Peggy Noonan, GOP loyalist - Trump’s defenders have no defense.


Look, the case has been made. Al­most every­thing in the im­peach­ment hear­ings this week fleshed out and backed up the charge that Pres­i­dent Trump mus­cled Ukraine for po­lit­i­cal gain. The pend­ing ques­tion is what pre­cisely the House and its De­mo­c­ra­tic ma­jor­ity will de­cide to in­clude in the ar­ti­cles of im­peach-ment, what statutes or stan­dards they will as­sert the pres­i­dent vi­o­lated.

What was said con­sistently un­der­mined Mr. Trump's case, but more deadly was what has never been said. In the two months since Speaker Nancy Pelosi an­nounced a for­mal im­peachment in­quiry was un­der way and the two weeks since the In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee's pub­lic hear­ings be­gan, no one, even in the White House, has said any­thing like, "He wouldn't do that!" or "That would be so un­like him." His best friends know he would do it and it's ex­actly like him.

What was said con­sistently un­der­mined Mr. Trump's case, but more deadly was what has never been said. In the two months since Speaker Nancy Pelosi an­nounced a for­mal im­peach-ment in­quiry was un­der way and the two weeks since the In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee's pub­lic hear­ings be­gan, no one, even in the White House, has said any­thing like, "He wouldn't do that!" or "That would be so un­like him." His best friends know he would do it and it's ex­actly like him.

Lt. Col. Alexan­der Vin­dman was not a per­sua­sive wit­ness and did not move the story for­ward, be­cause in spite of the ob­vi­ous pa­tri­o-tism re­flected in his record he was an­noy­ing—smug and full of him­self. He ap­peared in full dress uni­form with three rows of rib­bons. When Rep. Devin Nunes called him "Mr. Vin­dman," he quickly cor­rected him: "Rank­ing Mem­ber, it's Lieu­tenant Colonel Vin­d­man, please." Oh, snap. As he de­scribed his ar­eas of au­thority at the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, he seemed to glis­ten with self-re­gard. You got the im­pres­sion he saw him­self as fully in charge of U.S. pol­icy to­ward Ukraine. Asked if it was true that gov­ern­ment of­fered to make him their de­fense min­is­ter he said "yes" with no ap­par­ent em­bar­rass-ment. I don't know about you but I don't like it when a for­eign gov­ern­ment gets a sense of a U.S. mil­i­tary of­fi­cer and con­cludes he might fit right in. (A Ukrain­ian of­fi­cial later said the job of­fer was a joke.)

Mr. Vin­d­man—I'm sorry, Lt. Col. Vin­d­man—self-val­orized, as other wit­nesses have, and tugged in his open­ing state­ment on Amer­ica's heart strings by ad­dress­ing his fa­ther, who brought his fam­ily from the So­viet Union 40 years ago: "Dad, . . . you made the right de­ci­sion. . . . Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth."

The com­mit­tee has paid en­tirely too much at­ten­tion to the wit­nesses' emo­tions. "How did that make you feel?" "With­out up­set­ting you too much, I'd like to show you the ex­cerpts from the call . . ."

I am sure the ques­tion­ers were told to take this tack by com­mu­ni­ca­tions pro­fes­sion­als who be­lieve this is how you ma­nip­u­late house­wives. In fact a mother at home with a vac­uum in one hand and a cry­ing baby in the other would look at them, lis­ten, and think: "You guys rep­re­sent us to other coun­tries? You gotta butch up."

Later, as Col. Vin­d­man re­turned to work, and clearly want­ing to be seen, he posed grin­ning for pho­tos in front of the Eisen­hower Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fice Build­ing.

It is not only Don­ald Trump who suf­fers from Ab­sence of Grav­ity.

On Wednes­day Gor­don Sond­land, the am­bas­sador to the Eu­ropean Union, was both weirdly jolly and enor­mously ef­fec­tive in do­ing Mr. Trump dam­age. He fol­lowed the pres­i-dent's or­ders; there was a quid pro quo; "every­one was in the loop, it was no se­cret"; Rudy Giu­liani was the point man, with whom Mr. Sond­land worked "at the ex­press di­rec­tion of the pres­i­dent."

It was his third try at truth­ful sworn tes­ti­mony and it was com­pletely be­liev­able. It was kind of the ball­game. He seemed like a guy with noth­ing to lose, or maybe a guy who'd al­ready lost much.

