Last week, we heard testimonies from a number of current and former Trump officials in regard to the accusations lodged against him in the Ukraine affair. Those testimonies, even from those witnesses called by the Republicans, confirmed that the accusations were true. Yet what was perhaps even more revealing was the Trump defense attempting to discredit some of those witnesses based on their ethnicity and/or family background.
Marie Yovanovich was the ambassador to Ukraine until last May, when Trump removed her from that post. His reasons for doing so stemmed from Rudy Giuliani’s criticism of her for standing in his way in his Trump-designated role as investigator of the Biden family’s connections to a Ukrainian company. She testified that it was actually Giuliani who was interfering with her attempt to work with the new Ukrainian government as it rooted out corruption. She was doing her job. Giuliani wanted her gone; Trump complied. Later, Trump claimed that she was an opponent of his because she had failed to put up his photo in the embassy. The truth is that the White House delayed sending out those photos to embassies, so that accusation was false.
Yovanovich’s family emigrated from Russia to be in the United States because her parents sought freedom. Her mother even grew up in Nazi Germany. Because Yovanovich is not a natural-born citizen, some began to spread rumors that she is anti-American. The truth is just the opposite. She is grateful to serve this country.
Then there was Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman who served at the National Security Council in the White House. He was one of the officials who listened in on the call Trump made to the Ukrainian president back in July in which Trump “requested” that the Ukrainian government begin an investigation into the Bidens, which was linked to resuming the military aid Congress had legislated to help Ukraine defend itself against a Russian invasion. Vindman was troubled by that quid pro quo and reported his concerns properly through the chain of command.
Because he was willing to testify to the truth, he has been roundly attacked, not only by Trump personally, but by many Trump supporters, some of whom have questioned his loyalty to the nation. Vindman’s parents brought him to America, from the Soviet Union, in 1979, when he was only three years old. America is the only country he has known, he has fought for the country, and was wounded by an IED in Iraq. He is a Purple Heart recipient. Those accusations are baseless.
And because he is Jewish, we have also seen, among some Trump supporters in the alt-right, an ugly anti-Semitism displayed. This is beyond the pale.
Another witness damaging to Trump’s defense was Fiona Hill, former senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council. Her intimate knowledge of the Soviet Union and the current Russian government is what made her the specialist for the administration on that topic. In her opening statement, she made it clear that any attempt to whitewash Russia’s attempted interference in the 2016 election was a fiction. It also was a fiction that Ukraine was the culprit in that election. Those who are pushing that fiction, she testified, were merely parroting the Russian government’s propaganda. That assertion didn’t go over well with Trump’s staunchest defenders. Since Hill was born in the UK and got her undergraduate degree there, she also became suspect in their eyes. Some even decided that her distinctly British accent was ripe for ridicule.
Actually, I found it quite endearing.
There is an attempt to denigrate every public servant as a member of a Deep State conspiracy. Yet, in my view, that attempt is the real conspiracy theory. All of those witnesses last week were working together to undermine the president? They conspired to do this? That’s the conspiracy that really needs debunking.
Emerald Robinson, the chief White House correspondent for what is supposedly a conservative cable network—OANN—and now apparently Trump’s favorite network since Fox has a few people left willing to report the real news—decided to put this comment on Twitter, and I quote:
Fiona Hill with that Prince Andrew accent, and “Defense Minister” Vindman from the Ukraine . . .
I’m wondering: are any Americans going to testify against Trump?
That tweet disappeared later, probably at her employer’s insistence, but it was revealing. Are we now at the place where refugees from totalitarian governments are no longer considered Americans, even when they have chosen to become citizens? That’s a contemptible and dangerous attitude. It ought to be condemned by all.
My original intent was to include in this post the reasons why I believe the testimony was so solid that impeachment and Trump’s removal from office is mandated by the Constitution, but I’ve decided that’s too much for one post. I will come back to that later, though. I promise.