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The End of Petty Tyrants
Author: BobR    Date: 11/14/2019 14:09:09

For the past several weeks, Democrats in the House have been interviewing potential witnesses for pResident tRump's impeachment hearing. These were done in private so that the testimony of any particular witness would not be influenced by the testimony of other witnesses. There was also the possibility of classified information coming out. Republicans were outraged and even tried to "storm" the hearings in an obviously staged photo op. It rang hollow because quite a number of them were already allowed to be in the hearings.

Last week, the House voted on a measure to make the hearings open, which is what the Republicans were demanding. Naturally, the Republicans voted against it en masse.

After yesterday's hearing testimony, it's pretty clear why the Republicans may have wanted them to remain private. It was the only way they could maintain any mystique about it. The testimony by two long-time career diplomats (who have served under Democratic and Republican presidents) was stolid and convincing. Most of the details were already known to those of us paying attention, but there was some new information.

Ambassador Bill Taylor recounted a conversation between EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland and tRump, overheard by one of Taylor's staff.
“In the presence of my staff at a restaurant, Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kyiv,” Taylor testified. “The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about ‘the investigations.’ Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.”

[...]

“Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which [Trump’s lawyer Rudy] Giuliani was pressing for.”

This completely took the wind out of the sails of the Republican defense that this was being done by those around tRump (Ghouliani in particular), but not tRump himself. For the entire hearing, the Republicans were floundering, trying to inject conspiracy theories into the proceedings, and feigning high dudgeon that this was all a vindictive attack on an innocent president. "There was no quid pro quo!... witchhunt!"

Not that any of this should matter - tRump already confessed to the crime. It's right there in the transcript, regardless of who the whistleblower is, or who else said what, when, or where.

It doesn't matter whether Ukranian president Zelensky gave tRump what he wanted, or whether we've done this in the past as a country for diplomatic or humanitarian reasons. What matters is that tRump asked for it (it's right there in the transcript).

If you walk into a bank and declare you're there to rob it, but leave before you get the money, you've still committed a crime. The crime is in the demand - not the reception of the demanded money, product, or service.

Therefore, the testimony we heard yesterday, and will hear in the future, is designed to build a narrative around the crime, that this was unprecedented, that this was wrong, that career diplomats (who have likely seen a lot of things in their years of service) were agog and aghast. Strong-arming smaller, weaker, more vulnerable countries is not what this country is supposed to be about.

We shall not abide a petty tyrant as a ruler - we said as much in our Declaration of Independence.
 

14 comments (Latest Comment: 11/14/2019 20:04:28 by Scoopster)
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