The myth that the United States is a nation of laws provides the context for Friday’s hearings, if not for the entire process. The most obvious irony is that this occurs while lawless acts by the president of this nation of laws are being discussed. It is the trumpist belief that Trump either did nothing illegal or that even if he did, it doesn’t matter because he is president, As this process moves forward, it becomes clearer that many trumpists have little understanding of what is illegal. This is more than apparent just in their demands to name the whistleblower, which would be a blatant violation of the law should someone do so. Never mind their obfuscation of the particulars in Trump and Giuliani’s actions. Or, as far as the US government goes, the criminality of its foreign policy. The question in the Capitol is not, nor will it likely ever be, a question of who the nation’s laws serve. However, how those laws are enforced will become clearer as the process continues. If Trump and his co-conspirators get away with this, then it will certainly be clear who the nation’s laws do not apply to.
Trump, still unable to keep his fingers off his phone, begins the day with a threat to Ambassador Yovanovitch, opening up the possibility of a witness intimidation charge being added to the list the Judiciary committee will ultimately present to the full House. Watching the hearings, Trump’s distaste if not hatred of women who are not only smarter than him, but also willing to oppose him becomes more than just apparent over the course of the day.
The Ambassador herself looks like a twenty-first century Western diplomat. Short hair, conservative but not too conservative clothing. Her demeanor fits the archetype of the professional woman: intelligent, firm in negotiations and diplomatic in every public way. She has a bit of the air of a bureaucrat with essentially no flamboyancy, not even in the manner of George Kent’s bowtie at Wednesday’s hearing. Her approach assumes the correctness of the US involvement in overthrow of the Kiev government in 2014, the rightness of the Ukrainian military’s battle against separatists in the Donbass region of Ukraine, and the assumption that Russia is a greater imperialist nation than the US if only because Washington’s motives are like religious beliefs to her—freedom, justice and the American pursuit of markets. It’s not that those beliefs are unique, certainly not among those in that room in the Capitol Building. After all, it’s not US diplomacy, its motivations or its goals that are in question here. It’s the misuse of US diplomacy for personal gain by one Donald Trump and his co-conspirators that has these folks going at it.
The substance of today’s appearance by Ambassador Yovanovitch is about Trump’s attacks on her professionalism, her career, and her person. The understanding by those who called the hearings is that Trump fired her from her position in Kiev because she would not go along with his attempts to extort the Ukrainian president. In other words, she was blocking his conspiracy to get Kiev’s Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden in exchange for military aid and a personal invitation to the White House. The trumpists on the congressional committee seem unable to wrap their brains around the connection between her dismissal and Trump’s conspiracy. Then again, there are several things they can’t seem to wrap their brains around. Consequently, their ranting revolves around the right of a US president to reassign diplomats at will. By completely ignoring Trump’s request to Zelensky to join the Trump campaign’s investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden and reframing the reassignment of Yovanovitch as part of Trump putting his own stamp on US foreign policy, Jim Jordan and the rest of the GOP trumpist chorus hope to convince their sycophantic, and uncomplicated-minded supporters that there’s nothing to see here. If that fails, the chorus’s constant demand to bring the “whistleblower” to the stand serves to convince those trumpists in the television audience that Trump is being persecuted like the poor little rich man that he thinks he is. I wouldn’t be surprised if that “whistleblower” does appear somewhere down the line either before this committee or the Judiciary Committee after the process moves there. It will be fun to see Jim Jordan and Representative Stefanik sputter, spit and lose the cool they never had on live television. Stefanik, a right-wing lady from upstate New York, ran for election to the right of Donald Trump. Her commercials were a combination of half-truths and pictures of white people going to church, among other such tropes. Her district is known for the Adirondack Forest and big prisons, including Dannemora, the site of an infamous escape that resulted in a television series and involved a female civilian working in the prison helping the two prisoners escape. Watching Stefanik outdo her fellow Republicans on the committee defending Trump, I can’t help thinking she’s doing something similar for Donald Trump as he tries to avoid being kicked out of office. There is a similar sociopathy found in billionaires and murderers.
Speaking of that criminality, Trump took time today to overturn the war crimes convictions of three US troops. Trump’s remarks at his rally in regards to his pardon were, “We train them to kill, then we convict them for killing.” The first part of his sentence is an accurate description of the process. Yet in this supposedly civilized world even the military has some rules when that killing crosses certain lines. Crossing those lines are what we call war crimes. In some parts of the world people get hung for such crimes. In a nation where Lt. Calley was a hero to millions for killing hundreds of Vietnamese civilians while most of his superiors got off scot-free, it’s no surprise that Donald Trump and millions of today’s Americans would have no problem with pardoning convicted war criminals, if only because of the uniform they wear.
Another headline in Friday’s daily crime report concerned a man named Roger Stone–the scumbag who thinks he’s the cleverest man in politics and that he’s in charge–just got convicted on all counts. What more deserving fate than prison can there be for a guy who’s got a Richard Nixon drawing inked between his shoulder blades? There’s that nation of laws thing again. Sometimes writing about these people is just too easy. There’s a truism that smart criminals don’t get caught. That says something about the trumpist gang. Between their arrogance and stupidity, it’s amazing they got this far, unless you consider the trumpist nation. You know, those voters who put him in power and excuse his every insult, abuse, and now his crimes, all because there’s nothing a nation of rubes (thanks Hunter S. Thompson) likes better than a con-man who cons them all. Stone thought he was the guy to do that. So does Trump. One hopes for an ending similar to Stone’s for Mr. Trump.