Equally culpable are the Republican lawmakers who spew one ludicrous defense after another, or refuse to even acknowledge inviting a foreign adversary to interfere in our election subverts our democracy.
On the other side are those current and former officials — Fiona Hill, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, William B. Taylor Jr., Kurt Volker, Michael McKinley and Marie Yovanovitch — who have credibly and consistently testified to the corruption of U.S. foreign policy to benefit Trump’s political interests. Collectively, they have established what amounts to a bribe: a demand for helpful (and bogus) dirt on a political opponent in exchange for a meeting with the president and release of aid. Considering the perilous situation Ukraine’s leaders found themselves — in a hot war with Russians who occupied their country — Trump’s hold-up in aid was effectively extortion. Nice country you’ve got there. Shame if anything happened to it.
Yovanovitch was the victim of a smear campaign that her former boss, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, could not be bothered to debunk. Vindman has been the target of a disgusting dual-loyalty charge. And the whisteblower’s life is, according to his or her lawyer, in peril thanks to the campaign to reveal the name of the tipster who initiated the investigation.
The stark divide between the honorable, patriotic truth-tellers and then craven liars, cowards and bullies on the other underscores that the election in 2020 is not merely about policy and ideology. At stake is whether we want decent, constitutionally respectful and honest public servants, or whether we want to be governed by thugs who lie to our faces and sell their country (and our allies) down the river for money and/or power. It remains stunning and disturbing to me that so many Americans support the latter.
To all of the patriots who raised red flags at the time, defied White House obstruction and gave honest, compelling and consistent testimony, well can say, well done.