Impeachment watch: Another White House aide confirms Trump quid pro quo

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A Russia expert on the National Security Council confirmed Trump withheld Ukrainian military aid to force an investigation of his political rivals.

Yet another Trump administration official confirmed Thursday that Donald Trump tried to shake down Ukraine by withholding critical military aid in order to force an investigation of his Democratic political rivals.

Tim Morrison, who serves as a Russia expert on the National Security Council, said he worried that if the public found out that Trump was withholding the aid, it could cause him problems, according to CNN.

Republicans are clinging to the fact that Morrison testified that he didn't think the shakedown was illegal.

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However, Morrison is not a lawyer, so his opinion is just that, an opinion not based in any legal theory.

And given that the Constitution says a president can be impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanors," and that Congress determines what a high crime or misdemeanor is, the House can still charge Trump with abuse of power, regardless of what Morrison thinks.

Here's what else happened in impeachment news:

  • The House officially passed rules for the public phase of the impeachment inquiry, which could start any day now. The House will also release transcripts of the closed-door depositions that have been held over the past two weeks.
  • In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Trump said he wants to read the memo summarizing his call with the Ukrainian president, which he has falsely described as a verbatim transcript, out loud, in the style of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "fireside chats." Of course, the transcript shows that Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, so it's unclear why he thinks that will help his case. Trump also said that the impeachment inquiry would energize his base. Again, however, his base is not enough to win an election alone. Further, polls show that a plurality of Americans support impeachment.
  • Republican antics on Capitol Hill once again caused a security scare. The National Republican Congressional Committee carried out a prank Thursday afternoon, after the House vote on the impeachment inquiry rules, in which they sent "moving boxes" to Democratic lawmakers, whom they said would be voted out of office for backing the impeachment inquiry against Trump. The boxes, however, looked like suspicious packages, and triggered a Capitol Police investigation. This comes after GOP lawmakers stormed a secure facility in the Capitol last week with electronic devices, which endangered national security. And Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) warned that Republicans have more antics up their sleeve.
  • As the House moves closer to impeaching Trump, Trump is trying to secure support from Republican senators, who hold the power to convict him on the House's charges and remove him from office. He's doing so by dangling campaign cash. Given that senators are basically jurors in a trial, the appearance of paying them off in order to not convict him is troubling.

Come back Monday forĀ more impeachment news.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.