Impeachment noose tightens on Trump

Herb Boyd | 10/31/2019, 12:24 p.m.
If things go as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised, by Thursday a vote will be taken to determine if ...

If things go as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised, by Thursday a vote will be taken to determine if the impeachment inquiry against Trump goes forward. Prior to the vote, representatives will learn exactly the portent of Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman’s deposition before several committees about the infamous phone call Trump made to Ukraine President Zelensky which is key to the impeachment process.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), acting House Oversight Committee chair, who is replacing the recently deceased Elijah Cummings, said Vindman’s remarks were “extremely, extremely, extremely disturbing.” On Wednesday, Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, plans to recount what he knows firsthand about Trump and his administration’s dealings with Ukraine.

Vindman’s opening statement is a preview of what he plans to relate to the various committees, particularly the role of Russia’s assault on Ukraine. For more than five years, he said, “Ukraine has taken major steps towards integrating with the West. The U.S. government policy community’s view is that the election of President Volodymyr Zelensky and the promise of reforms to eliminate corruption will lock in Ukraine’s Western-leaning trajectory, and allow Ukraine to realize its dream of a vibrant democracy and economic prosperity.”

Whether the quid pro quo at the center of all this is confirmed by Vindman is another critical piece of the impeachment inquiry, and, if so, it could be very damaging to Trump.

Meanwhile, Pelosi will be asking, for the first time that her colleagues voice their yea or nay on pushing the impeachment process forward. A previous straw vote indicated that the numbers are there to proceed.

Trump continues to denounce the deposing of testimony behind closed doors, insisting that the whole process is a witch-hunt—in fact, he called it a “lynching.”

In any case, the impeachment noose tightens around his neck and by the end of the week we should have a better idea of where things stand on this major congressional move.