Yesterday, there were all kinds of smoking guns in Gordon Sondland's testimony. He exploded all the Republican defences of Donald Trump. Max Boot writes:
“Was there a ‘quid pro quo’?” Sondland said under oath. “With regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.” The sound you hear is Republican denials of a quid pro quo exploding. Sondland went on to say he was acting on “the president’s orders” in demanding that Ukraine announce an investigation of the company that employed Hunter Biden — although not to actually carry out the investigation. The distinction is significant because it undercuts the Republican conceit that Trump was genuinely interested in fighting corruption. In fact, he was only interested in damaging a potential political foe.
Sondland also destroyed the Republican cover story that he, former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and Energy Secretary Rick Perry (the so-called three amigos), were acting on their own to blackmail Ukraine. “Everyone was in the loop,” Sondland said, and he made clear that by “everyone” he meant not only the president but also Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton.
If this were a movie, the next scene would be Trump resigning the presidency in disgrace. But real life doesn’t work like reel life. There was no sign of Republicans abandoning the president after Sondland’s blockbuster revelations.
Trump won't resign. And the Republicans will continue to deny the facts that are before their eyes:
The Republicans took great comfort in Sondland’s admission that “Trump never told me directly that the aid was conditioned on meetings,” even though he also said “it was abundantly clear there was a link” and no other credible explanation for the aid holdup has ever emerged. Republicans also continued to pretend that Trump did nothing wrong because, after the whistleblower came forward, Trump said, “I want nothing” and the aid to Ukraine — though not a White House meeting — was finally delivered. Republicans are convinced that 2+2=22.
A country which was founded on the ideals of The Enlightenment is on the edge of a new Dark Age:
In a sane world, Sondland’s testimony would have ended the Trump presidency. But Republicans have made clear that their devotion to Trump is irrational and, like other religious faiths, not subject to rational refutation. Without an actual tape of Trump ordering a shakedown of Ukraine — and maybe even with one — Republicans will not be shaken in their cultlike devotion to the president.
Their Darker Angels could well carry it all away.