In a column for The Wall Street Journal today, author and evening news contributor, Peggy Noonan, argued that when it comes to the charges against President Trump that he pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals in exchange for military aid, “the case has been made.”
“What was said consistently undermined Mr. Trump’s case, but more deadly was what has never been said,” Noonan writes. “In the two months since Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry was under way and the two weeks since the Intelligence Committee’s public hearings began, no one, even in the White House, has said anything like, ‘He wouldn’t do that!’ or ‘That would be so unlike him.’ His best friends know he would do it and it’s exactly like him.”
While acknowledging that the impeachment hearings weren’t always a “seamless success,” Noonan thinks testimony from witnesses on Wednesday and Thursday really got the ball rolling for Democrats.
In an analysis of the witnesses, Noonan described Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman as someone who was “not a persuasive witness and did not move the story forward.” She wrote that ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland “was both weirdly jolly and enormously effective in doing Mr. Trump damage” and was “completely believable.” But it was former White House Russia expert Fiona Hill who really impressed Noonan — she was “all business, a serious woman you don’t want to mess with.”
“She reoriented things, warning that those who excuse or don’t wish to see Russian propaganda efforts against America, and targeting its elections, are missing the obvious,” Noonan wrote. “The suspicion of the president and his allies that Ukraine is the great culprit in the 2016 election is a ‘fictional narrative.’ They are, in fact, bowing to disinformation Russia spreads to cover its tracks and confuse the American people and its political class. She dismissed the president’s operatives’ efforts to get Ukraine’s new president to investigate his country’s alleged meddling as a ‘domestic political errand.’ She and other diplomats were ‘involved in national security, foreign policy,’ and the interests of the operatives and the diplomats had ‘diverged.’ She warned Mr. Sondland: ‘This is all going to blow up.'”
For Noonan, this week’s testimony was powerful in the sense that it came from respectable diplomats, and “not disgruntled staffers with nutty memoirs.”
“It became clear in a new and public way that pretty much everyone around the president has been forced for three years to work around his poor judgment and unpredictability in order to do their jobs. He no doubt knows this and no doubt doesn’t care. Because he’s the boss, they’ll do it his way.”
Read her full op-ed over at The Wall Street Journal.
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