The Ukraine story has indeed been moving faster than a hummingbird’s wings. The House Intelligence Committee has announced open impeachment hearings will begin as soon as next week. Roll Call:
House Democrats are leading with [Bill] Taylor, who many who heard his closed-door testimony last month consider to be one of the strongest witnesses in the impeachment case. Taylor’s 15-page opening statement opening statement last month undermined President Donald Trump’s insistence that he never exerted pressure on Ukrainian officials or prompted a quid pro quo. Taylor’s statement was a detailed blueprint of what the seasoned diplomat called a “highly irregular” channel of shadow diplomacy toward Ukraine. […]
“Those open hearings will be an opportunity for the American people to evaluate the witnesses for themselves, to make their own determinations about the credibility of the witnesses, but also to learn first hand about the facts of the president’s misconduct,” Schiff said.
Meanwhile, Bill Barr is planning to release what he hopes will be an explosive report about the FBI’s investigation of the Trump 2016 campaign, as a counter defense measure and to give Trump something to scream “witch hunt” about. Washington Post:
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, plans to meet Wednesday with Barr to talk about the report’s planned rollout, according to people familiar with the matter. The inspector general’s work is independent of the attorney general, but in this case, the two must work closely on the release because the inspector general does not have the authority to declassify information. Barr does. Horowitz is not expected to attend the meeting with Graham, these people said. […]
And of course, destroying the credibility of the Mueller investigation is key to this effort, although it’s so clearly an exercise in futility.
“It’s a serious red line that’s been crossed. . . . These counterintelligence activities that were directed at the Trump campaign were not done in the normal course and not through the normal procedures as a far as I can tell,” Barr said. “Republics have fallen because of Praetorian Guard mentality where government officials get very arrogant, they identify the national interest with their own political preferences and they feel that anyone who has a different opinion, you know, is somehow an enemy of the state,” he said.
Two things to remember here: Russian interference with the 2016 election was known about in the fall of 2016 and it was Mitch McConnell who refused to issue a bi-partisan statement to that effect, when Barack Obama proposed that to him. Secondly, the knee jerk reaction of this administration is always both-siderism, because that’s how they attempt to bury their corruption. The simplistic black and white brush with which the Trump defense of the Ukraine quid pro quo is being painted is going to be, yeah, he did it, yeah but, the FBI spied on his campaign, so both sides do it, it’s normal, and idiocy along those lines. The GOP is desperate to keep Trump looking credible any way that they can and both Barr and Graham are committed to torching whatever credibility or legacies they may have or might have had, in service to the lost cause of Trump. So be it. It will be intriguing to see what Barr comes up with in time for the Thanksgiving turkey.