'Trump was caught': Every major GOP excuse for president's conduct destroyed by ex-prosecutor

Former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade said Thursday's marathon impeachment hearing left her "shouting" at her television, so she gathered her thoughts and blew up Republican defenses one by one.

McQuade, an MSNBC legal analyst and former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, exposed the weaknesses in each of the GOP's sometimes contradictory defenses of President Donald Trump against impeachment by the House of Representatives.

"Trump hit the trifecta of impeachable conduct by subverting an election, seeking foreign influence, and putting personal interest ahead of national interest," McQuade wrote. "And he obstructed Congress by refusing to produce any witnesses or documents."

Those two allegations form the basis of the two articles of impeachment lawmakers will vote on Friday morning, but McQuade disputed Republican claims that no harm was done because the promised military aid was eventually sent to Ukraine.

"The aid went through only after Trump was caught," McQuade wrote. "In the meantime, months of delay cost Ukraine lives in its war with Russia. U.S. credibility was harmed and moral authority to fight corruption was eroded."

She demonstrated Trump's actions meet the standard for bribery, and she argued that abuse of power was indeed an impeachable offense under the Constitution.

"Impeachable conduct may be criminal conduct, but need not be," McQuade wrote. "A president could be impeached if he watched TV all day and failed to fulfill his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

Republicans insist Trump holds the authority to ask for investigations, but McQuade argued that he went around the normal procedure for a lawful request as part of a covert operation to subvert the 2020 election.

"If this were legitimate investigation, you wouldn’t need to send your personal lawyer and his henchmen to do it," she wrote. "Witnesses say Trump didn’t want investigation, just announcement of investigation."

"Trump’s request for a 'favor' is strong evidence, corroborated by witness testimony, of months-long scheme to get Zelensky to 'go to the mic' and announce Biden probe," McQuade added. "Aid was leverage."

Trump was advancing his personal interests, McQuade argued, and not any legitimate public interest by seeking the announcement of an investigation of his political rival.

"Trump sought foreign influence in our election and harmed national security by delaying aid designed to fight Russia, our adversary," she wrote. "We don’t have to accept it. We deserve better."