Everyone knows that President Donald Trump loves to play golf. In fact, he’s been a pretty decent amateur golfer. But the president doesn’t have much time to play golf now since he is under impeachment investigation in the House of Representatives that is being led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
The Republicans’ biggest defense of the president in past days has been that the open hearings the House Intelligence Committee has been conducting has had witnesses who testified about President Trump and others and could only provide second-hand information or worse, which Republicans are usually calling “hearsay.” The implication, of course, is that such information is not as credible as it would be if it was first-hand, in which case such witnesses would have heard statements made by President Trump himself.
But that is such a bogus defense since President Trump has demanded that all White House personnel and others in his retinue refuse to cooperate with the House when it calls for them to testify before its Intelligence Committee. The Committee has even issued subpoenas to such people, which they have refused at the behest of the president. Many of those people have first-hand information, having heard the president speak about many issues pertinent to the Committee’s investigation.
That’s about like my idea of Donald Trump playing golf with his buddy. They are on a green on a golf course, standing near the hole. Trump’s friend hits a short putt. The ball rolls right at the middle of the hole. Just as the ball is about to drop into the cup, suddenly, smart-aleck Donald Trump pulls the juvenile prank of stomping his foot over the hole. His friend’s ball hits Trump’s foot and bounces away. Trump declares, “Heh, you missed.” (Just about anyone who has ever played golf has done this.) His friend is Rodney Dangerfield. The comedian then says to Trump, “That’s because you’re Big Foot stopped it, the same Big Foot you’re always sticking in your mouth.”
Well, Trump stuck his Big Foot in his mouth again, yesterday. Marie Yovanovitch–the former ambassador to Ukraine who Trump fired last May for no good reason except that she stood in his way of bribing Ukraine President Zelensky–testified yesterday for seven hours before Chairman Adam Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee. Two hours into her testimony, Chairman Schiff stopped the interview and told Ms. Yovanovitch, and some of the the world watching on television, that President Trump had just then remarked in a tweet, as is his constant method of communication, by following up his remark he made about Yovanovitch to Zelensky in the infamous July 25th phone call when he described her as “bad news” and that “she’s going to go through some things.” The latter could be taken as a threat to her physical security.
This time, yesterday morning, Trump, who was viewing Ms. Yovanovitch’s testimony, said in a tweet about her and her 33-year career as a diplomat in the U.S. foreign service, “everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.” Chairman Shiff, a former federal prosecutor, then said this statement by Trump was designed to intimidate Yovanovich and others who might be considering testifying before his committee. Schiff then concluded that session of Yovanovitch’s testimony by saying he and others, meaning his fellow Democrats, on the committee “take witness intimidation very, very seriously.” The implication was that this episode likely would be included as evidence in an article of impeachment against the president. Mr. Pelosi later said on TV that that was indeed a possibility.
But Trump’s remark about his right to freedom of speech is interesting. He certainly does have that right, and he using it as much as any American does. But when he does, he sometimes sticks his Big Foot in his mouth. That’s what happened yesterday when he tweeted about his former ambassador to Ukraine, Ms. Yovanovitch. He may have indicted himself with his Big Foot in The Mouth.
Moreover, Republicans can no longer cry “hearsay.” David Holmes, a career U.S. foreign service officer, testified last night to the Committee behind closed doors and said he was with Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the European Union, when Sondland phoned President Donald Trump. Holmes said he could hear President Trump so well as he was speaking on the phone because Sondland had to hold the phone away from his ear due to Trump speaking so loudly. Sondland’s message to Trump was that Ukraine’s President Zelensky told Sondland that he would do what Trump wanted–investigate the past actions of Joe Biden and his son in Ukraine. Holmes also testified that he heard Trump say on the phone to Sondland, “so he’s gonna do the investigation?” Sondland answered, “he’ll do anything you ask him to,” and he said more particularly that he’ll “do the investigation.”
And Mark Sandy, in the Office of Management and Budget, is testifying behind closed doors to Schiff’s Committee today about him once overhearing President Trump speaking about the point at issue–Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine President Zelensky to turn over political dirt on Joe Biden and his son and then Trump would release the $391 U.S. aid to Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression. Thus, Sandy also is breaking ranks with the White House by complying to the Committee’s subpoena with more than hearsay.
The doors are now closing in on Big Foot Trump due to more than just hearsay now.