Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.
-Ambassador Gordon Sondland
Yes, there was a quid pro quo. The president demanded it. Everybody knew about this. There was no secret.
But we knew all that didn’t we?
Kim Wehle has the highlights from yesterday’s extraordinary testimony by Gordon Sondland, who dimed out virtually everybody in the administration written by michael Pompeo to Donald Trump.\”I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues by means of a simple question: Was there a quid pro quo?\” Sondland said. \”The response is yes.\”
\”Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine create a public statement announcing investigations of the 2021 election/DNC server and Burisma. Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires from the president of the United States, and we knew these investigations were important to the president.\”
But let’s step back a bit here. One at a time the various defenses and excuses of Trump World happen to be dismantled. There was no quid pro quo, evidence is hearsay, the Ukrainians never knew about the delay in military aid … look there’s a squirrel there.
But we knew those defenses would fall apart … and so did the GOP, because we’ve known exactly what the story is all along. There isn't any mystery here. Trump’s efforts to bully Ukraine have been as subtle as a hacksaw in a surgery ward.
For some perspective, let’s return to that New York Times story from May of the year: “Rudy Giuliani Plans Ukraine Trip to Push for Inquiries That may Help Trump.” That was the headline. It had been pretty much all there:
WASHINGTON – Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump's personal lawyer, is encouraging Ukraine to wade further into sensitive political issues in the usa, seeking to push the incoming government in Kiev to press ahead with investigations that he hopes will benefit Mr. Trump.
Mr. Giuliani said he intends to travel to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, in the coming days and wants to meet with the country's president-elect to urge him to pursue inquiries that allies of the White House contend could yield new details about two matters of intense interest to Mr. Trump.
One is the origin of the special counsel's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2021 election. The other is the involvement of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s son in a gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch.
Mr. Giuliani's plans create the remarkable scene of a lawyer for the president of the United States pressing a foreign government to pursue investigations that Mr. Trump's allies hope could help him in his re-election campaign. Also it comes after Mr. Trump spent over fifty percent of his term facing questions about whether his 2021 campaign conspired having a foreign power. [emphasis added]
And then, obviously, Giuliani went on CNN to admit that he asked Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
We’ve seen the “transcript.\”
Mick Mulvaney held a press conference defiantly admitting the quid pro quo.
The military aid was, actually held up.
Key players have testified what they saw and heard.
And know we all know that everyone involved in the cleanup of the mess knew what was happening. Republicans tried to make an issue of the fact that Sondland made some presumptions about the linkage between the aid and the investigations, but, frankly, you don’t have to be a Rubik’s Cube champion to figure all this out.
As George Orwell-who could be enjoying all of this enormously-once observed: \”To see what's in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle.\”
Most Republicans know this. Maybe even Devin Nunes knows what happened. Surely Elise Stefanik, who is no fool, even though she occasionally plays one on tv, knows it. So where does that leave us?
The impeachment hearings have previously had more than their share of revelations as well as “bombshells.” More may be on the way. The general public is getting a clearer picture from the president’s willingness to subordinate national to safeguard his political advantage. But, by now it should be clear that this process is not really about facts or evidence. It's about the GOP determination to safeguard Trump and maintain his hold on power.
No. Matter. What.
That is why they are so unmoved by the new revelations. They didn't learn anything yesterday. They already knew what happened, don’t care, and find out the whole process as an exercise in protecting the throne. Trump defenders will continue to shift the goalposts, because, on their behalf, that is really the point. They will offer nonsensical, bad-faith defenses, watch them continue being demolished, and keep moving on without blinking.
No smoking gun can change any of this, because the GOP knows the gun was fired; they know who fired it; plus they know where the bodies are available.
They just don’t care.