Politics

Why We Don’t Need the Whistleblower to Testify – The Polis

Arguments against impeachment are beginning to lose relevance

To the best of my knowledge, nobody out there compiles C-SPAN clips from government proceedings and creates sports-style instant replays of the best parts. But if someone were to do that with those who attack the impeachment inquiry, one would actually be able to see, in real time, the Republicans moving the goalposts on impeachment.

Originally, pro-White-House sycophants like Lindsey Graham said that the transcript of the Trump-Zelensky was acceptable, but issued the following caveat:

Show me something that … is a crime. If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing.

Republicans further impugned the whistleblower, whose identity is unknown, as not credible, contradicting the Trump-appointed inspector general’s judgement on the matter. More on that later.

Let’s table the implicit admission in that quote that the call itself constituted a quid pro quo, because in the weeks that followed that comment, an abundance of evidence emerged confirming a quid pro quo. Trump’s chief of staff infamously spewed this almost Freudian monologue at a press conference:

Again, I was involved with the process by which the money was held up temporarily, okay? Three issues for that: the corruption of the country; whether or not other countries were participating in the support of the Ukraine; and whether or not they were cooperating in an ongoing investigation with our Department of Justice. That’s completely legitimate [ emphasis mine].

As if that weren’t enough, Gordon Sondland amended his testimony to acknowledge that he was mistaken initially — indeed, there was a quid pro quo: “I said that resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks,” he said.

Well, hey, lose on the substance, win on process, right? That was Republicans’ next move once literally every single talking point was obliterated by Trump-appointed diplomats: maintain with staunch ferocity that the process is illegitimate because it’s going on behind closed doors. And that worked for a while, until Democrats voted to make the proceedings public.

Having few straws at which to swipe, Republicans now have only one course of action left: appeal to the whistleblower.

Never mind the fact that Republicans spent weeks trying to establish that the whistleblower can’t be trusted. House Republicans and others are now demanding that the whistleblower reveal their identity and testify publicly, regardless of the personal danger such a move would likely incur.

Republicans’ insistence on calling forth the whistleblower raises the question: what exactly do they hope to gain?

Suppose the whistleblower is a partisan hack. Hell, let’s say that, in light of a suit, he shows up to testify in a “fuck Donald Trump” shirt. None of that would have any effect on the veracity of their claims.

And further, most of what the whistleblower wrote in their report has already been corroborated by a litany of witnesses. I’ve covered this extensively in a previous article so I won’t rehash those points here. Below is a link to the article if you’re interested.

To put it bluntly, there is absolutely no need for the whistleblower to testify. This is not to say that they have nothing valuable to offer — and a written testimony would likely provide some otherwise unattainable insight.

But their testimony alone will not shed any discernible light on the President’s conduct given what we already know. Trying to get the whistleblower to testify is merely another political tactic.


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