On Thurs­day Fiona Hill, the for­mer White House Rus­sia ex­pert, was all business, a se­ri­ous woman you don't want to mess with. She re­ori­ented things, warn­ing that those who ex­cuse or don't wish to see Russ­ian pro­pa­ganda ef­forts against Amer­ica, and tar­get­ing its elec­tions, are miss­ing the ob­vi­ous. The sus­pi­cion of the pres­i­dent and his al­lies that Ukraine is the great cul­prit in the 2016 elec­tion is a "fic-tional nar­ra­tive." They are, in fact, bow­ing to dis­in­for­ma­tion Rus­sia spreads to cover its tracks and con­fuse the Amer­i­can peo­ple and its po­lit­i­cal class. She dis­missed the pres­i­dent's op­er­a­tives' ef­forts to get Ukraine's new pres­i­dent to in­ves­ti­gate his coun­try's al­leged med­dling as a "do­mes­tic po­lit­i­cal er­rand." She and other diplo­mats were "in­volved in na­tional se­cu­rity, for­eign pol­icy," and the in­ter­ests of the op­er­a­tives and the diplo­mats had "di­verged." She warned Mr. Sond­land: "This is all go­ing to blow up."

Truer words.

What be­came ob­vi­ous in the hear­ings was the sober tes­ti­mony from re­spectable diplo­mats—not dis­grun­tled staffers with nutty mem­oirs but peo­ple of stature who don't or­di­nar­ily talk—about how the ad­min­is­tra­tion op­er­ates. It be­came clear in a new and pub­lic way that pretty much every­one around the pres­i­dent has been forced for three years to work around his poor judg­ment and un­pre­dictabil­ity in or­der to do their jobs. He no doubt knows this and no doubt doesn't care. Be­cause he's the boss, they'll do it his way.

But we saw how dam­ag­ing this is, how ul­ti­mately de­structive, not only to co­her­ence and re­spectabil­ity but to the pres­i­dent him­self.

Af­ter Thurs­day's hear­ings I felt some free-float­ing sym­pa­thy for high Trump ap­pointees who joined early. You can say they knew what they signed up for, but it's hu­man to have hope, and they surely had it when they came aboard. They were no doubt am­bi­tious—they wanted a big job—but they prob­a­bly wanted to do good, too. They were op­ti­mistic—"How bad can it be?" And there would have been van­ity—"I can han­dle him." But they couldn't. He not only doesn't know where the line is; he has never wanted to know, so he can cross it with im­punity, with­out con­scious­ness of a bad act or one that might put him in dan­ger. They were no match for his un­pre­dictabil­ity and re­sent­ments, which at any mo­ment could undo any­thing.

As to im­peach­ment it­self, the case has been so clearly made you won­der what ex­actly the Sen­ate will be left do­ing. How will they hold a lengthy trial with a case this clear? Who ex­actly will be the pres­i­dent's wit­nesses, those who'd tes­tify he didn't do what he ap­pears to have done, and would never do it?

Pro­ce­dures, rules and de­f­i­n­i­tions aren't fully worked out in the Sen­ate. But we are ap­proach­ing De­cem­ber and the clock is tick­ing. A full-blown trial on charges most every­one will be­lieve are true, and with an elec­tion in less than a year, will seem ab­surd to all but diehards and do the coun­try no good.

So the rea­son­able guess is Re­pub­li­can sen­a­tors will call to let the peo­ple de­cide. In a di­vided coun­try this is the right call. But they should take se­ri­ously the idea of cen­sur­ing him for abuse of power. Mr. Trump would be the first pres­i­dent to be cen­sured since An­drew Jack­son, to whom his the­o­rists have al­ways compared him. In the end he will prob­a­bly be proud of a tight­ening of the con­nec­tion.

Peggy Noonan, Reagan speechwriter and GOP loyalist, wrote this in the WSJ. November 21, 2019

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Voices4America Post Script. Peggy Noonan, Reagan speechwriter and GOP loyalist, wrote “As to im­peach­ment it­self, the case has been so clearly made.” Noonan is a piece of work, but even she saw what Trump did. Will any other GOPers come to reality? She wants a different result but she sees!#AbuseOfPower #Bribery #TrumpCriminality #ImpeachRemove


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