I am an American. I believe strongly and am loyal to the principles of individual freedom and limited government embedded in the American Constitution. I have also been a Republican all of my life because I judged that the Republican Party best reflected the above principles. But in 2016 I changed my party registration to Libertarian because I no longer believed that the Republican Party remained faithful to my political beliefs.
I have followed the testimony in the Impeachment hearings investigating high crimes and misdemeanors by President Trump. Generally, I have relied on press summaries but I watched the live full testimony of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, Jenniffer Williams, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, David Holmes and Fiona Hill. Ambassador Sondland was a large contributor to the Trump campaign and was rewarded with the appointment as Ambassador to the European Union, an assignment that included Ukraine. Amb. Sondland has no foreign policy experience. His testimony, however, set a high standard for frankness and openness. He came across as very bright and (now) well informed. In his testimony, however, he obviously wished to justify the role he played in attempting to persuade the Ukrainian President to agree to Trump’s request for a “favor.”
The testimony of Ambassador Sondland and the others (including Bill Taylor, George Kent, and Kurt Volker) left no doubt whatsoever that President Trump, operating through Rudy Giuliani, tried to bribe Ukraine’s new anticorruption President, Volodymyr Zelensky, to publicly announce an investigation of Ukraine’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and of the Biden’s involvement with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Hunter Biden–former Vice President and current Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son–served on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company, from 2014 to 2019. “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Vice President Pence and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney were among those whom Ambassador Gordon Sondland said were aware of the pressure on Ukraine for probes that could damage President Trump’s political opponents” Sondland said there was a quid-pro-quo
It is common for our foreign policy relations and aid to be based on quid pro quos. That is to say that we provide aid when conditions are met that we think service American interests. What is involved here, however, is President Trump using American tax payers money and the powers and influence of his office for his personal political advantage. In fact, his actions toward Ukraine are quite contrary to our American interests (which is a stronger, less corrupt Ukraine on the border of Russia). In my opinion the now well known facts of Trump’s behavior visa vie Ukraine is impeachable.
For a while I still held out hope that there would be Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee who would honestly seek the truth of Trump’s behavior. I was sadly disappointed. Congressman Devin Nunes couldn’t get beyond repeating old discredited claims and his demand that the whistleblower testify. The idea that the secondhand claims by the whistleblower of impropriety by Trump would add anything to the firsthand testimony we have now heard doesn’t pass the laugh test. The council leading the questioning for the Republicans is pathetic–a real embarrassment. He seemed to only strengthen the case against Trump.
In my opinion many of the policies being advanced by many of the Democrat presidential candidates need to be effectively countered. I am losing hope that the Republican party is still capable of doing that.