The lies and hypocrisy were so thick it felt like Sydney, Australia blanketed by smoke from the wildfires there.
You had Ken Starr stand up there with his kindly and pompous smile lecturing the Senate – actually he was talking to the Trump fanatics in the general public – that there are too many impeachment cases nowadays. “How did we get here, with presidential impeachment invoked frequently in its inherently destabilizing as well as acrimonious way?…. Impeachment must be bipartisan in nature,” he lectured.
The last impeachment trial was that of Bill Clinton back in 1998. It was a totally partisan trial. And who was leading the drive? None other than Ken Starr! Among other things, he grilled the young Monica Lewinsky for hours on the details of her sexual encounter with Clinton. (Starr was later forced to resign as president of Baylor University for covering up a series of reported rapes – including gang rapes – and other sexual assaults by Baylor football players.)
Then, towards the end of Monday’s testimony, we were treated to Alan Dershowitz give a very professorial-sounding lecture on why a president can only be impeached and removed from office for the commission of a criminal offense. There’s just one problem: Back in 1998, when Clinton was being impeached, Dershowitz had said: “It certainly doesn’t have to be a crime, if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president, and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don’t need a technical crime.”
He was the only one who made any reference to “the mustache in the room” as CNN commentator Jake Tapper called the revelations by John Bolton. That came when he said that even if what Bolton had written was true, it still wasn’t grounds to impeach Trump. Reportedly, Mitch McConnell went up and shook Dershowitz’s hand and thanked him after his speech.
We were treated to White House lawyer Pam Bondi lecture about the nepotism and corruption of Joe and Hunter Biden. Yes, there clearly was something rotten about Hunter Biden’s being paid $50,000 per month to sit on the board of directors of Burisma while his father was vice president. Sure it deserves a further investigation, but the claim that Joe Biden got then-Ukrainian prosecutor Victor Shokin fired because he was looking into that situation… that is simply a lie. In fact, Shokin himself was known for his corruption and every other political force in the region, including the European Union and the World Bank, wanted him fired.
“Nepotism and corruption”
But the greater hypocrisy was to listen to a Trump representative rant on about nepotism and corruption when here we have Trump having his daughter, son-in-law and son working for him while they are promoting their and his brand across the world. We have Trump cozying up to Turkish autocrat Tayyip Erdogan while he’s got all sorts of business interests in that country. There are similar conflicts of interests for Ivanka and for Jared Kushner. In fact, the entire Trump family make the rest of US politics seem the very model of honesty and integrity by comparison.
Bondi also waffled on about both Biden’s involvement in corruption in Ukraine and how that was a legitimate matter of concern for Trump. There is just one little problem: Both Bidens’ involvement was known back in 2014. Trump knew about it when he came into office. He had no problem dispensing military aid to Ukraine in 2017 or 2018. He only became “concerned” when Joe Biden emerged as Trump’s foremost challenger in the upcoming election.
Then we had Jane Raskin claim that Rudy Giuliani was “just a minor player, a shining object meant to distract you” in this whole affair. Even if we ignore all the reports and comments from Gordon Sondland and others, all we need to is refer to the (partial) transcript of the now-famous July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky. In it, Trump told Zelensky: “A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor bf New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great…. I will have Mr. Giuliani.give you a call and I am. also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it…. I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to call.” So, not only does Trump emphasize the importance of Zelensky’s talking with Giuliani, he (Trump) puts Giuliani up there with Barr, the attorney general. (Barr later issued a strong statement that he had nothing whatsoever to do with the whole affair. He was practicing CYA.)
Another speaker – Eric Hershmann – swore up and down that there was no collusion between Trump and Putin. Nope. None at all. Except that Trump had a long, long history of laundering money for the very same Russian oligarchs of which Putin is the head.
There has been a lot of talk from the talking heads on TV about whether the House impeachment managers will be able to “convince” any Republican senators. That is just the propaganda aimed at presenting these capitalist politicians as reasonable men (and a few women) who are governed by truth and serious belief in what’s good for the nation. In reality, what’s meant by “the nation” is the US capitalist class and their only concern other than that is their own personal fortunes, including whether they will be reelected. In this situation, the problem is that Trump has all too often substituted his personal interests for the interests of the capitalist class as a whole. And having captured the Republican Party, he’s gotten the Republican senators to do the same.
CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin partially recognized this. He said, “This is not the Republican Party; this is the Donald Trump Party.” This is another recognition of the tendency towards one-man rule, in other words Bonapartism.
Every once in awhile, the talking heads are forced to allude to what Team Trump is really doing. Otherwise, the talking heads would lose all credibility. CNN’s Jake Tapper was an example. He talked out of both sides of his mouth. “Trump’s base will be happy to hear this,” he commented. This was an allusion to the fact that this is whom these liars and hypocrites were really addressing. But then Tapper turned around and said “but there are Republican senators who know better.” As if it mattered whether they know the truth or not.
Then there is the issue of Supreme Court Chief (in)Justice, John Roberts, who is presiding over this whole sordid affair. Roberts is a little torn between his loyalty to Trump and his understanding of the important political role of the Supreme Court. He understands the importance of the image of the Supreme Court as standing above politics, as standing purely for the defense of that hallowed piece of paper, the Constitution. we don’t go about our work in a political manner…. The court’s job is to decide legal disputes under the Constitution and laws” he has said.
Up until now, he’s been able to maintain that impartial, nonpartisan appearance, but now he may be in trouble: It’s been suggested that there could be a swap: Allow Bolton to testify in exchange for having one or both Bidens testifying. The problem is that what either of the Bidens could testify to has nothing to do with the case. Neither of them have any knowledge about whether Trump corruptly tried to make a deal with Zelensky. Their testimony would be irrelevant. (Whether they bear being investigated for their own corruption – aside from this case – is an entirely different matter.) Now it’s being suggested that Roberts could decide whose testimony is relevant and whose isn’t. That would really put him on the spot – loyalty to his corrupt president or maintain the appearance disinterested, apolitical Supreme Court Chief (in)Justice.
It is also reported that the Republican senators have really been put on the spot. Trump, whose loyalty to his allies matches that of a female praying mantis after mating (she bites off the head of and eats her mate), has kept his allies in the dark about the existence of the Bolton manuscript. Now, they correctly feel that he has allowed them to be blindsided. Not only that, but they must be wondering what other information is out there – when will the next shoe drop. Nobody (except possiblyTrump) knows when or how, but as CNN commentator Asha Rangappa said, “it’s going to be raining shoes.”
Even Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer is now talking about a “cover up”, but he and the Democrats are helping cover up the main issue regarding Trump’s corruption: His money laundering for the Russian oligarchs. They’re covering that up because money laundering for the drug cartels is rampant throughout the real estate industry, which means that their own backers are also involved.
As for the cover up that their system – capitalism – is killing the planet: Well, none of them will even consider that.
Note: See Oaklandsocialist’s other coverage of impeachment here.