Like me, Mr. Stahl grasps that the things people don’t say are often as important as what they do say. The positions they don’t take, and the arguments they don’t make, are often as important as the positions and arguments they do advance.
Trump trashed Ambassador Yovanovitch. The Republican congress folk praised her.
Trump claimed he had good reason to remove her. The Republicans wouldn’t touch that one with a ten foot pole.
And wait for what comes next week: having lavished praise on a woman Trump wants to humiliate, next week, it is said, Republicans plan to throw Trump’s man off the bridge.
What comes next week is direct testimony from the man with whom the president apparently sought to replace Yovanovitch as his point person on Ukrainian policy, Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who is due to testify on Wednesday. Sondland has already admitted to telling Ukrainians that military aid was dependent on announcing the opening of investigations, though he has not yet testified the extent to which Trump or White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney may have directly ordered him to do this.
Based on what Republicans were saying on Friday, they intend to use next week’s proceedings to throw both Sondland and Giuliani directly into the path of oncoming traffic. To reporters during the break, Meadows suggested that Sondland and Giuliani might have been freelancing the apparent bribery scheme. “Is he working at the direction of the president? It depends on what part of it,” Meadows said of Sondland. Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado, meanwhile, suggested that Giuliani might have been “a loose cannon.”
“[If] he was off on his own mission doing things that people didn’t know about kind of like a loose cannon, then that’s a Rudy Giuliani thing that’s [not] a President Trump thing,” Lamborn said.
On Friday it was impossible to trash the witness on the stand because of her obvious character and decades of public service. Trump’s defenders on the Hill will hope to have an easier target—in Sondland, the president’s own ambassadorial choice and million-dollar inaugural donor—next week.
When All Else Fails, Tell the Truth
Yeah, it’s a cliché. But if he values his hide, Sondland had better remember it.
Looks like an interesting week.
Liquor store run tomorrow.