Another tough day for the POTUS
We’re now on day five of the impeachment inquiry, and once again, the current President of the United States is having another tough day. His million-dollar donor, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, not only through him under the bus, but also just about anyone else who’s involved in this fiasco.
I guess when a few years in prison might await, the generous donation to the President for an Ambassadorship doesn’t seem all that important. In the end, instead of pleading the fifth as many in the media had speculated he might do, Sondland decided to come clean–kind of.
After his first deposition Sondland came to the realization that based on testimony from others such as Ambassador William Taylor, his recollection was a bit hazy, which led him to amend some of his original statements. Then today, the Ambassador decided that the President, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, former National Security Advisor John Bolton, and even Vice-President Mike Pence ought to share some of the pain.
According to Sondland, the policy employed in Ukraine was not some “highly irregular, informal channel,” as described by Taylor. On the contrary, today, Sondland proclaimed that basically everyone from the President on down was “in the loop.” And the President himself, according to Sondland, directed the whole thing, through his attorney Rudy Giuliani. At a meeting with the President back in May, when Sondland asked him how to proceed, the President replied, “Talk to Rudy.” Ouch.
Rather than break down a nearly six-hour testimony, however, there are a few things that stand out in my view. For one, Sondland deserves props for at least showing up. That’s more than can be said for many of the others who’ve refused to appear. The President and the State Department tried to stop him, but he came forward nevertheless. Good on him for that.
But it’s not as if Sondland was forthcoming either. There were many instances of “I do not recall,” especially when it seemed previous testimony from others made him look bad. For example, he claims he did not know that the Ukrainian energy company Burisma had anything to do with former Vice-President Joe Biden’s son Hunter. This claim, of course, is hard to believe, but others involved in the Ukraine matter have said the same thing.
However, an earlier deposition by the counselor for political affairs at the US Embassy in Ukraine, David Holmes, would seem to contradict Sondland’s account. According to Holmes, who was at an outdoor restaurant in Ukraine with Sondland the day after Trump’s infamous “perfect” phone call with the Ukrainian President, Sondland referred to the President as not “giving a shit” about Ukraine—only about “big stuff” such as “the Biden investigation that Giuliani is pushing.”
While Sondland corroborated much of what Holmes testified to, he said he had no recollection of ever mentioning Biden at all. Again, it strains credulity that he didn’t know that Biden and Burisma meant the same thing. If other witnesses can corroborate Holmes’ account, Sondland may have a perjury issue to deal with.
There’s something else, though, that stands out. If the President of the United States is innocent, why is he trying to prevent everyone from testifying? Where is Bolton, Pompeo, Mulvaney, and Giuliani? Others have come forward, why not them?
And why is The White House withholding documents and other records that could piece together some of the inconsistencies that witnesses say could help them clear up?
It’s all pretty straightforward. The administration is obstructing. We know the President cannot be trusted to tell the truth. The others will have to ask themselves if covering for this man is worth it. Sondland today answered that question emphatically. The rest of them, however? The jury is still out.
Finally, though, you have to also give props to the Republicans who sit on the Intelligence Committee. Day after day, through this whole inquiry, we’ve seen the same conspiracy theories and whining about the process. We’ve seen them continue to badger Chairman Adam Schiff about the whistleblower. For some reason, they want the person outed. I’ve still not determined why that is. But, they have their ideas, I suppose. However they can deflect and run interference for this President, they’ll do it. It’s been quite the spectacle, and today was no different.
Eventually, though, they’ll have to go on record. Impeachment is coming, my friends. Today’s testimony from Gordon Sondland only solidifies that fact. Slowly and methodically, Adam Schiff and the Democrats are weaving a compelling tale of corruption, bribery, abuse of power and obstruction of justice. If the Republicans decide these acts aren’t worthy of removal, so be it.
They managed to impeach a Democratic President for far less in 1998. Apparently, lying about a sex act with an intern is far worse than conditioning foreign aid on investigating a potential political rival for personal gain — my how things have changed.