The House Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report released today accomplished three things.
1. It summarized the testimony taken over the last few weeks about Trump’s efforts to extort Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce on CNN an “investigation” into the Bidens in return for receipt of Congressionally authorized defense aid.
2. It detailed the extensive obstruction of Congress by the Trump Administration including unprecedented claims of “absolute immunity” and other actions beyond even what President Nixon did (and for which impeachment articles were drafted) in 1973-74.
3. It revealed new information about phone conversations between the indicted Lev Parnas, Rudy Giuliani, Devin Nunes, OMB (Mulvaney) and, very likely, Donald Trump. It’s clear that Rep. Nunes is complicit in the whole affair and should be censured, if not expelled, by the House.
But what to make of these phone calls around April 25 – the day that Ambassador Yovanovich was unceremoniously removed from her post in Ukraine? There is plenty of circumstantial evidence about what happened there, but there is probably direct evidence too about Trump’s personal role in ordering the whole operation.
The only way to find out is to subpoena Giuliani and have him testify about his role. And for Mulvaney to do the same. There is no attorney-client privilege when an act of crime is involved (as Michael Cohen discovered). And there is no such thing as broad “absolute immunity” as the Federal Appeals Courts have repeatedly stated. So the only thing we are waiting for is the Supreme Court to affirm the Appeals Court rulings on the “absolute immunity” nonsense as well as various financial document request subpoenas being refused by the White House. And yes, even this Court will reaffirm the lower courts on this question.
The only question is timing. If SCOTUS grants certiori and agrees to hear the case, they could expedite it and give a ruling as early as March. But that may be after an impeachment trial has run its course. So the conundrum is: should the House wait until that SCOTUS ruling and use possible eyewitness, direct testimony to buttress an already strong case, or go ahead with the evidence in hand, which is plenty enough to convict for any patriotic Senator who takes his/her oath to the Constitution seriously?
But first we will hear from the Judiciary Committee as it decides whether or not to expand impeachment to issues beyond the Ukraine case. That, too, may depend on waiting for SCOTUS to rule.