This Friday, as former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was testifying in House impeachment investigators’ second public hearing, President Donald Trump took to Twitter with a raging attack against her character that Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) paused questioning to show to those in attendance. After that Twitter meltdown circulated, Trump faced questioning from reporters at the White House about what he’d done, and he resorted to claiming that he has “freedom of speech” so was not out of line. What’s he going to do next: claim that he has the right to threaten other world leaders on Twitter because he has “freedom of speech”?
After getting asked how he’d respond to Democrats who accused the president of trying to accomplish “witness tampering” with his tweet alleging that Yovanovitch was (somehow!) personally responsible for or at least connected to deteriorating political conditions in places like Somalia, Trump ranted to reporters:
‘I’ll talk about transparency… I’m the most transparent president in history. And I’ll tell you about what tampering is — tampering is when a guy like shifty Schiff doesn’t let us have lawyers. Tampering is when Schiff doesn’t let us have witnesses, doesn’t let us speak. I’ve been watching today; for the first time, I started watching, and it’s really sad when you see people not allowed to ask questions. Nobody’s ever had such horrible due process… I think it’s considered a joke all over Washington and all over the world… The American public understands it, and that’s why the poll numbers are so good… It’s a political process, not a legal process, so… I’m allowed to speak up… in the history of our country, there has never been a disgrace like what’s going on right now… I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just as other people do.’
NEW: Asked about Democrats’ charge of “witnessing tampering” over his tweet about Marie Yovanovitch during her testimony today, Pres. Trump tells @jonkarl, “It’s a political process, it’s not a legal process…I’m allowed to speak up.” https://t.co/APRDkqce3Q pic.twitter.com/Uz4HAbQHGl
— ABC News (@ABC) November 15, 2019
To be clear — Trump is wrong. Besides the gross egomania of his insistence that in a country that’s faced issued like slavery and racist violence, the currently proceeding investigations into his publicly clear behavior are the most disgraceful thing to ever happen in the United States — he’s just plain wrong. He claimed that poll numbers are “so good,” but an average of about one out of every two Americans support the impeachment inquiry. How “very good” is that???
Just because the leaders of the process don’t let the president’s supporters call any witness they want, that doesn’t mean that the process is a sham. The options are not a free-for-all for the president and his shills or a complete travesty.
Impeachment investigators have already accumulated much evidence of the president’s plot to get Ukraine to produce dirt on the Bidens in exchange for already approved military aid and a summit in D.C., and the investigators aren’t stopping.
Following their public hearings this week with Yovanovitch and top Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor and State Department official George Kent, House impeachment investigators have a full eight witnesses already lined up for public hearings this coming week, and there’s yet to emerge any kind of systematic challenge to Democrats’ case.