Following the House Judiciary Committee’s approval of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, he’s continuing to unravel. Early this Friday, he went on an outlandish, unhinged rant to reporters in the Oval Office that veered from complaints about a whistleblower who helped reveal his plot to get Biden dirt from Ukraine to a mocking recitation of the military rank of the National Security Council’s Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified against Trump as part of the inquiry.
After flippantly stating Vindman’s rank a couple of times — which is the culmination of service that’s included him earning a Purple Heart — Trump mockingly called him a “beauty” and claimed that he’s agreed to the veracity of a record of a phone conversation that Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Vindman has previously stated that politically minded White House officials blocked him from making corrections to the record, even though Vindman himself listened to one of Trump’s conversations with Zelensky.
Although Trump tries to act like none of these developments have contributed to an actually strong impeachment case against him, that case is proceeding anyway. The full House is set to approve the articles of impeachment next week. Discussing a no doubt soon upcoming Senate trial focusing on the articles’ charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Trump commented:
‘I wouldn’t mind a long process, because I’d like to see the whistleblower, who’s a fraud. The whistleblower wrote a false report, and I really blew it up when I released the transcript of the call… The whistleblower wrote a totally false statement, so it’s a fraud. Then I say, where is the informer, the one that informed the whistleblower? He had an informer. He disappeared. You know why he disappeared? Because I released that transcript. Had I not released that transcript, we would have had an informer, we would have had another whistleblower. By the way, where’s the second whistleblower, remember that?’
There were, in fact, reports about an additional whistleblower who was prepared to back up the account of the first one, but neither of their testimonies ended up crucial because House Democrats got accounts from people — like Vindman — who witnessed the scandal (or parts of it) firsthand. In other words, it’s really a quite simple explanation for where the whistleblower “went.” It’s not a conspiracy.
Still, Trump kept ranting. He also complained about House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) who he insinuated should have criminal charges brought against him if not for the “immunity” associated with his government position. In reality, that’s an easy description of Trump himself, not Schiff.
Trump also viciously criticized members of the media, again resorting to his angry, personal rants.
‘Look, not all of it, but much of the media is corrupt. These are bad people. They’re sick people, and they’re corrupt. And we’re fighting the Democrats. And we’re fighting a lot of the corrupt media.’
In other words, as a Senate impeachment trial for the president fast approaches, he and his defenders don’t seem to have much — although that doesn’t mean that the Republican majority in the Senate will actually convict him on the charges anyway.