Taylor’s Depth Charge
Damning testimony unravels Ukraine scandal
Oct 22nd 2019
Bill Taylor, acting ambassador to the Ukraine, testified before several committees involved with the impeachment process today, and while his testimony left some Democrats white-faced and shaking in shock, and some of them, plus all the Republicans, stony-faced and visibly angry, what we do know comes from his fifteen page opening statement, which leaked about an hour after the testimony (nearly ten hours!) began.
Taylor’s statement, buttressed by meticulous contemporaneous records and backed by phone logs and minutes of some meetings, removed any possible doubt that Trump wanted a quid pro quo; swapping military and other support for the Ukraine (all support of any kind, it turns out) but only on the condition that Ukraine open an investigation into Hunter Biden, and whether his father, Joe, benefited in any way, or acted improperly.
The most striking thing about Taylor’s opening statement was not only that Trump, through his wiseguys, Guiliani, Barr, Rick Perry, Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, and special envoy to the Ukraine Kurt Volker, wanted this investigation, but that he, Trump, wanted President Zelenskiy to announce to American media that Biden and his son were under investigation.
Normally, requests for investigations such as possible corruption are done secretly. You don’t want to tip the suspect(s) or their cohorts. You don’t want to (possibly) embarrass the host country. You want to protect your assets there who brought you the incriminating evidence in the first place.
You don’t demand an investigation be announced to the US audience (CNN was supposed to be the vehicle for this) unless you have one aim and one aim only: you want to embarrass and throw a cloud of suspicion over the targets of the investigation.
Given his ethics, the only interest Trump could possibly have in investigating corruption is to see if there are any new scams for him to try. The notion of Trump fighting corruption is right up there with Tony Soprano fighting organized crime.
So: Quid Pro Quo. Check. Political considerations. Check. Illegal withholding of funds. Check. Three strikes, you’re out, Donnie.
I heard a Republican today say that the party wouldn’t fabricate fake scandals against political opponents in order to embarrass them and make it difficult for them to function. I hope his relatives are looking into nursing homes.
Speaking of which, remember “her emails”? Huge scandal from 2011 through yesterday. Probably cost Clinton the election, especially after that idiot FBI director, the feckless James Comey, blew up a chunk of her support by announcing that they may have to widen their investigation of the emails based on never-presented evidence. Polls suggest Clinton lost four points of support as a result of that. That made the races in some states close enough that Trump and the Republicans could steal the White House. Hillary still won the popular vote, but in a system rigged by slave owners and fostered by neofascist authoritarians, she lost the Electoral vote.
Well, they finally closed the case on the emails today. No deliberate malfeasance by Clinton. Absolved. Not a word uttered about how of the three Secretaries of State ALSO used mail on private servers, and many members of Trump’s chaotic administration, since. At least one CNN reporter said he regretted the overemphasis he placed on that story in 2016. Thanks, asshole. Now go learn how to be a journalist. They have schools for that.
And again, speaking of which…
This week we’ve been hearing about how Hillary called Tulsi Gabbard a Russian agent. Gabbard started out as a darling of the left, but then she spouted a whole bunch of anti-gay nonsense, and it became clear that her politics were pretty incoherent outside of withdrawing all US troops world-wide, a position popular with unilaterialists and Russian trolls.
Except Hillary didn’t call her a Russian agent. She simply said that a female candidate amongst the Democrats was being groomed by the Russians to run as a spoiler third-party candidate in the general election to help Trump.
Gabbard, not the sharpest object in the sock drawer, immediately assumed Clinton was talking about her and blew up. “The guilty flee…”? I dunno. Personally, I just think she’s a dope who has no business in politics. But she sure acted as guilty as Trump to some indirect prodding from a retired politician.
Except it turns out Clinton didn’t say anyone was being groomed by the Russians. The New York Times, former journalistic endeavor, made an “oops, we screwed up” announcement today, eight days later: Clinton didn’t say anyone was being groomed by the Russians. She said someone was being groomed by the Republicans.
Now, you could argue that these days that’s a distinction without a difference, and I wouldn’t strain myself to argue the point. The GOP is top-heavy with Russian stooges, that’s for sure. But it isn’t an accurate description of what Hillary said.
Maybe the Times decided to dress it up a bit, make it more lurid, sound like something the eeevviill conniving emailing Hillary SHOULD have said. I don’t know. Maybe the New York Times is just impossibly incompetent, and need eight days to figure out they used one proper noun when they should have used another proper noun. Tomorrow’s headline might read, “Former Ukraine envoy testifies President Carter pressured with Quid Pro Quo.” What’s in a name, right?
I’m not a fan of Clinton, I don’t like her policies. But I don’t turn into a Republican at the mere mention of her name, and neither should any one else. She isn’t evil incarnate, and she’s no more a warmonger than any average American. I would remonstrate that the Times should do better, but I’m not sure they could be arsed.
Meanwhile, that head of the festering nihilism of the American right, Donald Trump, is about to fall, thanks to Bill Taylor. Savor the moment.