The Trump impeachment case is fast approaching the Senate, where Republicans will have to go on record with whether or not they’re okay with President Donald Trump’s brazen abuse of power in which he tried to get Ukraine to produce dirt on the Bidens before they’d get military aid. In the meantime, Republicans are already getting right to contorting themselves in an attempt to defend Trump’s behavior. This weekend on ABC’s This Week, Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz laughably tried to convince us that actually, Trump is a sincere, upstanding guy who tried to get that dirt because of legitimate concerns.
To be clear, Gaetz is talking about the guy who’s lied well over 13,000 times while in office. Trump’s not sincere about anything.
Still, Gaetz said:
‘I think the president was acting on a sincere and longly held skepticism of foreign aid. I think he was acting on concern about Ukraine being the third most corrupt country in the world. I think he was also acting on concern about this Biden connection to Burisma — and remember, it was George Kent, a witness called by the Democrats, who… said… that our own Embassy had to pull out of a public-private partnership that they were engaged in.’
So essentially — Gaetz is attempting to use something that on its face has no immediate connection to the Bidens whatsoever as evidence legitimizing the conspiracy theory about Biden corruption that Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate before they got military aid. Trump has maintained that then-Vice President Joe Biden’s pressure for Ukraine to drop a top prosecutor who’d looked into Burisma, which his son Hunter had worked for, was corrupt. There’s no evidence of this, and a completely separate instance of concern doesn’t change the case. Republicans have got nothing.
‘But what is so dizzying, George, is the evolving standard of impeachment from Democrats. For most of 2019, Nancy Pelosi said she opposed impeachment, not because the Mueller facts weren’t strong enough, in her view, but because it wasn’t bipartisan. She set the standard of bipartisanship for impeachment. The only thing that’s changed now is that we’re moving into an election year, and she’s willing to pursue a partisan impeachment… [Democrats] can’t even persuade Republicans like Will Hurd, who are critics of the president, to support this impeachment.’
.@GStephanopoulos: Can you explain to the American people why you think it’s OK for the president to ask a foreign nation to investigate a political opponent?
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) December 8, 2019
To suggest that there’s an increased level of partisanship among Republicans that precludes them from supporting any scrutiny of the president is an understatement. 2020 didn’t magically become an election year in the time between Pelosi’s statements about bipartisanship and her announcements about impeachment. What changed was how much further that Republicans have proven they’re willing to go for the president. Trump literally stood on the White House lawn and demanded foreign election interference, and Republicans still don’t care. They said he was “just joking.”
Now, the impeachment case is fast developing. This weekend, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said that his committee — which includes Gaetz — could consider formal articles of impeachment as soon as this week. Their approval would be the final step before the case moves to the Senate.