As a trial lawyer, I think I would like my chances trying this case of impeachment before just about any jury but the GOP Senate who will nullify the House’s articles no matter what. That doesn’t mean the House shouldn’t vote the articles (including contempt of congress). In fact, I believe they must. Will it help/hurt the election? Some things don’t matter – this is not perjury about some sex scandal in the oval office. This is withholding Congressionally approved aid and trying to get a foreign nation to help in a domestic political campaign. I watched most of the hearings, they were not boring or manufactured to me. A few simple witnesses laid out a perfectly clear timeline of corruption of our systems and policy. ICYMI here it is for you:
(1)Trump’s Ambassador to the EU confirmed that Trump has never cared about Ukrainian sovereignty, democracy, rule of law, or the war with Russia. He cares only about things that have to do with him personally
(2) He stated on the WH lawn and in the Oval Office that he sees no problem with getting information from a foreign nation about a political opponent. He saw an opportunity in Ukraine. He engaged Giuliani to explore it This greatly disturbed the delicate systems OUR foreign service had in place in this delicate region.
(3)Several months ago, Giuliani began to court Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuri Lutsenko with the goal of opening investigations into Burisma/Biden. The aim was clear — find/fabricate dirt on VP Biden, at the time the leading Democratic candidate in the 2020 election.
(4)Giuliani also wanted Lutsenko to investigate “Ukrainian meddling” in the 2016 US presidential election. The goal — deflect attention from the ACTUAL Russian intervention in 2016 & thereby strengthen legitimacy of Trump victory in 2016. This theory had been first put out into space by PUTIN and as Fiona Hill testified had long been debunked by OUR foreign service and intelligence community. As she stated, advancing this theory tremendously helped PUTIN.
(5)Lutsenko despised US Amb Yovanovitch – a career diplomat with a sterling record who had been key in Ukraine diplomacy and in making sure Ukraine had met anti-corruption goals.. In this first quid pro quo, Giuliani got Yovanovitch fired in return for Lutsenko’s agreement to open these investigations. Things were on track for the Trump/Giuliani plan.
(6)But then electoral politics in Ukraine intervened. Zelensky – a reform candidate who was not a sure fire winner was elected president, and Lutsenko’s boss, Poroshenko, lost. Lutsenko eventually lost his position. So Giuliani’s first play failed.
(7) Zelensky was a new , inexperienced president in Ukraine. He wanted to bolster his standing in the community and desperately wanted a personal WH meeting with Trump.
(8)Trump took advantage, demanding investigations into Burisma/Biden and “Ukraine 2016 meddling” in return for an Oval office bilateral meeting with Zelensky. He drafted new actors — the 3 amigos Sondland, Volker and Pompeo– to work with Guiliani and achieve these “deliverables” for 2020. He instructed them to “talk with Rudy” if they needed info and direction.
(9) In his call to Zelensky on July 25th, Trump bluntly asked for Zelensky to “do us a favor” — opening these investigations. In other words, Trump was asking a foreign government to help his reelection campaign. Almost all on the call were shocked and several reported the issue to WH attorneys and others.
(10) $400+Million in US Military aid had been approved by Congress to help Ukraine fight off Russia. It was trapped in a bitter “hot” war with Russia which had invaded and occupied Ukrainian territory. The previous money allocated had run out and this new tranche was needed immediately to help continue Ukraine’s efforts.
(11) Trump then upped the ante and froze U.S. military assistance to Ukraine. The entire intelligence and foreign service community was struggling to understand why it was held up. Testimony and emails show that Pompeo knew it was held up at the direction of Mick Mulvaney and POTUS. Mulvaney admitted this in a press conference. Sondland told Ukranian officials in a WH meeting with Hill and Amb. John Bolton who was then the National Security adviser to POTUS. Bolton immediately ends the meeting and tells everyone but Hill to get out. He tells Hill to report this to WH attorneys and to tell them that he will not be part of “whatever drug deal” is being cooked up.
(12) Zelensky was ready to acquiesce to this quid pro quo and arranged to announce the opening of these investigations on Fareed Zakaria’s CNN show.
(13) In a call to Sondland who was then in a Kyiv cafe with David Holmes -and on an unsecure phone – POTUS repeatedly asked if Zelensky was going to announce the investigations. Sondland told him “Yes. He loves your ass and will do whatever you want.” Holmes hears this and asks Sondland what Trump thinks about Ukraine policy. Sondland tells him Trump only cares about big things that have to do with him and does not give a shit about Ukraine.
(14) By now folks are already discussing the ramifications of the July 25 call when the whistleblower stepped up and reported it to Congress.
(15) Trump panicked and released the aid which by then had been held up 55 days.
(16) Trump then told Sondland on September 9th he didn’t want anything from Ukraine anymore.
(17) But the impeachable offenses had already been committed Trump used his public office the most powerful office in the world- to pursue his private electoral interests. Or as Hill said a “Domestic political errand” That’s the definition of abuse of power.
(18) To get what he wanted from a weaker head of state who was our ally in need, Trump withheld military assistance to a US partner at war with Russia. (14,000 people have died). This was extortion You want to call it attempted extortion or attempted bribery OK but I do not see it as an attempt. It was a completed act because the aid was withheld and the announcement was scheduled. Were it not for the whistleblower Zelensky would have gone on CNN and done as he had been told.
(19) POTUS asked a foreign govt to investigate a private American citizen, even though there is zero evidence of any wrongdoing by Hunter Biden.(Trump never expressed any interest in anti-corruption in Ukraine generally; nor did he use proper channels to pursue.) That’s abuse of power. But its also FELONY HYPOCRISY. All of his children except Tiffany and Barron have used the WH for their personal financial gain.
(20) POTUS and his henchmen only stopped running the extortion/coercion/”drug deal” after they were caught. (And most witnesses only came forward to testify after the whistleblower exposed this abuse of power)
(21) He has also instructed other key witnesses not to testify including Mulvaney, Bolton and Pompeo. He did not let Sondland see his documents and emails before Sondland’s testimony. That’s abuse of power and contempt of Congress.
As a middle-school students we closely watched the Watergate hearings and impeachment inquiry. This is 100 times worse. This goes to the very foundation of our system that foreign policy be conducted through proper channels and not be used to extract leverage against a political opponent. Will he be convicted by the Senate – of course not. McConnell will never let it happen. So what? This has to be done on the full record in the Senate and let the chips fall where they may. But this President is corrupt; he has corrupted our system; he has corrupted our foreign policy; he has endangered the people of Ukraine; he has played into the hands of Vladimir Putin; he has belittled and demeaned the office. He must be impeached.