A report stating advisers to Donald Trump are admitting that the president believes officials in Ukraine tried to help the Democrats beat him in 2016 — based upon Vladimir Putin’s assurances — led conservative Jennifer Rubin to conclude impeachment investigators need to take another hard look at Trump’s relationship with the Russian president.
In a column for the Washington Post, the vocal critic of the president noted the report states, “The president’s intense resistance to the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia systematically interfered in the 2016 campaign — and the blame he cast instead on a rival country — led many of his advisers to think that Putin himself helped spur the idea of Ukraine’s culpability, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions.”
Rubin said the new report is cause for concern and should result in a new round of subpoenas.
“So where are these former officials?” she wrote. “As a preliminary matter, the thought processes of those former senior officials — who would anonymously say that Trump was a Putin puppet but refuse to come forward to provide testimony well before we even got to an impeachment proceeding, in part about Trump’s alleged betrayal of national security — boggles the mind. They have either given cover to a president who is practically a foreign asset, or they are creating unwarranted fear that he is.”
“There could be no better example as to why the Senate must be able to subpoena former officials for the impeachment trial and obtain documents Trump has concealed under a spurious absolute immunity defense,” Rubin maintained. “If a former secretary of state or a defense, homeland security or senior intelligence official (e.g., director of national intelligence, head of the National Security Agency) cannot do the patriotic thing when the security of the country is at stake, then it is essential to end the Trump coverup and figure out how to force their appearance in the Senate trial.”
According to the conservative columnist, the latest bombshell should be taken to heart by Democrats as they seek to oust the president with a trial on the Senate floor — and it should be used to confront GOP senators facing tough re-elections.
“Pelosi and other Democrats would do well to turn up the heat on Senate Republicans who present themselves as beacons of moderation and fairness. It is time for Democrats to point the finger directly at Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and others. Do they want to be part of a sham that risks leaving in place Putin’s pawn?” she suggested, before adding, “The key Republican senators can do this by ending the logjam, vowing to vote for key witnesses, including current and past national security advisers, and demanding relevant documents. If they cannot do this bare minimum, you really have to question why they bother running and serving in the Senate.”
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