As the Trump administration continues to face House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, they’re continuing to turn to utter desperation in response. This Tuesday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham released a belligerent statement downplaying some of the latest details revealed from testimony delivered by impeachment inquiry witnesses including Trump donor turned E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland. Although he initially left that part out of his testimony, Sondland filed an update with Congress recently admitting that he told Ukraine they’d get what they wanted in exchange for dirt on the Bidens — and the Trump team wants us to believe that’s no big deal.
Referring to a transcript from former U.S. Special Envoy Kurt Volker’s testimony as well, Grisham’s statement claims:
‘Both transcripts released today show there is even less evidence for this illegitimate impeachment sham than previously thought… No amount of salacious media-biased headlines, which are clearly designed to influence the narrative, change the fact that the President has done nothing wrong.’
That’s just about as brazenly ignorant of the facts as could be. Outside of the testimony of Sondland and Volker, there exists a mountain of evidence demonstrating that military aid to Ukraine was suspended as Trump and his closest associates sought to get Ukraine to produce dirt on the Bidens based on a completely baseless conspiracy theory suggesting that former Vice President Joe Biden boosted his family when, while in office, he pushed for the country to fire a widely believed to be corrupt chief prosecutor.
Just this Tuesday, on the same day as the transcript dump that Grisham replied to, it came out that Sondland himself had gone so far that he texted a copy of a script that the Trump team wanted the Ukrainian president to read on camera pronouncing harsh judgments on the Bidens. The script — which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky never read on camera — included an insistence that Ukrainian authorities would “initiate and complete a transparent and unbiased investigation of all available facts and episodes” relevant to the conspiracy theories in question.
Even Sondland and Volker themselves, on the record, have jumped ship and rebuffed the Trump administration’s behavior, although to be clear, they did help carry it out to begin with.
In his original testimony, Sondland complained that Trump had involved his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in getting the concessions they wanted from Ukraine.
Meanwhile, in his own appearance, Volker — who actually helped connect Giuliani with Ukrainian presidential adviser Andriy Yermak — complained:
‘It creates a problem again where all of the things that we’re trying to do to advance the bilateral relationship, strengthen our support for Ukraine, strengthen the positioning against Russia is now getting sucked into a domestic political debate in the U.S., domestic political narrative that overshadows that.’
In other words — the Trump team is really going out on a limb here. They’ve got the support of people like the overeager Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz and his bumbling colleagues, and that’s about it. House investigators are continuing with their impeachment inquiry, no matter what lie-riddled statement that the Trump White House can come up with.