Trump’s Senate Trial Defense Gets Script Re-write
We’re now in a new phase of the long running GOP / Trumpservative Media defense of the indefensible. Up until the end of last week, the objections to the House Articles of Impeachment – particularly the portion of it having to do with Trump’s having used the power of his office to attempt to strong arm a foreign leader into providing him oppo research – centered around a small handful of narratives.
One counter argument summarizes that “Democrats are trying to nullify the results of the (2016) election.” This took the form of the following from the legal brief from the White House lining out what we’re heard from Trump’s defense team since Saturday of last week:
“Anyone having the most basic respect for the sovereign will of the American people would shudder at the enormity of casting a vote to impeach a duly elected President. … House Democrats were determined from the outset to find some way — any way — to corrupt the extraordinary power of impeachment for use as a political tool to overturn the result of the 2016 election and to interfere in the 2020 election.”
The pendulum swung between that talking point, paraphrased into bumper sticker length by countless GOP members of the House and Senate, to the essential proposition that, “so what if he did it?” – i.e., whatever Trump did in pursuit of information on the Bidens in the category of corruption, was within legal boundaries of his role as president. It was a “perfect call and the president said so – case closed”.
For good measure, there was still a bit of “we need to question the whistleblower”, thrown in to thicken the fog of obfuscation. There was a certain stasis to that, insomuch as Republican and Democrat voters maintained their battlelines as indicated by various opinion polls.
This was despite the fact that there had emerged an avalanche of evidence from the House impeachment inquiry, clearly establishing that Trump was directing a shadow foreign policy operation from the Oval Office.
The media interviews and documentation (still seeping out) from Rudy Giuliani operatives Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, contradicted Trump’s denials in the strongest terms possible. The GOP and the Trump media circus, nevertheless steadfastly continued to brand everyone that has come forward as liars and Trump as a victim.
This continued even after audio recordings were released with Trump referring to U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, telling Parnas and Fruman to “take her out!”.
In any era of normalcy, Trump’s presidency would have been over several months ago.
We’re not living in an era of normalcy. Instead we’re living in an era in which a sizable segment of the voting eligible population in America is determined to cling to a man who is arguably the head of the widest, most pervasive crime syndicate ever to infest the White House.
The Trump defense team made numerous claims in their opening presentation in the Senate trial to the effect that there existed no direct evidence to support the assertion that Trump enforced a quid pro quo on Ukraine – “direct evidence” defined as a first person account of Trump having stated this objective in specific terms.
One example, was this from deputy White House counsel Mike Purpura, “Not a single witness testified that the president himself said that there was any connection between any investigations and security assistance, a presidential meeting, or anything else.”
The tactical basis for following this script was to enable Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to provide cover for at least 51 GOP Senators to proceed directly to an acquittal vote and turn Trump loose to do his “victory laps”.
That was all before this weekend, when the New York Times, published a report on a soon to be released book, “The Room Where It Happened – A White House Memoir”, from former Trump Administration National Security Advisor John Bolton.
The New York Times cited Bolton’s account in the book detailing how Trump disclosed to him that the release of congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine was contingent on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, directing an investigation on Trump’s election opponent Joe Biden and Biden’s son, Hunter.
The landscape has changed dynamically for Trump’s apologia brigade. Yes, some continue to maintain that if Trump did as Bolton’s book discloses, that there is nothing at all wrong with it, it’s not illegal conduct and it’s not impeachable.
When you boil it down to its absurd essence, it’s not only impossible to indict a sitting president, it’s impossible for him to actually commit a crime in the course of his activities. That’s virtually impossible to sustain with any but the hardest core Trump zombie voters, so now, in the last 36 to 48 hours, we’re seeing some previews of where the line of scrimmage to defend Trump, will be moved.
On the Monday broadcast of Fox News daily AM Trump scandal fire extinguisher (which doesn’t actually work) – “Fox and Friends”, co-host Brian Kilmeade summed up the hour’s discussion about the Bolton book revelations, with this:
“I will say this. I will say the President should take from this, between the Lev [Parnas] and Igor [Fruman] tapes that are now out, and then people writing books about him, he’s got to do better a job vetting his staff to find out if they actually want to work for him or not. Or if they actually want to leak out information about him. So he’s got to do a better job hiring people.”
So, now the defensive formation comes down to the idea that Trump’s conduct is not the problem, it’s the people who didn’t understand that their job was to cover for the president and keep their mouth’s shut like good little puppets. That’s the only indiscretion – Trump not being shrewd enough to hire people who would hide his crimes at any cost – and that includes an incredibly long list of people.
If that wasn’t sufficient, we’re now hearing that John Bolton is a “traitor” and a “tool of the left”. No kidding, really. John Bolton is now in the enemy column of the conservative media writ large along with other distinguished individuals including Lt Col. Alexander Vindman and Ambassador William Taylor .
Tucker Carlson mentioned a poem Trump used to recite on the campaign trail about a woman and a snake. In that bit of doggerel, we learn that the woman’s compassion for the snake is misplaced and when after rescuing him, the snake bites her, he tells her that “I’m a snake, that’s what we do.”
Carlson then proceeds to draw a comparison between Bolton and the fictional snake. “Republicans in Washington tonight seem shocked to discover that John Bolton has turned and betrayed his former boss President Trump. But they shouldn’t be shocked. That’s who John Bolton is. That’s who John Bolton has always been. That’s what John Bolton does.”
Particularly amusing is Rudy Giuliani’s tweet about Bolton. “There is no way in the world President Trump would say this to John Bolton. It’s a shame that a man will sacrifice his integrity to make a few bucks on a book. No wonder he accomplished so little as National Security Advisor.”
Imagine Rudy Giuliani pointing out someone beside himself as having ‘sacrificed his integrity’. Then again, it’s an open question as to whether Giuliani ever had any to begin with. Besides that, it’s not as though Giuliani has possibly acted as the point man of an illegal operation designed to influence the outcome of an election or that he has made a total fool of himself doing so. Oh, no.
According to Lou Dobbs, who of course, always has a rational angle on how Trump’s corruption’s are merely inventions of Democrats – Ambassador Bolton is mobbed up with Mitt Romney in a conspiracy to steal Trump’s presidency.
Don’t believe me? Watch the video for yourself.
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