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Opinion Opinions | So this is why Trump doesn’t want officials to testify

06:01  05 november  2019
06:01  05 november  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Analysis: How 'do us a favor' led to Trump impeachment inquiry

  Analysis: How 'do us a favor' led to Trump impeachment inquiry How we got here is something of a play in three acts, involving machinations by Ukrainians, Trump and Democrats in turn, with the fourth act to be written. ___THE BLACK EARTHUkraine is a land of dark, fertile soil where corruption and assorted American conspiracy theories have taken root along with the wheat and cabbage. Trump's preoccupation with Joe Biden and his son Hunter flourished there.A true if flawed democracy on Russia's doorstep, Ukraine in 2014 ushered out a pro-Russian leader who tolerated corruption and replaced him with an anti-Russian leader who tolerated somewhat less corruption.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Now we see why the Trump administration doesn’t want officials to testify in the impeachment inquiry.

Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) released the first batch of transcripts Monday from the closed-door depositions, including that of Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine removed from her post by President Trump at the urging of his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Impeachment inquiry: How we got here and where we're going

  Impeachment inquiry: How we got here and where we're going How a phone call and a request for a favor moved the nation closer to the possibility of seeing a president impeachedThose words have now prompted deployment of the ultimate political weapon, an impeachment process enshrined in the Constitution as a means other than the ballot to remove a president from office.

If this is a sign of what’s to come, Republicans will soon regret forcing Democrats to make impeachment proceedings public. Over 10 hours, the transcript shows, they stumbled about in search of a counter-narrative to her damning account.

Yovanovitch detailed a Hollywood-ready tale about how Giuliani and two of his now-indicted goons hijacked U.S. foreign policy as part of a clownish consortium that also included Sean Hannity and a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor. Their mission: to oust the tough-on-corruption U.S. ambassador who threatened to frustrate Giuliani’s plans to get Ukraine to come up with compromising material on Joe Biden and the Democratic Party.

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Bolton willing to defy White House and testify if court clears the way, according to people familiar with his views

  Bolton willing to defy White House and testify if court clears the way, according to people familiar with his views The former national security adviser is expected to confirm his deep alarm about the Ukraine pressure campaign, they said.

Mike Pompeo has a cameo as the feckless secretary of state who refuses to stand up for his diplomat out of fear of setting off an unstable Trump. It all culminated in a 1 a.m. call from State’s personnel director telling Yovanovitch to get on the next flight out of Kyiv. Why? “She said, ‘I don’t know, but this is about your security. You need to come home immediately.’ ”

Yovanovitch, overcome with emotion at one point in her testimony, said she later learned that the threat to her security was from none other than Trump, who, State officials feared, would attack her on Twitter if she didn’t flee Ukraine quickly.

Confronted with this Keystone Kops way of governing, Republicans didn’t really attempt to defend Trump’s actions. Instead, they pursued one conspiracy theory after another involving the Bidens, George Soros, the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton, the Obama administration, deep state social-media “tracking” and mishandling classified information. They ate up a good chunk of time merely complaining that Yovanovitch’s opening statement had been made public (which under the rules was allowed).

House GOP asks for Hunter Biden and whistleblower to testify in impeachment probe

  House GOP asks for Hunter Biden and whistleblower to testify in impeachment probe Democrats are expected to reject many, if not all, of the witnesses that the Republicans want to call.

“Ambassador,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) interjected, “are you aware of anyone connected to you that might have given that to The Washington Post?”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) interjected: “Did you talk to the State Department about the possibility of releasing your opening statement to the press?”

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) jumped in: “Ambassador Yovanovitch, do you believe that it is appropriate for your opening statement to be provided to The Washington Post?”

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: impeachmentdiary© Jabin Botsford/Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post impeachmentdiary But Trump will need more than complaints about leaks to counter the narrative that Yovanovitch — and others — have documented.

Ukrainian officials had told her to “watch [her] back” because Yuri Lutsenko, a Ukrainian prosecutor with an unsavory reputation, was “looking to hurt” her and had several meetings with Giuliani toward that end. Lutsenko “was not pleased” that she continued to push for cleaning up Lutsenko’s office, and he tried to meet with Trump’s Justice Department to spread misinformation about her — including the now-recanted falsehood that she had given him a “do-not-prosecute list.”

Read George Kent Full Opening Statement at the First Public Hearing in Trump’s Impeachment Inquiry

  Read George Kent Full Opening Statement at the First Public Hearing in Trump’s Impeachment Inquiry The U.S. State Department official with decades of experience in Ukraine policy appeared Wednesday morning before the House Intelligence Committee. Both officials have expressed alarm in previous closed-door testimonies about Trump’s conduct with regards to Ukraine — highlighting allegations that he pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rival, Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden, and used his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to subvert normal diplomatic channels in this pursuit.

She testified that wary Ukrainian officials knew as early as January or February that Giuliani was seeking damaging information on the Bidens and the Democrats — perhaps in exchange for Trump’s endorsement of the then-president’s reelection.

When Yovanovitch was attacked by Giuliani and Donald Trump Jr., among others, she asked for Pompeo to make a statement supporting her, but he didn’t do it because it might be “undermined” by a presidential tweet. (Pompeo did, apparently, have a private conversation asking Hannity to cease his attack on her.) Instead of support, she got career advice: Tweet nice things about Trump.

Notably, Republicans didn’t respond to her testimony by trying to make Trump’s behavior look good; they probed for ways to make Yovanovitch look bad.

They suggested she was part of a diplomatic conspiracy to monitor Trump allies such as Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs and Sebastian Gorka. They probed for damaging details on the Bidens (“Were you aware of just how much money Hunter Biden was getting paid by Burisma?”) and for ways to damage her credibility (“What was the closest that you’ve worked with Vice President Biden?”). Maybe Ukraine really did try to help Hillary Clinton in 2016, they posited. Maybe Ukrainian officials were “trying to sabotage Trump.” They asked if she ever said anything that might have led somebody to “infer a negative connotation regarding” Trump.

Taylor testifies he was told Trump cared more about 'investigations' than Ukraine

  Taylor testifies he was told Trump cared more about 'investigations' than Ukraine William Taylor said U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland told a member of his staff in July that President Trump cared more about an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden than he did about Ukraine. Taylor described the conversation relayed to him last week by a member of his staff during his opening remarks at the first hearing in the House impeachment inquiry on Wednesday.

Meadows, struggling mightily to prove some wrongdoing by Yovanovitch, found he couldn’t pronounce the names he had been given — so he spelled them out. “I’m sorry, I’m not Ukrainian,” he said.

“Neither am I,” she replied.

No, she’s what threatens Trump most: an honest American.

Read more from Dana Milbank:

Republicans convene the cult of Trump

This impeachment process is totally infair to Republicans

Suddenly Ken Starr doesn’t like impeachment so much

Trump’s newest impeachment defense was devised by … Al Gore?

A shame Trump canceled his subscription. Here’s a perfect impeachment defense.

Interested in following Dana Milbank’s take on the impeachment inquiry? Sign up here to receive future installments by email.

Takeaways so far from House public impeachment hearings .
In several hours of testimony, and even bickering among lawmakers, some memorable moments have emerged. In several hours of testimony, and even bickering among lawmakers, some memorable moments have emerged.

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