An exercise in bad faith politics
Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) announced Wednesday that he doesn’t believe new witnesses are needed to testify in the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump.
Republicans, who hold a majority control in the Senate, have by-and-large opposed the notion of bringing witnesses into their proceedings. Democrats needed at least four Republicans to join in their approval of more testimony in order to make it happen.
Should Gardner vote to allow more witnesses, the American people would hear from Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton under oath. Senators would be able to ask clarifying questions and Americans would be able to form their own judgements based on the information given.
Too bad Gardner does not believe the American people should receive more information.
Bolton asserts that he has additional evidence that Trump explicitly used military aid to extort the Ukrainian government into launching investigations into Trump’s political rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. All with the goal of benefitting Trump personally and politically in the 2020 General Election.
The former national security adviser’s claim undercuts a major argument presented by the president’s defense, which denies that Trump tied roughly $400 million in military aid to political investigations into Biden.
By Wednesday three Senate Republicans appeared ready to allow Bolton’s testimony. Gardner, true to form, indicated that he might vote in favor of more witnesses, only to pivot when it came time to act.
Depression sets in when one realizes that plenty of evidence to Trump’s wrongdoing has already been released. If it weren’t for bad faith posturing from Republicans, that would be more present in people’s minds.
People seem to forget that Trump was only impeached in the House following hours and hours of testimony from persons working in and with the Trump administration directly.
And people forget that because House and Senate Republicans, like Gardner, are trying their damnedest not to acknowledge what has already come to light.
Gardner and Senate Republicans won’t remind you that a memorandum released by the White House to the House Judiciary Committee quotes Trump saying Ukraine would need to do him a “favor,” investigate the Bidens, if they wanted military aid.
Gardner also doesn’t want to give you the context behind that conversation: By that point Trump had already ordered the halt of the aid delivery (without consent of Congress, which is a crime); Ukraine was and still is engaged in a literal ground war with Russia; and later, Trump only released the aid after he learned an anonymous whistleblower reported these circumstances to Congress in August.
We already know all of this because it has been revealed through House impeachment inquiry proceedings.
And that is where this lesson in bad faith politics begins. Sit down and pay attention, Gardner. You are about to get schooled.
Congressional Republican defense of the president has been a display of shameless inconsistency and obtuse denial.
I call them Schrodinger’s Politicians. They say the president never withheld military aid and simultaneously hold the position that he did it and who cares, that is very legal and very cool.
They want the American people to know the truth and they want justice, but they absolutely cannot question witnesses who could clarify the truth in public under oath.
Trump does not have to release the transcripts and recordings of his meetings on Ukraine that definitely do not exist at all in the first place.
“There are no tapes!” said the president.
Bolton was willing to testify to the House, but the Trump administration told him to stand down, and ordered others to ignore official subpoenas from the House. And now in the Senate defenders of the president are asking, if there is more information, why didn’t the House present it during their inquiry?
What’s next? War is peace? Freedom is slavery? Ignorance is strength?
When George Orwell wrote “1984”, he was communicating the dangers of totalitarianism, not drafting a handbook on it.
Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Guiliani has frequently admitted on national television that he was involved in discussions in Ukraine to ensure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski buckled under Trump’s demands.
And there lies another paradox: Why is a personal attorney working overseas on official matters of state business and national security? And if none of this is official state business, as indicated at first glance by the involvement of the president’s personal attorney, then what power does Trump have to dictate funds assigned by Congress?
Not even the president’s official attorneys in his Senate impeachment trial are free from contradiction.
The president’s defense team includes Kenneth Starr, infamous for his unrelenting pursuit of Bill Clinton’s own impeachment and attempted removal in the 90s (which Trump himself publicly denounced at the time), and Alan Dershowitz, the former lawyer of now dead convicted pedophile and international sex trafficker Jeffery Epstein.
Dershowitz argued on Wednesday that a president can engage in “quid pro quo” to get themself reelected as long as they believed their reelection would be “best for the country.”
We sure have come a long way from, “the president did not withhold congressionally approved military aid.”
In the words of Robert Mueller, the congressionally appointed special counsel whose report confirmed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election in an effort to get Trump elected: “Lordy.”
At this point, none of this should be surprising, but all of it should be deeply concerning.
Trump told America what he is about almost exactly four years ago, on Jan. 23, when he said to an Iowa crowd, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
That quote captures this impeachment and trial perfectly. It exemplifies Trump’s presidency. And it seems that Gardner is doing his best to prove the president right.
Well, I have news for Donald Trump and Cory Gardner. America is a constitutional republic; a federal republic; a representative democracy.
Whatever one wants to call it, Americans do not live under kings. Our public officials are expected to serve the public, not themselves.
Theoretically, at least.
On the night the constitutional convention convened in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was reportedly descending the steps of Independence Hall when the political sociolite Elizabeth Willing Powel asked him, “So, what do we have? A republic or a monarchy?”
Franklin famously replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
How does Gardner intend to keep democracy safe when he contributes to the obfuscation and suppression of facts in light of credible accusations of extraordinary abuse of abuse of power and obstruction of justice?
Perhaps it is in the best interest of Coloradans, Democrat and Republican, Independent and Unaffiliated and all the rest, to contact him and find out.
You can contact Sen. Cory Gardner at the following numbers:
Pueblo office: (719) 543-1324
Colorado Springs office: (719) 632-6706
Denver office: (303) 391-5777
Grand Junction office: (970) 245-9553
Greeley office: (970) 352-5546
Fort Collins office: (970) 484-3502
Yuma: (970) 848-3095
Durango office: (970) 259-1231
Washington, D.C. office: (202) 224-5941
Like what you read? Check out my analysis of how Attorney General William Barr handled Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.