[NB: note the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]
I wrote this in comments but in hindsight it should be shared as a post.
Nothing the GOP has said about the impeachment hearing witnesses, their testimony, the rules and circumstances, can change these facts.
Though this isn’t the word-for-word transcription of the July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine’s President Zelensky, the content not omitted or redacted in the published telephone conference memo is damning enough:
The GOP wants the public to forget that Trump asked for a favor.
The GOP wants people to forget that 18 USC 201 Bribery says no public official may demand or ask for anything of value for personal use, and Trump specifically mentions Biden during the call, making this about his personal re-election campaign.
The GOP wants people to forget that 52 USC 30121 Contributions (campaign finance) says no candidate may solicit anything of value from a foreign national.
The GOP wants people to forget Trump used his office for the purposes of campaign work — while not a Hatch Act violation, certainly an abuse of office.
The GOP wants people to forget that Trump removed former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch after assassinating her character — not merely removing her at his discretion as executive, but an unlawful retaliatory firing — also implying during the July 25 call that she would be harassed or persecuted in some way even though she had already been recalled from her position as Ambassador to Ukraine.
And the GOP wants want you to forget that Trump intimidated witnesses even as they testified before Congress, a violation of 18 USC 1512.
But facts are stubborn things and in this case, the facts before us are simple, straightforward, inescapable as presented during the hearings to date and in published government documents. Trump bribed Ukraine’s Zelensky, violated campaign finance law, tampered with witnesses, and abused his office.
We don’t even need to look at his extortion (18 USC 872) or weigh whether he committed Honest Services Fraud (18 USC 1346), or his role in obstruction of proceedings (18 USC 1505) and contempt of Congress (2 USC 192 – preventing witnesses from testifying or withholding evidence), or conspiracy to defraud the United States by agreeing to commit any of the above acts with Rudy Giuliani and/or others (18 USC 371).
Republican lawmakers, aides and strategists surveyed by CNBC’s John Harwood have uniformly treated Trump’s bribery — asking for foreign interference in our presidential elections again — as an inconvenience, some annoyance which will blow over.
None of the elected Republicans so far have been willing to live up their oath of office to defend and protect the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic. The only elected Republican to do so had to leave the GOP because he believed impeachment hearings were warranted.
Voters can’t forget this at the polls: our democracy and the Constitution are inconveniences to the Republican Party.