National Commentary

Busted! Sondland Convicts Trump

Busted! Yesterday’s testimony by ambassador Gordon Sondland has proven that Trump is as guilty as sin for an attempted Mafia-like shakedown of a vulnerable U.S. ally at the expense of the U.S. national interest. It provided black-and-white proof of an egregious high crime warranting and mandating the impeachment, conviction and removal from the White House of a despicable low-life criminal and thug.

Ambassador Sondland is a hero. In this day and age, a simple commitment to the truth qualifies one for such a designation when combined with the courage to speak out on its behalf. There have been numerous heroes in the course of the public investigation into the impeachment of Trump in recent days, and watching the televised testimony of dedicated and patriotic career U.S. foreign service and military officials, I have been impressed by their integrity and staunch commitment to truth and the national interest of the United States and its democratic values.

The testimony of former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was so powerful, for example, that I commented, “Marie Yovanovitch for President,” on my Facebook feed, and she received favorable responses, such as the standing ovations she received at the conclusion of the hearing and at a D.C. jazz club where she showed up over the weekend.

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Similarly, the testimonies of William Taylor, George Kent and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, in particular, were profoundly impressive for their consistent representations of dedication to the truth and to the democratic principles of the nation they serve.

Given the extensive showing by these figures, who should make every American proud, the contrast is sharpened wildly by the shocking, mealy-mouthed behavior of not only Trump himself, but the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee to consistently revert to smears and denigrating attacks on them. The deriding of Lt. Col. Vindman’s appearance at the hearing in his military uniform marked an all-time low, something inherently deeply offensive to any American who has served in the military, much less anyone else.

Yes, the collective testimony of all these admirable patriots has made it overwhelmingly clear that the Trump administration is a deeply corrupt and criminal enterprise that’s engaged in operations that could be shown as deeply divisive to and treason against the United States of America.

The decision by Sondland to speak truth to power, testifying yesterday, has been particularly damning for Trump and his cult-like control over his minions, extending to much of the Republican Party.

Given Sondland’s first hand knowledge of the influence of Trump in the extortion and shakedown of the new, inexperienced reform president of Ukraine, boiled down, Sondland’s testimony showed two important things: First, that the entire Trump administration was in on the shakedown as its direction came from Trump himself, and, second, that no one knowledgeable of the Ukraine situation agreed with the policy of withholding $390,000 in critical military aid to Ukraine in its shooting war with Russia. No one could understand why the aid was being held back until other evidence came forward more recently showing it was directly linked to the demand Trump was making on Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to go public with the announcement of an investigation into corruption by Trump’s political rival Joe Biden.

Trump has been busted for engaging in the classic behavior of a bully and thug who picks on someone weaker and more dependent, in this case a novice president who desperately needs the financial support of the U.S. to fend off the ongoing Russian aggression that has already claimed 12,000 Ukranian lives. By contrast, following the testimony of Yovancovitch, a powerful and competent woman, Trump was rushed to the hospital. He’s a coward.

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Sondland has seared his name in the Book of Life because he, to begin with, was willing to defy Trump’s order not to testify or offer any support for the investigation. As has been abundantly pointed out, no one is innocent who has so much to hide, yet far too many Trump associates have followed his orders to hide from the hearing.

So now what? How many Republicans will continue to support this deeply corrupt and criminal enterprise?

Nicholas Benton may be emailed at nfbenton@fcnp.com.

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