(Jan. 23). On matters Ukrainian, President Trump’s defenders repeatedly make logically contradictory assertions. Their attempts at spin are dizzying to the point of nausea.

For example, they blast the impeachment case for consisting of only secondhand witnesses, but they refuse to allow firsthand witnesses to testify.

They say that if witnesses are called, they must be deposed first, even after the trial has begun. But they complained when the House deposed witnesses in the pretrial phase, which is when depositions commonly take place. They complained when Trump’s lawyers weren’t allowed to participate in those House depositions, then they refused the invitation for lawyers to participate in open hearings. Then, in the Senate trial, they falsely claimed that the House had shut them out.

They say it’s too close to an election to consider presidential removal, but they blast House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for having conducted the impeachment hearings too quickly. Then they criticize her for having taken too long to send the impeachment articles to the Senate (even though she took only ten days longer than the 18 days House Republicans took under far clearer circumstances in 1998-99), but they caused the delay by not letting her know the rules under which the trial would operate.

They claim Trump had good policy reasons to worry about “corruption” in Ukraine, but they still can’t identify a single element of alleged corruption that interested him, other than one supposedly involving his political rival. And they still can’t identify what that alleged corruption had to do with U.S. policy, or what law was suspected of being violated, or why Ukraine should investigate it if Trump’s Justice Department had no investigation underway. (They also can’t explain why Trump cited corruption, even after his Defense Department had certified there was no corruption involved in the program at hand.)….

[The full column is at this link.]


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