Despite a torrent of detail from witnesses, the heart of the matter probed by the House impeachment inquiry has now become manifest. It is, clearly: Corruption.
Our corrupt president, Donald J. Trump, ignoring his oath to protect and defend the Constitution, abused his power as leader of the most powerful country on earth, by exacting from a less powerful country (Ukraine) a personal, non-state objective, one enabling his own re-election and retaining power: dirt on his potential Democratic rival, Joe Biden.
We see how this corruption works, thanks to testimony of career diplomats and national security officials, to the expert guidance of House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff, to skillful interrogation by House Democrats.
What do we see? We see Trump’s ask couched as a “favor.” We see Trump’s henchman (personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani) pursue this favor outside the official diplomatic channels. We see this favor solidify into a quid pro quo: Though Trump insists there was no quid pro quo, his conditioning of the release of $400 million in military aid vital to Ukraine in its hot war with Russia upon Ukraine’s investigation into Biden and his son is the very essence of quid pro quo. Fact trumps vocabulary.
We also see — astonishingly, in real time — witness intimidation, when Trump tweets derogatory comments during the testimony of former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Asked by Chairman Schiff what she thought the effect of Trump’s message might be on other witnesses, she said “intimidating.” Appropriately, Schiff assured her the Committee takes witness intimidation seriously.
And, true to the dynamics of a smaller country finding itself on the downside of power, the Ukrainian leadership “came to understand” exactly what Trump meant as a favor, per a front-page story in The Washington Post.
What else is this but extortion, bribery, mafia tactics — in a word, corruption?
None of this behavior is, by any stretch, normal or permissible in a democracy. Yet the Trump White House and its Republican minions in Congress maintain that what Trump was actually aiming to do with his Ukraine ask was in furtherance of his own “anti-corruption” policy. The absurdity! Trump the Corrupt, the champion of anti-corruption? If Trump is so keen on fighting corruption, why did he fire Ambassador Yovanovitch, who made her name fighting corruption in over 30…