President Donald Trump and his allies continue to face the ongoing impeachment inquiry led by House Democrats after a whistleblower revealed Trump’s scheme to get Ukraine to produce dirt on the Bidens. They’re getting increasingly desperate with their attempted defenses — this weekend on CBS’s Face The Nation, Trump ally and Republican Louisiana Senator John Kennedy insisted that the whole question of whether or not there was a “quid pro quo” in the first place is a “red herring.” In other words, it seems as though faced with the evidence that the Trump administration sought to tie “everything” Ukraine wanted to them producing that Biden dirt, a key Trump ally would rather us just look the other way.
He told host Margaret Brennan:
‘The quid pro quo, in my judgment, is a red herring. Here are the two possible scenarios. Number one: the president asked for an investigation of a political rival. Number two: the president asked for an investigation of possible corruption by someone who happens to be a political rival. The latter would be in the national interest. The former would be in the president’s parochial interest and would be over the line. I think this case is going to come down to the president’s intent, his motive — did he have a culpable state of mind?’
.@SenJohnKennedy on quid pro quo: says @realDonaldTrump either asked for an investigation of a political rival or to investigate corruption in Ukraine. He adds, “the former would be in the president’s parochial interest and would be over the line.” pic.twitter.com/e1l6mxcJGa
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) November 10, 2019
Kennedy went on to add that he also wants to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, despite a still glaring lack of evidence that he did anything wrong while working with the heavily scrutinized Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.
Via Twitter, Trump broadcasts his state of mind on an incredibly consistent basis, and — yes, according to any reasonable standard, he had a “culpable state of mind” in connection to his Ukraine scheme. He has singled out corruption on the basis of the last name of the individuals supposedly involved in it, rather than its mere existence in the first place. Given the chance to look more closely at anything he could dream up related to corruption in Ukraine, what did Trump do? He singled out and continues to single out the Bidens.
Kennedy’s insistence that the “quid pro quo” (or this for that) question is a red herring follows evidence continuing to emerge demonstrating that yes, the Trump team explicitly sought to tie “everything” Ukraine wanted to them producing that Biden dirt, to use the description from top Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor. Officials who participated in the scheme include acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Trump donor turned E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, and others. They all worked to only allow for already approved military aid to be released and a D.C. summit to be available after Ukraine announced an investigation.
Now, Trump (and his Republican allies) are facing the consequences. This week, House impeachment investigators will be hosting their first public hearings, including the witnesses former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, top Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor, and State Department official George Kent. Testimony from these and other witnesses has confirmed details of the Ukraine scheme that initially emerged in a whistleblower complaint.