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The first set of Impeachment Hearings is in the books and it was a bad day for Republicans as a national television audience watched as they acted like fools. The problem was that both witnesses Ambassador William Taylor along with George Kent, the deputy assistant for European and Eurasian affairs were calm and precise as they put forth the facts and they could not be pulled into the Impeachment debate by Democrats or Republicans.
Both Taylor and Kent are career members of the State Department. The duo served for multiple administrations under both Democratic and Republican administrations plus each man was asked by present Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to help the Trump Administration in their dealings with Ukraine.
Things began with House Intelligence Committee minority leader Devin Nunes (R-CA) attacking the credibility of the two witnesses before a single question was asked and then he spent most of the day throwing out a number of debunked theories as facts.
Later came Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) who tried to push a series of hollow narratives, in an attempt to confuse the audience with total nonsense. Jordan after contending that the witnesses were giving out hearsay testimony which he deemed not credible, only to ask that the whistleblower be forced to testify behind closed doors.
Congressman Jordan, clearly forgot that just less than a week ago he was on Fox News saying we should not worry about the whistleblower because the evidence they put forth to the Inspector General was hearsay. Also, could someone please lend the man a jacket?
Nunes, the top Republican on the panel opened with: “The Democrats cooperated in Ukrainian election meddling. … Officials showed a surprising lack of interest in the indications of Ukrainian election meddling that deeply concerned the president at whose pleasure they serve.”
The theory that Ukrainians interfered in the U.S. election and that Democrats cooperated in that effort is unsubstantiated. If U.S. officials showed a lack of interest in pursuing the matter, it’s because they considered it “fiction,” as one of the State Department put it according to the Washington Post.
President Trump himself was told by his officials that the theory was “completely debunked” long before the president pressed Ukraine to investigate it anyway, according to Tom Bossert, Trump’s first homeland security adviser. And in testimony at the closed-door hearings that preceded Wednesday’s public session, Fiona Hill, former special assistant to Trump on the National Security Council, said it was bogus.
“It is a fiction that the Ukrainian government was launching an effort to upend our election,” Hill testified. “I’m extremely concerned that this is a rabbit hole that we’re all going to go down in between now and the 2020 election, and it will be to all of our detriment.”
Broadly, the theory contends that a hack of the Democratic National Committee in 2016 was a setup designed to cast blame on Russia but actually cooked up by or with the help of Ukrainians. But the evidence points conclusively to Russia, not Ukraine according to members of Trump’s own DHS, FBI, CIA, and State Department.
Based on a security firm’s findings that Russian agents had broken into the Democrats’ network and stolen emails, special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 members of Russia’s military intelligence agency and concluded that their operation sought to help Trump’s candidacy, not Hillary Clinton’s, as the conspiracy theorists and Trump have it.
Jordan took up the point “The whistleblower was acknowledged to have a bias against President Trump.”
That may or may not be so. Whatever the whistleblower’s political beliefs, though, that official’s complaint was deemed credible by the inspector general who received it.
Moreover, the July 25 phone conversation described by the whistleblower closely tracked the account later released by the White House. It backed by both Taylor and Kent who filled in some of the blanks.
As a matter of fact, it was during that call that Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democrats, along with former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as a “favor.”
The defense that both Nunes and Jordan put up was that since the Ukrainians never investigated the Bidens and since after holding the money back they finally did give to Ukraine then all was good. Forget the fact that the Ukrainians were never going to investigate the Bidens or if somewhere in the country the DNC server was stashed away with Hillary Clinton’s emails.
That is like saying we thought about robbing the bank then put forth a plan to rob the bank and we were caught. But hey we should not go to jail because we never actually sole the money.
Also, both tried to pass off the role of President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Guliani working with members of the U.S. State Department as something that is normal. Both Taylor and Kent were quick to disagree that having
Guliani in Ukraine was problematic on many levels.
This was a bad day for the Republicans because they simply can’t dispute that President Trump wanted a favor from the Ukraine government, never got it and only after being forced to, gave the aid money that he withheld. He was not helped by “The Fools on The Hill,” Congressman Nunes and Jordan.
Let’s see if they do better on Friday.
This story was crafted with some help from Associated Press information via fact checks.