Trump about withholding aid, then why don't they insist that the White House stop blocking the testimony of senior officials?
2. The second defense is even thinner. Republicans continue to call for the whistleblower to testify. They claim that they want to know if he/she is in some way partisan. At this point in the process, however, why does it matter? Their complaint started the investigation, but everything they said has now been verified by other sources including the call transcript. It wouldn't matter if the whistleblower was Joe Biden because we now know that their allegations are true.
3. A third argument concerns the lack of a specific quid pro quo or bribe. However, the argument collapses once you know all the facts surrounding the transaction. We know, for instance, that Trump asked for a "favor" during his phone call, and that President Zelensky was aware that aid to Ukraine was being withheld. Witnesses have testified in great detail [with much more coming] that the hold on Ukraine's military assistance wouldn't be lifted until Zelensky stated publicly that Ukraine was opening an investigation into Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that employed Hunter Biden.
4. Finally, President Trump’s supporters have argued that Trump committed no impeachable offense because he eventually released the military aid to Ukraine even though President Zelensky hadn't announced an investigation of the Bidens. However, Trump didn't release the aid until he learned that a whistleblower had filed a complaint. So, not much of a defense and, in any case, an attempt to solicit a bribe is still a crime.
Well, OK, there is a fifth argument. On Wednesday, Lou Dobbs had frequent Fox contributor Joe DiGenova on his show who claimed that the entire Ukraine scandal is a conspiracy orchestrated by George Soros. You can read it here if you are in the mood for some levity in your day.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content