Ever since texts from the behind-the-scenes State Department efforts to induce Ukraine into investigating President Donald Trump’s political opponents were released, it’s been clear that the House’s impeachment inquiry desperately needed to hear from acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor.
While much of what is publicly known about the Trump administration’s machinations with Ukraine is already impeachable, texts sent by Taylor, first provided to the House by U.S. envoy Kurt Volker, showed an even darker scheme at work. And they also suggested that Taylor, of all the people involved in the efforts, was most alarmed about and willing to speak out with regard to Trump’s wrongdoing. In one particularly memorable text, Taylor told another official of Trump’s Ukraine plot: “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” This implicated the president directly in criminal, and undoubtedly impeachable, activity.
With Taylor set to appear at a closed session of Congress on Tuesday, expectations for his testimony were high. And while his comments have not yet been made public as of this writing, Democrats were already sending strong indications that his testimony was explosive, with one lawmaker calling it “incredibly damaging to the president.”
Republicans, too, were sending corresponding signals of panic for their own side — though these indications were far more muted.
Perhaps most significant of all, the Trump administration tried to stop Taylor’s testimony from moving forward on Tuesday, just as it has tried to stop other hearings from proceeding, according to CNN’s Manu Raju. Democrats in Congress responded by issuing a subpoena, and Taylor agreed to testify. But the efforts to block his appearance show that Republicans are worried about what he has to say. If they thought his testimony would actually explain away his texts as less damning than they appear, Republicans would have been delighted to have the hearings move forward.
And as the hearings proceeded Tuesday and Democrats made clear in various vague public comments that Taylor’s testimony was a trainwreck for the president, Republicans’ vigorous defenses of the president were nowhere to be found.
Instead, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio — typically a strong defender of the president willing to twist every trivial detail of a proceeding into a vindication for Trump — only praised the GOP counsel in the hearings, according to Politico’s Kyle Cheney. Cheney described the Republicans in the hearing as “tight-lipped.” He reported that New York Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin said that Democrats who think Taylor’s testimony is damning must have missed the previous depositions — suggesting that he took the testimony of other witnesses, some of whom were, from all appearances, complicit in Trump’s schemes, at face value.
But these meager defenses just showed the even Republicans recognized that Taylor’s testimony was as damaging to Trump as the Democrats claimed and that they’re struggling to find some way to spin the facts in the president’s favor.
Trump’s dangerous mental condition grows worse as America faces devastating crises: Yale psychiatrist
A nation most afflicted with a mental health problem is the least likely to address it. I am speaking of the mental health, or lack thereof, of the president. His psychological impairments have been deadly through action and inaction, and are now promoting police brutality through pronouncements such as, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” while marking protesters as “thugs”.
Trump’s new order: Lawlessness mixed with brutal clampdown
Despite headlines and news reports replete with loaded terms like "looting" and "riots," the real story of this past weekend was not the behavior of people on the streets protesting police violence. It was a story of numerous local police departments, emboldened by a wannabe fascist president, turning brownshirt against the ordinary people they are supposedly there to serve and protect. Make no mistake about it: This is a police uprising against American citizens. That's the true narrative.
As my colleagues at Salon spent the weekend documenting, the police assaulted, arrested, shot and gassed journalists, and even ran over peaceful protesters in an outburst of rage at the public for objecting to unchecked police power. In doing so, they were, egged on by Donald Trump. Police in Minneapolis set the tone by using tear gas against peaceful protesters on Tuesday, and ever since cops across the country have been doing everything they could to shift the headlines away from "protest" to "riots" by attacking protesters until they fight back or turn to property destruction.
#BunkerBoy Trump mocked for telling mayors and governors ‘most of you are weak’ after reports he hid from protesters
President Donald Trump lashed out at mayors and governors in a conference call about the protests across the nation in the wake of multiple deaths of unarmed people of color.
In the call, Trump told the leaders "most of you are weak," and then proceeded to tell them they must arrest and jail protesters for 10 years.
It was a comment that prompted many to mock the president because less than 24 hours earlier, Americans learned that Trump was rushed to the White House bunker on Friday, when just a few hundred protesters surrounded the building on Friday. As protests escalated Saturday and Sunday, the crowds grew larger and more hostile. It's unclear if Trump spent Saturday and Sunday night in the bunker as well.