I spent some time personally witnessing today’s impeachment hearing. Here are some observations:
What made today’s hearing interesting was not what happened “in” the hearing, but rather, what happened “around” it.
Initial testimony from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland captured attention when he said he “presumed” there was “quid pro quo”, insinuating the President put the contingency of a Biden investigation on Ukranian aid. At that point, a sort of “exhilaration” appeared to engulf many of our media friends. In a frenzy, keyboards tapped. Cameras clicked. Some reporters hastened out of the room presumably to relay to the public “bombshell” information. Even my own cell phone signaled their reports.
However, a short time later when Ambassador Sondland confirmed during cross-examination that his testimony had changed, and that the President had in fact stated: “…I want nothing, I want no quid pro quo”… media response was subdued. My phone was silent.
Please accept this commentary from a member of congress that is a conservative, native Idahoan; and one that I believe reflects the viewpoint of a majority of citizens in Idaho’s 1st congressional district:
No democrat present in today’s hearing changed their view due to Mr. Sondland’s testimony. No republican changed their view. These proceedings are pre-programmed to result in the impeachment of President Trump. The democrats are in the majority and they must impeach. They have no choice. At this point, their political investment is so great that to do anything less would sacrifice pride, reputation, and most importantly… political position. Such timing is now estimated to extend into January; because impeachment is in search of a crime; and more time is needed to find a crime.
A thought struck me this evening as the hearing came to a close. As a result of the impeachment hearings, it has become clear that while Vice President, Joe Biden leveraged his position such that his son Hunter would be rewarded with substantial fiscal gain. Comparatively speaking, this story has yielded underwhelming attention, but it has little dispute. The fact that President Trump knew about it makes him culpable. It is entirely possible that, if President Trump had not brought it forward, we could be sitting through an impeachment hearing for another reason; to impeach the President because he was aware of the crime yet did nothing about it.
The argument can be made that there is more adversarial conflict in Washington, DC today than at any time since the American civil war. Somehow, those of us in a leadership role must forge enough of a constructive relationship such that the work of the people is priority, not spiteful acrimony. I work on this every day, and committed to doing so as long as I serve.