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  • No president, no official can demand

  • that an ally of the United States

  • do anything in particular to help

  • his or her political ambitions as a condition of receiving

  • help from our country.

  • So obviously we've been through several weeks, almost a month

  • of private hearings in the SCIF, the secure room of the Capitol,

  • where the Intelligence Committee has been

  • asking for hours and hours.

  • And some of these daylong hearings

  • have been 10, 12 hours behind closed doors.

  • Those have almost run their course.

  • We are starting to get people who

  • are appearing, testifying to the same thing over and over again.

  • So we have a pretty good sense of what

  • happened in two incidents.

  • One is the famous call between Zelensky,

  • the president of Ukraine, and Donald Trump,

  • and whether there was a quid pro quo there in terms of money,

  • military aid for assistance to dig up dirt

  • on Democrats inside Ukraine, but also, the broader scheme that

  • has been going on run largely by Rudy Giuliani, the president's

  • private attorney, and what that looked like.

  • So we basically have had testimony in private.

  • People begin to repeat the narrative so that the Democrats

  • have felt we've gone this far.

  • We have the vote on the Hill in the House

  • this week where they have now formally set

  • the rules for public hearings.

  • So I think we're actually going to get to a point

  • where we actually might have fireworks.

  • It has been all these hearings in the past.

  • When we talk about impeachment, and we talk about big scandals,

  • the big drama the big theatre happens in these big public

  • hearings.

  • And I think that's going to the next thing we're

  • going to watch for and to what extent

  • the Democrats can make hay of this one

  • and start winning over more of the public.

  • But also, more importantly, are there

  • Republicans, particularly in the Senate,

  • which would have to judge any impeachment hearing?

  • Are there Republicans in the Senate that will be peeled off

  • by some of these revelations?

  • Do you think it's ever appropriate for the president

  • to use his office to solicit investigations

  • into a domestic political opponent?

  • Soliciting investigations into a domestic political opponent.

  • I don't think that would be in accord with our values.

  • What we've learned from the hearings,

  • not only in the last week, but in the last two weeks,

  • really, is incidents that focus around that

  • call again, that famous call that Trump made

  • to the new president in Ukraine, demanding -

  • for lack of a better word - that they dig up

  • some dirt both on the Bidens but also this strange conspiracy

  • theory where a lot of Trump allies

  • think that the Ukrainians were somehow involved in hacking

  • the Democratic party.

  • That phone call, we've had people testifying who were

  • on that call, including Alexander Vindman,

  • who was a lieutenant-colonel in US army,

  • who basically has testified and said that there was...he was

  • disturbed by it enough to go to the lawyers at the NSC.

  • We've also heard testimony from the acting ambassador

  • to the Ukraine, William Taylor, who has said there was indeed

  • a quid pro quo that in his eyes, the president was withholding

  • military aid.

  • And remember, the Ukrainians are in a shooting war

  • with the Russians right now and Russian-backed separatists,

  • withheld that military aid in exchange for that digging

  • up of dirt on the Democrats.

  • So we have a lot of meat put on the bones of what we're

  • initially just a whistleblower complaint, which

  • include a lot of supposition, a lot of second-hand accounts.

  • We now have primary accounts of what the president and his men

  • did to basically push the Ukrainians to do

  • his own political dirty work inside Ukraine.

  • Today, the country just witnessed

  • the only bipartisan vote on that floor was against.

  • The question to the speaker are the same questions

  • I provided in a letter about the unfair process that we had.

  • What has changed since March?

  • In all the hearings, there's nothing compelling,

  • nothing overwhelming.

  • So the speaker should follow her own words

  • on what bipartisan vote on that floor

  • and in the sham that has been putting this country

  • through this nightmare.

  • There has been White House talking points

  • on the president's call being of no issue

  • and of being not particularly controversial.

  • You haven't heard the Republicans on the Hill

  • eat that line that much when you've heard them saying

  • is that they're attacking the process.

  • The other interesting thing on this

  • is to watch the Senate Republicans.

  • Again, when you talk about White House talking points,

  • what you've heard from a lot of Senate

  • Republicans now is I don't want to comment because I

  • could be a juror, right?

  • If the House impeaches, it is the Senate

  • that will hear the evidence and decide whether to eject

  • the president from office.

  • And the fact that Republicans in the Senate, many of them

  • now are saying, I'm not going to comment

  • because I want to be a juror means they're

  • keeping their powder dry.

  • They're not instinctively falling into line.

  • Now, the vote in the House this week

  • was a strict party-line vote.

  • We had the Democrats almost unanimously voting

  • to set up the procedure to have a public hearing on impeachment

  • - yet almost every Republican on the other side

  • - but it's been interesting to watch the Senate Republicans.

  • Mitt Romney has been the most prominent one

  • to break from the president on this.

  • But even ones who we suspect to be more loyal and more partisan

  • are keeping their powder dry.

  • They're not commenting.

  • They're not coming out in favour of the president.

  • And they're using this phrase - I am a juror.

  • I don't want to comment - which I think is very telling.

No president, no official can demand

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Donald Trump impeachment: what comes next? I FT

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/08
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