Although Republicans doubling as Trump shills now also have to deal with the ramifications of their major Tuesday night election losses in Kentucky and Virginia, they’ve still got the House Democrat-led impeachment inquiry as well. This Wednesday, impeachment investigators were hearing from David Hale, who’s the under secretary of State for political affairs at the State Department, and the Associated Press revealed that he was set to explain that the political conspiracy in his department was even deeper than previously known.
According to what the outlet reported of Hale’s testimony, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hesitated to launch any public defense of ousted Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch because he was worried about the reaction of — wait for it — Rudy Giuliani. In other words, the president’s personal lawyer who seems as intent on waving conspiracy theories around on national television as he is on anything else has been affecting U.S. foreign policy in even more ways than previously known.
Giuliani was one of the ones who pushed for Trump to fire Yovanovitch in the first place. He and his allies claimed that she was getting in the way of their plan to get Ukraine to produce dirt on the Bidens in the scheme that helped spark the impeachment inquiry itself. Consequently, the AP also reported that Hale planned “to say that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other senior officials determined that defending Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch would hurt the effort to free up U.S. military assistance to Ukraine,” which had been halted as Giuliani and others pushed for that dirt.
Trump and his allies have repeatedly pointed to the call record that the White House released covering a key conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as evidence for their claim that there was no “quid pro quo,” but that just doesn’t hold up. Trump’s political team halted the transfer of already approved military aid at the same time that they were carrying on with their months-long campaign to get Ukraine to produce Biden dirt. There’s no way around these basic facts of the situation, no matter Republicans’ desperation.
The AP says that Hale was also expected to testify that he had personal issues with the scheme, asserting that he “tried to distance himself and the department from the matter by removing himself from email chains about Yovanovitch.” Other impeachment inquiry witnesses have proven much more forceful in their opposition — for instance, National Security Council (NSC) official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman said he personally confronted a top NSC lawyer about the issue. That lawyer — John Eisenberg, an appointee of Trump’s first national security adviser Michael Flynn — told Vindman not to tell anyone what he knew.
That ship sailed. Hale is definitely not the only witness that House Dems have been after lately, but three others who they’d scheduled to appear on Wednesday aren’t showing up. That list of defiant no-shows includes State Department Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, acting White House Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry.