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He was straight out of Foggy Bottom central casting.

Lean and bespectacled, with neatly combed gray hair and a pressed charcoal suit, William Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, gave not so much as a glance toward the massed cameras as he arrived Tuesday, escorted by uniformed police, at the offices of the House Intelligence Committee.

With steady gait and grim countenance, he disappeared behind a basement door marked “Restricted Area.”

Dana Milbank mug

Milbank

But once inside, he delivered words that could end a presidency.

“In August and September of this year, 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,” Taylor testified, according to a copy of his remarks obtained by The Washington Post. Taylor said President Trump himself made the release of military aid to Ukraine contingent on a public declaration by Ukraine’s president that the country would investigate Joe and Hunter Biden and the 2016 election.

In an instant, the impeachment inquiry no longer rested on the credibility or motives of a whistleblower, nor arguments about the meaning of quid pro quo. Here, spelling out Trump’s wrongdoing in extensive detail, was the diplomat Trump’s team brought out of retirement to be the ambassador to Ukraine — replacing the woman Trump ousted from that position at the request of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Taylor, an Army veteran and a respected diplomat who obviously kept detailed notes, will not be easy to discredit.

Trump, more than anybody, must have known how damaging Taylor’s testimony would be. Ninety minutes before Taylor was slated to arrive, Trump created a diversion. He tweeted to his 66 million followers: “All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching.”

It was a grotesque provocation, clearly aimed at fomenting racial division — and it worked, for a bit. Reporters momentarily stopped asking about Taylor and started asking about lynching. Democrats reacted with outrage. And Trump’s boosters in the House defended him. “This,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., concurred, “is a lynching in every sense.”

But ultimately no amount of distraction could counter what was happening in HVC-304, three floors beneath ground level in a secure room in the Capitol Visitor Center. As the day wore on, and reports of the deposition leaked out, there was a palpable change above ground.

When Senate Republican leaders gave their weekly news conference after lunch, Fox News’ Chad Pergram observed that Republicans “criticize the process and don’t defend the president outright.” Pergram asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell directly: “Are you willing to defend the president in this matter?”

“I’m willing to talk about the process,” McConnell replied.

McConnell also said Trump’s “lynching” claim “was an unfortunate choice of words.” Asked about Trump’s claim that McConnell told Trump the call with the Ukrainian president was “innocent,” McConnell contradicted Trump: “We’ve not had any conversations on that subject.”

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McConnell isn’t yet where Republican Sen. Howard Baker was during Watergate when he asked: “What did the president know and when did he know it?” Republican support for Trump has not yet crumbled.

But now Trump’s handpicked ambassador, with specific and detailed allegations but no obvious anti-Trump motive, has blown up the many denials offered by the president. With growing evidence of Trump’s wrongdoing, and Trump’s aberrant behavior (“lynching”!) in response, Republicans continued to cling to the last plausible defense: complaining about the “process.”

“It’s an unfair process,” Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a Trump loyalist, said as Taylor testified.

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, another Trump defender, stood nearby and said how “unfair the process is.”

Two of the nine Republicans on the Intelligence Committee skipped Taylor’s early testimony, instead joining a news conference with GOP leaders to complain some more about the process.

“Unfair and unprecedented process,” protested Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York.

“An unbelievable abuse of process,” Ohio Rep. Mike Turner added.

“A mockery of the process,” contributed Minority Whip Steve Scalise.

“It’s not fair in the process,” chimed in Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Combined, the leaders complained about the “process” 31 times — but uttered the names “Taylor” and “Ukraine” not once.

Now, Republicans object to the impeachment depositions being taken behind closed doors, even though Republicans did much the same in the past. But will they really be happier when proceedings become public? How can they defend a man publicly implicated by his own subordinates?

You might call it a work in “process.”

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(25) comments

Hive

Bo, why give POTUS credit, when he takes credit for real and even invents things to take credit for. Campaign promise? Please! Just-governance demands Oath-adhering effort, as opposed to self-aggrandizing efforts, as some surmise.

bolake

Typical Hive, unable to give Trump credit for anything. Bill Clinton passed on taking down Bin Ladin. The credit for Bin Ladin take down goes to Obama. See Hive not that hard for me to give credit to Obama even though I’m not an Obama supporter.

Trump made a campaign promise to to take out ISIS and it’s leaders. Promise made Promise kept.

Hive

If words have been uttered that would destroyed anything American, they were uttered by POTUS, who suddenly finds our intelligence people, the FBI, CIA, and foreign assistence indepsensible...as the Bagdati killing demonstrates. These events began long before this dinger of a POTUS was elected, and would not have occurred had there been no assets on the ground in that area...so obvious and more of a reason to replace our great mistake, with prejudice, our elected, but willful, dim ego manic POTUS.

bolake

In the past the Republicans (Congress), stated what the crime was and voted on impeachment. This time around Democrats (Congress) are in search of a crime before voting on impeachment and have been doing it for 3 years now. The Muller investigation failed to find a crime worthy of impeachment. Shifty Shift’s new investigation will end the same way. It will certainly guarantee that Trump wins again in 2020.

As Hive has stated POTUS is not the problem.

To find the problem we need to look no further than the Government we deserve (Congress).

Most of the leadership in Congress have been their for 3 decades or more. Trump has only held office for 3 years.

jdinfinity

Well said Hive.

My issue is that when good men 'do' something, they become martyrs. So pretending is precisely what most of us do. Apathy in a delusional bubble world is better than a life made politically public ruined by scandal, or cut short by trying to speak up..

Most people believe looking out fer your own arse at the expense of others, or 0-sum, is better than trying to help everyone else. And the world keeps going down the tubes just like it should because ppl aren't intelligent enough (well, half of us) to realize non-0 sum is the only way to save this rock...

killallthelawyersfirst

Mr. Hive +1. As an author of a few bestsellers, a Mr. Franzen, recently stated most people take the easy route (pretend). The evidence exists and is consistent.

Hive

How we elected POTUS is not the problem.

How a selfish grifter debases the once esteemed office of the Presidency is not the problem-it has happened before.

How an elected POTUS weakens his country is not the problem-yet.

How a selfish POTUS uses his office to diminish the justice system, to serve only Himself is not the problem.

That POTUS violates his oath of office and makes America (us) a paper-tiger world laughing stock, in a world that once saw America as flawed but striving to be honoralbe and reliable is not the problem.

That a POTUS openly lies and reflects the worst of humanity is not the problem.

That a POTUS does the unthinkable without selfrestraint is not the problem, as so many have witnessed as victims is not the problem

That he repeats the worst in us that was seen in Adams, Johnson, Nixon, Clinton, Bush is not the problem.

The problem is good men, confronted with evil do nothing!

The problem comes down to citizien-apathy and selfish (lazy/ignorant), jingoist uttering voters and elected officials indulge this wickedness.

The problem is by going along, we teach and feed our worst fears.

The problem is we pretend!

jdinfinity

Sorry....

I meant Gump 2020....

jdinfinity

"Stupid is as stupid does" - Forrest Gump

bolake

JD +1

“ Who gives a crapola whether Trump is guilty or not or gets impeached?”

“Trump 2020”

The damage is done...

Record high economy, 50 year low unemployment, first increase in wages in 20 years.

I love it when we are in agreement.

jdinfinity

Meh, bored now with this impeachment garbage. Regardless of politicized impeachment, there are much MUCH bigger issues with Dump. Lying, stealing, banging prostitutes, hanging with dictators, leaving kurds to slaughter, etc..etc... Just the moral implications alone are mind boggling..

Keep in mind. This is a person that people, namely children see. A childish, insecure, insincere, lying, man buffoon as president and head of our country. And your supposed to look your kids in face and tell them it's ok to be that type of person? To lie, to say horrible things about people, and that's the way the leader of the free world should act?

Who gives a crapola whether Trump is guilty or not or gets impeached?

Wake the f' up. Who cares?

The damage he's done to the integrity of the office on all levels here and abroad will reverberate for years. And it will show and reflect on the despicable conduct of the republican party, and the way they treat others who are different from them.

Amurika got what it deserved. People like Trump. People like Bo. That talk down to, rather than with others. Condescending. Treating people as means to and end. Subservients and cogs in the wheel, driving the rich to a better life while they crapola on everyone else without a care in the world for who they run over.

Amurika...

Trump 2020...

bolake

Hive - So it’s OK for the kettle to weaponize the DOJ but not the pot. Lol

I refer to it as “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”. Or “what goes around comes around “. I don’t think the shoe is dropping. I think the shoe is on the other foot and Democrats can’t handle the truth. How does one get away with illegally obtaining FISA warrants to spy on opposition party and get away with it? Short answer is they don’t. I warned you about this when Trump took office but you laughed and blew me off. You told me I was crazy or full of horse apples for believing that a Deep State existed. I said I would patiently wait for the Fat Lady to sing. Well the opera is about to begin.

Hive

Who else is "lawyering up?" Please! Pot lover calling the kettle black...please!

How does one get away with turning DOJ into a WH defense team?

This birdbrain would have have survived a military action...the shoe is dropping as the (Congressional and other) rats begin scampering down the hawsers. "Adams arrogance" must be slapped.

bolake

Back at you Hive, what ever you say!

bolake

Sorry, I’m not hearing it. All I hear is Clapper, Brennan, Comey and McCabe lawyering up. Perhaps HRC as well. After all paying a foreign agent to dig up dirt on political opponent is illegal. Right!

bolake

Hive - We have a few things in common, sort of. HRC wasn’t my choice for POTUS. I once leaned Left, until identity politics and hypocrisy took over the party. That and their inability to accept election results.

Hive

Hey Trumpty boyos, listen, can you hear it....listen very hard and you will hear

The other shoe dropping...our pumpkin colored POTUS is cracking...but it may be too late for us...Bloomberg will bring some semblence of class back to conservatism, just like Jefferson did, after Adams' arrogance nearly destroyed this democractic republic. Trump is a symptom of what ails us, just like Adams. (Two dingers; fore and aft.) Heed!

Hive

HRC is/was never my choice for POTUS, as was case with 9/11-Bush and Trump-ty. Shirtail, political hacks and spoiled dodgers America can do without, obviously.

This boyo once leaned right, until Nixon, Gingrich and Hyde hypocrisy and the neocons and teasippers began banging the drum, being more a Jefferson type (republican). Now fiercly anti party/career politics.

If the far right prefers extremisms, let em, but repulican moderates of all stripes have divorced themselves from extremism and the left seems to lean the wrong way to combat the ninnys, so we watch and smile and remain aloof (independent) from madness, hoping the right will embrace a Bloomberg or Romney eventually, if these people are insane enough to deal with career political liars!!!

Hive

"Little Jack Horner

Sat in the corner,

Eating his Christmas pie;

He put in his thumb,

And pulled out a plum,

And said, "What a good boy am I!"

Duh!

Hive

Whatever you say, big boy! Whatever you say!

bolake

I wonder how Clapper, Brennan, Comey and McCabe are sleeping tonight. Where there is smoke there is fire. Looks like the people who tried to make Trump look like a criminal may have broken the law. My guess is that their Hate for Trump got the better of them. Perhaps they can claim Trump Derangement Syndrome as a defense.

bolake

Hummm... Justice Department opening criminal investigation into the origins of the Russian Investigation. How does that saying go? “Where there is smoke there is fire.”

bolake

No Hive, your savior is Hillary, remember she beat Trump once already, surely she can do it again. You are living in fantasy land I’d you believe Romney or Bloomberg are going to sweep in and save the day.

But let’s get back to the story of an alleged smoking gun. First how is it that said information on words that would end Trump presidency are leaked out of secret impeachment inquiry? Isn’t that in itself illegal? Second as quoted by Dana, Taylor allegedly said“ “In August and September of this year, 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,”.

The statement “I became increasingly concerned” does not make any statement a fact. I am increasingly concerned about a lot of things that doesn’t mean they are facts. It’s just an opinion and as you have said many times, opinions are not facts.

I’m concerned that you are delusional. However, my concern that you are delusional does not make it a fact. You are being scammed again by Shifty Shift and that is a fact. Lol

Hive

Am also wondering, can an indicted person run for POTUS?

I figured DT will cut and run when he sees he will lose, as he has always done, in the face of a Romny, Bloomberg from the right or a Yang, Buttegieg, "Pocahontas or someone else on the left.

Faced with paying for legal defense costs and losing, Trump; may choose to do what he he does often - just fade to black (in jail, which means no ability to run legally...?)

Enter Romney, Bloomberg etc. Perfect chance for Republican dingers to repaint a decomposing Republican Party sepluchre image.

Hive

As the "swamp" water devolves the once vaunted POTUS office, into a Trumpty quicksandish dank-stink, I was just reminded that the nation's "savior" might not be a Mitt Romney but Bloomberg, a New Yorker, which would be fitting end for Himself the Liar.

And, Bloomberg is not a reputed grifter like the lying POTUS who consumes tax swamp water to defend himself against multiple criminal charges.

Milbank makes a good point, when he asks, "How can they defend a man publicly implicated by his own subordinates?

And he also justifies backing Bloomberg...he and Romney just might outclass the near-do-well liberals who are running, while a pimp ourclasses POTUS...

Still, on has to make a studied choice, between Bloomber and a couple of young liberal candidates like Yang and company, and voters are loath to study anything.

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