Robert F. Jakubowicz: Case closed on impeachment of Trump
PITTSFIELD — President Donald Trump, the winner of my turkey of the year award, would have chauffeured those past and present members of his administration that he ordered not to testify before Congress regarding the Ukrainian matter to rebut the testimony presented to the House Intelligence Committee if they had any reliable evidence to argue against impeachment. Instead they made up a false story based on allegations without facts to try to exonerate the president of any misconduct.
Based on the evidence so far, mainly offered by the White House and federal officials from Trump's administration presented at the congressional hearings, there should be no question that a case has been made that the president abused his power for his benefit by withholding almost $400 million of aid to Ukraine in exchange for a public statement by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that Joe Biden and his son were being investigated there for corruption. The White House had produced the key piece of evidence to make that case with its disclosure of the summary of the fateful July 25 telephone conversation between Trump and the Ukrainian president. The basics for this quid pro quo, bribery, extortion or whatever one wants to call this misconduct by Trump are in that summary.
In this call, Zelenskiy tells Trump that his nation is preparing to acquire more American anti-tank weapons to defend itself. His nation is under attack by the Russians. Trump had put an unexplained hold on the delivery of the aid that was ready to be sent to the Ukraine. He seeks a favor specifically about an investigation of what Trump calls bad things in the Ukraine and corruption by the Bidens. Trump then wants Zelenskiy to meet with White House lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr concerning these matters. Trump now claims Giuliani was acting on his own in the Ukraine.
The congressional hearing included a great deal of convincing testimony to debunk the fictitious narrative by Trump and his supporters that no presidential misconduct took place and which corroborated and filled in the obvious story of Trump's abuse of power. Gordon Sondland, Trump's ambassador to the European Union, tied the aid package as being predicated on the investigation of Trump's political rival Biden to a plan that came from Trump directly as "two plus two equals four." David Holmes, a staffer at the State Department, testified he overheard Trump in a telephone conversation with Sondland wanting to know if Zelenskiy would agree to this plan. Fiona Hill, a former Security Council Official and Russian expert in the Trump administration, told the Republican members of the congressional committee to stop spreading the Russian "fictional narrative" they created to divide America. The Republican members of the committee offered no credible evidence to rebut the testimony heard by the committee.
Nevertheless, during the hearings, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Ca.) repeated his uncorroborated message that Trump was totally innocent. He described the allegations against the president as just another attempt to remove him from office by bad Democrats, the fake news media, and hidden deep state bureaucrats. Again, he and his fellow Republicans on the committee offered no credible evidence to exonerate Trump other than denials by the president.
The tone of the questioning at the hearing by the GOP members was exemplified by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) who raised his voice to point out that the person who caused this hearing was the whistleblower and the Democrats refuse to have him testify. This prompted one of the Democrats on the committee to retort that the person who caused this hearing was the president and he was not making himself available. The lawyer for the Republicans on the committee even had the audacity to question the patriotism of a decorated army officer, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, for voicing his concerns about this matter.
Republicans are trying to make the question of whether there was impeachable misconduct by Trump as one between a completely innocent, infallible and know-it-all president versus an evil, political empire of Democrats, journalists, government bureaucrats, and unpatriotic Americans. That is a ridiculous and most Americans with any common sense should understand this. The actual question is whether the president committed impeachable acts by his role in the Ukrainian incident which was disclosed with credible evidence before the congressional hearing? At this point, based on the evidence so far presented to Congress, I think he did.
Barring credible evidence in the impeachment process to vindicate Trump and for the sake of American democracy, I hope enough voters will think the same way as I do and will cast negative votes against Trump in the upcoming presidential election if he is not impeached and removed from office.
Robert "Frank" Jakubowicz is a regular contributor to The Eagle
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