Even if he had rolled out a perfect defense, if his story had been consistent, his arguments convincing, and his record spotless Donald Trump would have still faced an uphill impeachment battle given the overwhelming nature of the evidence against him.
Despite his cries that Americans should “read the transcript” of his Ukraine call because it exonerates him, what it really shows is that he froze U.S. military aid to the war-torn Eastern European country and then tried to use those hundreds of millions of dollars as leverage to convince Ukraine’s president to open a damaging investigation into Joe Biden in the hopes of derailing his 2020 bid. Administration officials have already said as much, with numerous alleging an explicit quid pro quo.
The call and the scheming that led up to it represent gross abuse of executive power and as clear cut an argument for impeachment as one could want.
The Republican Party’s response has been a mess. GOP officials have been whining for weeks now that Democrats need to be more transparent with the impeachment inquiry and that public hearings are necessary. At one point, Republicans even stormed a SCIF, a secure area being used to depose a witness, violating security protocols in the process and demanding that everything be done out in the open.
Now that such hearings are slated to begin next week, the Republicans have run out of track. Already, the president himself has botched any kind of strategic pivot.
This morning, perhaps forgetting what his messaging was supposed to be, Trump slammed the idea of public hearings, revealing that his party’s complaints have been nothing more than a blatant attempt to undermine a perfectly legitimate process from the start.
“Well they shouldn’t be having public hearings, this is a hoax,” the president said, refuting himself and his cronies in one fell swoop.
One can scarcely imagine a starker flipflop than this, and it serves to underline how woefully unequipped the Republicans, especially Trump, are to handle this impeachment. They can’t even figure out a coherent narrative to sell to voters and are forced to rely on baseless smears and bad faith requests that they then decry the moment they’re granted. If this is really the best they can do, the Trump administration is in deep trouble.
Weeks of Republicans and Fox News hosts demanding public hearings inevitably led to this momenthttps://t.co/4I5rVcLWSw
— Brian Tashman (@briantashman) November 8, 2019
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.