Jira: Impeachment hearings tear down Trump’s tower of lies, brick by brick


Coffeeandcrumbs [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

House officials hear testimony from various individuals regarding the impeachment of President Trump.

Violet Jira, Opinion Editor

It seems as though with every “I solemnly swear,” with every burning question from a feisty Democrat and with every day of the impeachment inquiry hearings, another bomb is dropped, another move is called into question and another brick is pulled from Trump’s tower of lies. The Washington Post reports that over 993 days, from his inauguration to Oct. 9, 2019, Donald Trump has made 13,435 statements that were misleading or just flat out false. The impeachment inquiry hearings, at their core, are attempting to answer one question: Did President Trump withhold aid to Ukraine in an attempt to leverage them into investigating Burisma Holdings and more specifically Joe Biden? Essentially, was there a quid pro quo? Donald Trump has staunchly, vehemently, denied the allegations–’no quid pro quo,’ he chants. But as we get deeper and deeper into the hearings, it is becoming obvious that that is yet another lie. 

The first days of the hearings were disappointingly bland. It didn’t feel like anything was happening, and things didn’t really pick up until William Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, took the stand on Nov. 13. Taylor delivered a testimony that was pragmatic and nonpartisan, and that shaped the context that everything said after him should be viewed in. 

He expressed concern, saying early in his testimony, “I became increasingly concerned that our relationship with Ukraine was being fundamentally undermined by an irregular, informal channel of U.S. policy-making and by the withholding of vital security assistance for domestic political reasons.” 

If that doesn’t scream quid pro quo, I don’t know what does. 

He later expressed that this informal channel included the likes of “then-Special Envoy Kurt Volker, Ambassador [Gordon] Sondland, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, and as I subsequently learned, Mr. [Rudolph] Giuliani.”

The hearings continued with testimonies from Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, David Holmes–who claimed to have overheard a phone-call in which Trump asked Sondland whether Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, was going to follow through with the investigations he had asked for–Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, and the most recent damning of them all, that of Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland. 

According to Slate News, on Sept. 9, 2019, Bill Taylor, former ambassador to Ukraine expressed concerns about Donald Trump’s actions, saying he was “crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” To this, Ambassador Sondland responded in defense of Donald Trump, saying,  “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind.”

However, when Ambassador Sondland offered his testimony, for the second time, he blew a completely different horn. His answer to the question of whether or not there was quid pro quo was simple. Sondland testified, in what was likely the most groundbreaking statement of the hearings yet, that there was quid pro quo, saying, “I know that members of this committee frequently frame these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo’?. . . With regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting, the answer is yes.” 

This is just one example of how these hearings brought truth to light, and exposed Trump for what House Democrats have called in their 300-page impeachment report, crimes worse than Nixon’s. “No President has claimed for himself the right to deny the House’s authority to conduct an impeachment proceeding…and forbid any and all cooperation from the Executive Branch. Even President Richard Nixon…accepted the authority of Congress to conduct an impeachment inquiry and permitted his aides and advisors to produce documents and testify to Congressional committees.”

And my question is this: if you were as innocent as you claim to be, why would you be in opposition of a process that would clear your name? When given the chance, Trump denied the opportunity to speak at the impeachment hearings. 

Stanford Law Professor Pamela Carland was one of several constitution scholars who were called to Capitol Hill to speak on Trump’s actions. She quoted Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s controversial Supreme Court nominee, on the importance of domestic matters remaining domestic. “It is fundamental to the definition of our national political community that foreign citizens do not have a constitutional right to participate in, and thus may be excluded from, activities of democratic self-government.” 

The impeachment hearing are no longer just about Democratic or Republican values; it is about a breach of one of the most fundamental dictums of this country. 

At this point, it is more fact than it is speculation that Donald Trump withheld military aid in an attempt to get Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, and that means a lot of things.

It means that he sees Joe Biden and, by extension, the Democrats as a threat. 

It means that all of Trump’s horses and all of Trump’s men–his attorneys, aides and ambassadors–have been exposed for their lack of knowledge and regard for the purpose U.S. foreign policy precedent serves. Their indifference towards the purpose the structure of the ‘regular’ channels serve. Because of their willingness to condone Trump’s actions, their willingness to lie about them and their failure to put a stop to the misdeeds, their names will be permanently tarnished. 

It means that no matter what happens in the Senate, if Donald Trump is impeached or not, we have sworn statements that are irrevocably supportive of the fact that the President of the United States was willing to commit a crime and extort Ukraine with the money of the American people. 

No matter what anyone says, the tower of lies Trump has been building since the moment he descended an elevator to announce his bid for president in 2015 has been permanently cracked.