Benjamin Wittes, the editor in chief at Lawfare Blog and a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, has written a devastating analysis of the state of President Donald Trump's defense of his actions in the Ukraine scandal.
In his new piece, Wittes outlines how Trump's defense has "not just eroded or weakened, but been flattened like a sandcastle hit with a large wave."
Wittes begins by showing how Trump tried to argue that there was nothing wrong with him asking the leader of a foreign country to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden because he didn't explicitly tie it to military aid being sent to that country.
Wittes argues that simply asking the head of a foreign state to investigate a political opponent is damning and scandalous -- and now it's looking like there was an explicit quid pro quo.
"If there was a quid pro quo, we were told, it was the good kind of quid pro quo that happens all the time in foreign relations—except that, we now learn, it wasn’t that kind at all but the very corrupt kind instead," Wittes writes. "The Ukrainians didn’t even know that the president was holding up their military aid, we were told—except that, it turns out, they did know."
After this, Wittes takes on the final line of defense being made by the president's enablers: Namely, that what Trump did was inappropriate but does not rise to the level of impeachment.
"The president’s defense, in other words, has been reduced to raw political power; it is not a genuine examination of facts but rather a numbers game to assemble enough elected officials alligned with the president’s faction to refuse to look reality in the eye and thus to assure Trump’s acquittal," he writes.