One of President Trump’s least desirable traits is his love of public spats – in many cases needless and self-defeating. He did it again during the impeachment hearing with former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
As I watched the play-by-play action – or lack of action – in the so-called impeachment inquiry, it was obvious that Trump’s team – the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee — were winning for the most part. Although you will not get that view from the east coast media propaganda machine.
In the middle of Yovanovitch’s testimony, Trump had to take to Twitter with a gratuitous tweet blasting the ambassador’s career in the diplomatic service – even as Republicans praised her past service.
The inquiry itself had little to do with the issues for possible impeachment. It was more like a job review for the reassigned ambassador. There was mostly bipartisan praise for her past diplomatic service and on a bipartisan admission that a President can remove, replace or reassign an ambassador at will. As Yovanovitch admitted, President Trump could reassign her without any public expression of purpose.
Instead, it is alleged that Yovanovitch was subjected to an alleged “smear campaign” led by former New York Mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. While the smear campaign was referenced innumerable times throughout the hearing, there was virtually no specifics provided as to what was said or alleged in the so-called smear campaign.
What came across in the hearing – although not in most of the highly distorted post-hearing reporting – was that Yovanovitch was NOT a fact-based witness. She was already out of Ukraine when all the discussions of investigations and any role by the Bidens were taking place.
If her testimony had any relevancy in the current proceedings, it was arguably to Trump’s benefit. In fact, when asked if she had ANY information suggesting ANY criminal activity by Trump, she answered, “no.”
She did, however, indicate that the participation of Hunter Biden on the board of the corrupt Burisma Holdings energy company while his father was Vice President of the United States – with Ukraine as part of his portfolio — was a problem. She agreed with the earlier testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent that it minimally created “an appearance of conflict-of-interest.” Since an appearance of a criminal conflict-of-interest might indicate that a crime has been committed – and the further fact that Hunter Biden was serving on a known corrupt enterprise — an investigation seems a prudent and reasonable response.
Instead, there was repeated … and repeated … praise of her past service. One member of Congress asked how she and her family “felt” about what has happened to her – pumping up the narrative of victimization. They referred to her as being “fired” when, in fact, she was reassigned to a plum position that she requested – a State Department professorship at Georgetown University.
It was obvious that Yovanovitch was on the stand solely to make Trump look bad for removing her and saying unkind things. That is a valid complaint but NOTHING to do with ANYTHING relative to impeachable offenses.
Since the second day of public testimony – like the first day – failed to lay a glove on Trump, why was he motivated to tweet in the middle of the hearing. It struck me a bit like taking out a baseball pitcher after he struck out the first six batters.
Trump’s tweet was ill-timed, inappropriate and probably wrong. By all measures, Yovanovitch had a pretty good career at State. That does not mean that she should not have been replaced. For her part, she was unhappy with the way Trump was dealing with Ukrainian matters. In turn, he had lost confidence in her.
One major fact ignored by Democrats and their friends in the media is that the newly-elected President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, expressed his displeasure with her during the phone conversation with Trump. Zelensky said that Yovanovitch had been “working against him” during his campaign. With both leaders having lost confidence in Yovanovitch, there was little choice but to reassign her.
The major problem seems to be Trump’s going on a public attack on her. It was unnecessary. Yovanovitch was correct when she said that Trump could have simply reassigned her without making a public case of it. He certainly did not have to pile on with his tweet during her testimony. In a situation in which the Democrats were holding a weak hand in making an impeachment case, Trump slipped them a pair of aces.
This is not the first time that Trump had created a needless controversy for himself. He does it often. While he rightfully complains about the coverage he receives from the east coast media cabal, he keeps handing them more material for their bogus narratives.
It is an inexplicable bad habit that – if unchecked – just might cost him the presidency.
So, there ‘tis.