House impeachment managers yesterday began laying out the case for President Trump's impeachment and his White House attorneys responded, not with facts to dispute their case, but with blusters and flat-out lies.
Today, those House impeachment managers have gone into excruciating detail to present their evidence and examine the famous July 25th phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump asked that country's rookie president, a former comedian, to do him a favor and investigate his political rival, Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter.
(Note: Trump tweeted again yesterday 'READ THE TRANSRIPT'. Here it is for your convenience.)
It is that call and the subsequent withholding of nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine (the quid pro quo) that is at the heart of the abuse of power charge against Trump. In fact, it was revealed today that the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) prepared to freeze that aid the day before Trump's call.
It also was revealed today that Republican senators, who now sit as jurors in the impeachment trial, were unhappy with Trump's freezing of that Congressionally approved aid to Ukraine. Will that make a difference now? Probably not. Sen. Rand Paul says 45 Republican senators are ready to acquit, more than enough to get Trump off the hook.
Yesterday, faced with facts they could not refute, what did Trump's stellar team of attorneys do? Here's how Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank brilliantly put it this morning:
They shouted. They spouted invective. They launched personal attacks against the impeachment managers. But they offered virtually nothing in defense of the president’s conduct, nor anything but a passing reference to Ukraine.
“These Articles of Impeachment … are not only ridiculous, they are dangerous to our republic,” declared (White House Counsel Pat) Cipollone.
“It's ridiculous,” he added.
“It's ridiculous! It's ridiculous,” he repeated, for those who may have missed the point.
“They’re here to steal two elections — it’s buried in the small print of their ridiculous articles of impeachment,” he alleged.
Cipollone closed with a request to “end this ridiculous charade.”
But he didn’t rest his case there. He and his colleagues built on this playground-worthy argument: “Outrageous!” “No crime!” “No case!” “False allegations!” “Concocted!” “Hypocrisy!” “They don’t have the guts!” “A complete fake!”
Here were the president’s men, in the flesh, occupying a factual universe all their own. “The president was not allowed to have a lawyer present” in House proceedings, said the presidential lawyers who refused to be present in House proceedings.
“They ask you to trample on executive privilege,” they said, even though Trump hasn’t invoked executive privilege.
The impeachment managers have “evidence … that we haven’t been allowed to see,” said the White House officials who blocked the release of all documents.
(Underlining added for emphasis)
What is Unfair?
Clearly, those lawyers are doing the bidding of Donald Trump, the master of deception, the king of turning lies into alternative facts. Yes, their turn will come to refute, in detail, the charges against Trump-- if they can. But so far, no evidence that would do that has been evident, and during the House impeachment hearings, nothing was provided except complaint after complaint that the process was unfair to Trump.
But what is unfair to the American people is the refusal of the White House to release documents pertinent to the case, documents that have been subpoenaed by Congressional investigators, and its refusal to allow witnesses, such as former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who famously said he did not intend to be a part of Trump's "drug deal", to testify.
As the proceedings continue, we'll see if the Republican-controlled Senate allows those witnesses to be called. If they do not, the only fair question to ask is this: Why not? What do they have to hide?
After all, innocent people do not hide exculpatory facts or witnesses in any trial -- let alone one in which the presidency of the United States of America is at stake.