The fact that Donald Trump has now been impeached (despite what the loons on Fox News say), hasn’t slowed the discovery of new evidence of his guilt. This is one of the reasons that it’s so important to ensure a comprehensive consideration of the Articles of Impeachment when they get transmitted to the Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knows this, and so do the vast majority of Americans who favor a full and fair hearing, including witnesses and document production.
The impeachment controversy has sparked as epic battle between Pelosi and the Senate’s GOP majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who has already announced that he has no intention of conducting a fair hearing and will be “taking his cues” from White House lawyers. In the meantime, new evidence has already emerged that appears to be profoundly damaging to Trump:
This email from Michael Duffey—approximately 90 minutes after President Trump’s call with the president of Ukraine—is all the more reason why we need Duffey and others to testify in a Senate trial.
The “sensitive nature”? What is that about? pic.twitter.com/P6kNKEfIOV
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 21, 2019
That’s right. Less than two hours after Trump got off the phone with President Zelensky of Ukraine, he ordered the Defense Department to withhold military aid to a country that was being invaded at the time by Russia. The order included a directive to keep it quiet due to it’s “sensitive nature.”
Trump is fond of telling everyone to “read the transcript” of his phone call with Zelensky. He’s tweeted that demand 29 times in the past few weeks. Most recently, yesterday. He is referring to reading the notes made in a memo that describes his conversation with Zelensky. And he is apparently too oblivious to recognize that the memo actually confirms that he conditioned military aid on Zelensky’s promise to help him smear Joe Biden. What Trump said, in response to Zelensky’s inquiry about the aid, was…
“I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.”
That’s a textbook quid pro quo. Trump then talks about getting some information related to a debunked conspiracy theory about a computer server that belonged to the Democratic National Committee. But he quickly segues from that to explicit requests for dirt on Joe Biden:
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with [Rudy Giuliani and] the Attorney General [William Barr] would be great … so if you can look into it.”
This new memo was acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Center for Public Integrity. It is among the documents that the White House had previously refused to surrender to congressional investigators. There are many more that Trump continues to withhold. And he is still refusing to allow his staff to give testimony.
But if there’s one thing this memo proves, it’s that there is a real need to continue probing this criminal president and the accomplices in his administration. And when the Senate takes up the impeachment, they must permit the introduction of new evidence and testimony from relevant witnesses. The truth will likely come out eventually, anyway. But if Republicans in Congress allow Trump to deny access to it at this stage, they will be held accountable by both the courts and the voters.
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