If you’ve been watching today’s impeachment inquiry (or perhaps, even if you have not), you know that Gordon Sondland tried to make up for his earlier testimony, which was not exactly forthcoming. He has now confirmed that Donald Trump did indeed condition the release of military aid to Ukraine and a meeting with President Zelensky upon Zelensky’s promise to announce investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election. Specifically, Sondland testified, “Was there a quid pro quo? The answer is yes.” That’s a wrap, folks.
Republicans have complained endlessly about second-hand knowledge and hearsay testimony by witnesses. Sondland is not only a first-hand participant in Trump’s illegal activities, but he was the one Trump instructed to advise Zelensky of his bribery scheme. Sondland was involved in Trump’s machinations and testified to Congress that Trump’s activities were “no secret” and that “everyone was in the loop,” including Mulvaney. Sondland referred to a July 19 email that was copied to Mulvaney, Perry, Pompeo, and “a lot of senior officials,” but he testified that he was prohibited from bringing that email with him.
One of those “senior officials” is Mike Pence, to whom Sondland voiced his concerns on September 1. CNN reports that while Pence has been claiming for weeks to have no involvement, he was right in the middle of things. Pence has shown an undying loyalty to Trump, including his willingness to lie for him. While Pence’s chief of staff claims that Sondland’s conversation with Pence never happened, who do you believe? How about believing Jennifer Williams, who also testified with first-hand knowledge of her dealings with Pence. Williams is a State Department employee assigned directly to Pence and listened in on the call. As a State Department employee, she voiced her concerns about the call to Pence and even prepared a briefing for him, which his staff now claims he “may or may not have read.” Sure he didn’t. Both Trump and Pence need to go, and they need to go now before they do further damage to our country and the patriotic individuals who were brave enough to testify.
Take Lt. Col. Vindman for example. According to the New York Times, he has now been secreted away with his family out of fear. His attorney has demanded a retraction from Laura Ingraham for her assertions that he is a spy, also reported by the Times. Vindman has been and continues to be attacked by Donald Trump, Jr. and Donald Trump himself. It is clear that these people are dangerous. They are followed by zealots (like Ingraham) who will stop at nothing to defend a do-nothing president, and their repeated attacks on a decorated veteran are not acceptable. Enough.
Congress must move with articles of impeachment expeditiously, and the Republican-controlled Senate needs to do its job and convict and remove Donald Trump with all due haste. His hate rhetoric has been bad enough, but when a decorated veteran fears for his life and the life of his family and has to withstand slander from an ignorant entertainment personality, it is time to take our country back by any means necessary. Senate, do your damned job.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years