The case for Donald Trump’s impeachment got much stronger on Tuesday as yet another official – Bill Taylor, the president’s envoy to Ukraine – testified that he was told to release military aid for that country only if they agreed to investigate Joe Biden.
Taylor’s testimony confirmed – again – that, of course, Trump engaged in a quid pro quo in his dealings with Ukraine.
As former Reagan and Bush speechwriter, John Podhoretz, said on Tuesday, the damning whistleblower complaint is no longer even a factor as at least four officials, including Trump himself, have now admitted to a quid pro quo.
“Forget the whistleblower,” Podhoretz said. “We have Taylor, we have Sondland, we have Mulvaney and we have Trump.”
“They can mention the whistleblower from here until next century, but we’re way beyond that now,” he added.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) October 22, 2019
I mean the whistleblower doesn’t matter anymore. We have here an American official who went to work for Mike Pompeo, at Pompeo’s request, going to Ukraine to represent American interests and a supporter of Ukrainian democracy and efforts there, saying that a Trump intimate told him that they were going to withhold military aid authorized and appropriated by Congress for this unless Zelensky did what he wanted him to do and made a public announcement about Burisma. So forget the whistleblower. … We have Taylor, we have Sondland, we have Mulvaney and we have Trump. So they can mention the whistleblower from here until next century, but we’re way beyond that now.
There was a quid pro quo. What now, Republicans?
When the initial White House transcript and whistleblower complaint came out, Trump’s GOP loyalists in Congress deflected by repeating over and over again that despite how damning the documents were, there was still no quid pro quo.
In addition to their denials, they attacked the whistleblower as nothing but a partisan, “deep state” spy hell-bent on taking down the president.
But none of those hollow deflections matter anymore. A growing number of Trump officials – including the bumbling president himself – are on the record admitting to a quid pro quo with Ukraine.
With the smoking gun now in full view, Republicans have a choice to make: Either they finally hold Donald Trump accountable or they set the dangerous precedent that a United States president can shake down foreign powers to influence American elections.