We were on the way to a job upstate on Wednesday, listening to the impeachment hearings on the radio, waiting to hear what Trump’s foreign-service boy Gordon Sondland would say now that it was clear he hadn’t been forthright in his closed-door deposition for the House Intelligence Committee last month.
Sondland was more cooperative this time around.
YES, he told Democratic inquisitors, a quid pro quo was demanded by Trump. No way would Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky get a meeting with Trump, let alone $400 million in military aid, unless he agreed to launch investigations that might boost Trump’s re-election chances.
YES, all the president’s men were “in the loop” regarding the quid pro quo. Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Mick Mulvaney, Rudy Giuliani and others knew Sondland and his amigos were pressuring Zelensky to announce investigations, and Sondland had the emails to prove it.
YES, the three amigos — Rick Perry and Kurt Volker were the others — received their orders to lean on Zelensky from Giuliani, who was acting “at the express direction of the president of the United States.”
“Great, it’s all over now,” I said to Swamp Rabbit. “Sondland is a snake, he’ll only cough up as much evidence as he thinks is necessary to avoid perjury charges. But the evidence he just coughed up is damning.”
Swamp Rabbit, who is off the wagon again, reached for his flask and took a swig. “That’s what you think,” he said. “By tonight them Republicans will be saying Sondland’s testimony don’t change nothing, there’s no smoking gun.”
He was right about that, of course. And right again the next day after two more credible witnesses testified — David Holmes, who overheard what should be an incriminating phone talk between Trump and Sondland, and steely-eyed Fiona Hill, who deconstructed the “fictional narrative” that Trump’s henchmen concocted to justify the investigations, which were all about trying to wreck Joe Biden’s presidential bid.
Swamp Rabbit noted this morning that Trump’s House boy Devin Nunes is still pushing fictive details about Biden — Kellyanne Conway would call them “alternative facts” — and that Nunes’s homeys continue to march in lockstep with him now that a Senate trial seems almost certain. And that there’s no evidence Trump directly commanded Sondland to tell the Ukrainians they wouldn’t get their military aid unless they went after Biden.
“But that’s crazy,” I said. “Trump’s commands are indirect, just like a mob boss’s, but everybody knows the commands come from him. That’s how mob bosses who go to trial get convicted, through the testimony of people who track the commands they receive back to the boss.”
“Maybe so,” the rabbit said. “But them other mob bosses ain’t president of the United States. And they don’t get to have a jury that’s mostly made up of Republican senators.”