Shocking new revelations about President Donald Trump’s pressure scheme against Ukraine show why additional witness testimony is needed in the impeachment trial — and could prove costly to Republicans if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sweeps the whole thing under the rug.
The Kentucky Republican is hoping to make the trial as swift and painless as possible for Trump and Republicans, and but new evidence uncovered by the New York Times could complicate his efforts — or potentially doom the GOP if he pulls off the sham trial, reported the Washington Post.
The report adds layers of new detail on the turmoil inside the administration stirred up months ago by Trump’s demand to withhold military aid from Ukraine in exchange for the announcement of investigations into Joe Biden and his son.
Top White House and Cabinet officials were implicated in the report, which showed that some officials worked to advance Trump’s demands as others begged him not to go through with the scheme that eventually led to his impeachment.
“What makes all this new information really damning, however, is that many of these officials who were directly involved with Trump’s freezing of aid are the same ones Trump blocked from appearing before the House impeachment inquiry,” wrote the Post‘s Greg Sargent.
That puts McConnell in a tough spot, because it’s highly likely that additional evidence will come out after the GOP-led Senate acquits the president.
The administration is currently fighting to block the release of documents from the Pentagon and the Office of Management and Budget related to the Ukraine scheme, and a ruling could come as soon as March.
“That could come after Senate Republicans ran a sham trial and acquitted Trump,” Sargent wrote. “Do they really want to be on the hook for having suppressed such evidence, even in the face of a whole new round of deeply incriminating revelations?”
For now, at least, McConnell seems to see a sham trial as a safer bet than letting the public learn more about Trump’s corruption.