Look, it’s time that we stop hemming and hawing around what we know to be the truth: Trump tied Ukrainian aid to dirt on possible Democratic 2020 rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. That happened.
What’s happened since then has been a game of let’s see if the GOP can make a mockery of the truth by continuously throwing shit at it until they stink up the entire process. Basically, they are playing politics, and I don’t blame them.
It’s the only card they have left to play since the White House released the transcript showing that the president mob-spoke (pdf) all over Ukrainian aid and made it clear that he expected something in return. The president made clear that the United States does a lot for Ukraine that he doesn’t feel it has been reciprocated.
Delegitimizing the process is the only play that the White House has and “the White House informed House Democrats on Sunday that it will not participate in the Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing, excoriating Democrats’ impeachment inquiry as a ‘baseless’ and ‘partisan’ exercise in scathing five-page letter to the panel’s chairman,” Politico reports.
The move here—and really it’s a pretty decent move—is to claim that the White House’s presence at this mock-trial makes it appear to be honorable (which it totally is). Since day one, the president has painted himself as both prince and pauper. He’s the wealthiest man in the world (to hear him tell it) who speaks to Middle America’s special brand of racism and xenophobia. Trump has done a masterful job in painting himself as both the king (of racists whites) and the underdog (of those who want to see him perish).
And this is just another move, in a series of moves, that is the political equivalent of “hold me back.” “Hold me back” in street parlance is when two people are about to fight and one person—usually already in on the scam—holds one person back from fighting, ensuring that the person being held saves face. Trump is using his lawyers to keep him from fighting because, well, he did that shit.
Politico notes that because Trump and his counsel won’t be attending, they will have to depend on the backup members of “Doom’s Child”—including Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, John Ratcliffe of Texas and Matt Gaetz of Florida—to do the president’s dirty work and muddy up the impeachment process on Wednesday.
“Under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing,” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), adding that “an invitation to an academic discussion with law professors does not begin to provide the president with any semblance of a fair process,” Politico reports.
Basically the Judiciary Committee has called Trump out and said that if he truly believes that the call to the Ukranian president was “perfect,” as he’s stated several times, then come in front of the panel and defend that position.
The president has said that he would consider coming to being a part of the inquiry right before turning to his lawyers and telling them to “hold me back!”