This week, the House formally impeached President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — but the case is not over. House Democrats are delaying transmitting the case to a Senate while arguing for more fair provisions for the trial there, which includes demanded summoning of witness testimony and evidence, much of which had been subpoenaed during the House investigation but refused by the White House. Now, following a report in The Washington Post that Trump has privately touted that Russian President Vladimir Putin himself convinced him that Ukraine (not Russia) led 2016 U.S. election meddling, conservative commentator Jennifer Rubin suggests that there’s now another major piece of leverage for additional subpoenas.
That original report included notes about apparent fear of Putin’s personal influence over Trump that was expressed by a number of top officials, although they’ve not testified about this situation.
‘As a preliminary matter, the thought processes of those former senior officials — who would anonymously say that Trump was a Putin puppet but refuse to come forward to provide testimony well before we even got to an impeachment proceeding, in part about Trump’s alleged betrayal of national security — boggles the mind. They have either given cover to a president who is practically a foreign asset, or they are creating unwarranted fear that he is.’
Notably enough, there’s an anonymous book going around from someone who’s worked highly in the Trump administration documenting the president’s dangerous volatility. The author could be one of those figures, a list which includes former chief of staff John Kelly, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and others.
‘There could be no better example as to why the Senate must be able to subpoena former officials for the impeachment trial and obtain documents Trump has concealed under a spurious absolute immunity defense. If a former secretary of state or a defense, homeland security or senior intelligence official (e.g., director of national intelligence, head of the National Security Agency) cannot do the patriotic thing when the security of the country is at stake, then it is essential to end the Trump coverup and figure out how to force their appearance in the Senate trial.’
Part of the scheme that ever landed Trump in impeachment proceedings includes his insistence, which leading Republicans have since picked up, that Ukraine led some kind of pro-Hillary campaign during 2016 and current Ukrainian authorities should investigate the in reality nonexistent plot. One Ukrainian official wrote an opinion piece against Trump around that time — and that’s about it. Trump ally and Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy’s assertion that the Ukrainian president had been “actively working for” Hillary Clinton is simply ludicrous.
Besides their support for the president’s conspiracy theories about Ukraine, which even include him flatly falsely claiming that an American Democratic tech security company is actually Ukrainian, Senate Republicans have also banded together against Democratic pushes for a fair trial.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (S.C.) have explicitly asserted, in their words, that they will not be impartial jurors for the trial — and yet, they’d like us to take their complaints seriously about supposed Dem misconduct.