When standing on shaky ground, you have two options: Move to stable ground or suffer the consequences. “President” Donald Trump is choosing the latter. New transcripts have been released, and the testimony contained therein is rapidly causing a shift in the ground beneath Trump’s feet.
The latest bombshell transcripts contain the testimonies of OMB official Mark Sandy and State Department official Philip Reeker. Not only do their testimonies fill in more blanks, that testimony shows just how insidious Trump’s actions were. More importantly, they show the lengths to which he went to hide his activities. That, my friends, is consciousness of guilt.
Sandy’s testimony outlined “highly unusual” activities with respect to releasing aid to Ukraine. Extremely telling is the fact that the OMB took the first official step in withholding Ukraine aid on the evening of Trump’s phone call with President Zelensky, July 25, even though the agencies were notified a week prior to the call—July 18—that the “aid had been frozen.” Sandy testified that Trump had been interested in the aid as far back as June, likely seeing it as a bargaining chip. Sandy voiced his concerns, raising a little-known federal law, the Impoundment Control Act, notifying Trump that he would be in violation of that law should he continue to “unilaterally withhold” funds that had been approved by Congress. Sandy also knew that if the funds weren’t released by September 30, they would be lost.
Mark Sandy also poked holes in Republican talking points on Trump’s illegal behavior. For example, when asked whether the aid was withheld because Trump wanted other countries to contribute to the aid, Sandy said that White House officials never brought that issue up until September, long after Trump froze the funds. He also testified that aid to Ukraine is “consistent with the national security strategy” because it “opposed Russian aggression” in the region. Trump was serving Putin, again, and not the United States. Sandy simply could not understand the holdup on these funds, but Philip Reeker’s testimony appeared to clear those questions up on some level.
Reeker testified that the hold on Ukraine’s aid “was orchestrated at the highest levels” in the White House. Reeker believes that Mulvaney was withholding the funds but was not certain. Mulvaney answers to Trump, so it obvious that while he might have appeared to be the holdup, he could not have done such a thing without Trump’s knowledge and approval. Reeker also confirmed Kurt Volker’s testimony that he and other diplomats had concerns about Rudy Giuliani’s direct involvement with Ukraine, as he believed Giuliani to be providing negative information to Trump. As with Mulvaney, Giuliani could not have made any moves, negative or otherwise, without Trump’s approval. As expected, this all points back to Trump.
Trump, meanwhile, is out stirring the pot with another hate rally and his claims of “victory” because “only” 50% of the American public wants him impeached and removed. That’s still half of us, and that number is much higher than the support of Americans for Clinton’s impeachment.