This week, House impeachment investigators are holding their first public hearings in their ongoing inquiry. The majority of Republican members of Congress keep very publicly freaking out, and late Monday, the party circulated a memo to its members that are on the three committees involved in the impeachment inquiry that outlines what the GOP believes are its best defenses. Each of these defenses are laughable and easily refuted — in other words, they’re gearing up to do little besides pander to their base, which includes President Donald Trump himself in this instance.
The impeachment inquiry focuses on Trump’s plot to get Ukraine to produce potentially damaging intel on the Bidens ahead of the 2020 election, in which Trump might face former Vice President Joe Biden in the general election.
The GOP’s claimed “four key pieces of evidence” that they’re prepared to use in defense of Trump include claims that:
- The July 25 call summary — the best evidence of the conversation — shows no conditionality or evidence of pressure.
- President Zelensky and President Trump have both said there was no pressure on the call.
- The Ukrainian government was not aware of a hold on U.S. security assistance at the time of the July 25 call.
- President Trump met with President Zelensky and U.S. security assistance flowed to Ukraine in September 2019 — both of which occurred without Ukraine investigating President Trump’s political rivals.
In reality — as Axios notes at the outset, the alleged plot to get Ukraine to produce Biden dirt stretched well beyond the July phone conversation in question, the record of which clearly outlines Trump asking Ukraine to do the Trump team a “favor” and look into the conspiracy theory involving the 2016 election of the baseless claim that a Democratic email server had somehow ended up in Ukraine. Trump also plainly says Zelensky should investigate the Bidens and should get in touch with Attorney General Bill Barr and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to get that investigation going.
The GOP’s second defense that the perpetually lying Trump and the obviously vested interest-holding Zelensky said there was no issue so case closed, essentially, is laughable on its face. Since when did judicial investigations hinge on whether the accused individual said: “I didn’t do it”?
On top of these issues, their other supposed supporting evidence falls apart too. In May — two months before Trump and Zelensky’s July call — Ukrainian officials “inquired with current and former U.S. officials, including an official at the State Department, about whether… the pressure campaign from Trump’s personal lawyer would impact a presidential White House meeting or the delivery of U.S. military aid,” according to the Daily Beast. Additionally, soon after the July call, Ukrainians were told that the aid holdup was tied to the Biden investigation push.
It keeps going. The aid release they point to happened after the Ukraine plot whistleblower complaint’s existence was revealed to the House. These faulty attempts at combating the substance of the impeachment inquiry come after Congressional Republicans wound themselves up attacking the supposed illegitimacy of the process, with nothing to show for it. Thus, they just keep coming up short.
CHRIS WALLACE: Aid was released 2 days after the IG informed the House about the whistleblower. It wasn’t released until the story was out
KELLYANNE CONWAY: You’re trying to make that causation. It may be coincidence
CW: You really think that’s a coincidence?
KC: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ pic.twitter.com/QKGLwBC7vK
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 3, 2019